RUGBY: London Welsh to face Tigers in opener at Kassam Stadium
9:20am Thursday 5th July 2012 in Sport
London Welsh have been handed a dream start to their Aviva Premiership campaign, with Kassam Stadium bosses already predicting a sell-out for the opener against Leicester Tigers.
The Exiles could hardly have wished for a better start for their ground-share at Oxford, with Sky selecting the game for live coverage on Sunday, September 2.
Leicester, beaten finalists last season, are packed with internationals, including England regulars Toby Flood, Manu Tuilagi and Tom Croft.
Michael Doyle, general manager at the Kassam Stadium, believes there is a good chance the game will sell out.
He said: “I always saw the Leicester Tigers home game as potentially our highest attendance of the season.
“But the fact it’s the first game and going to be live on TV I think it will be a full house – I would be surprised if it wasn’t.”
The Tigers meeting is part of a baptism of fire for the Championship winners, whose first away trip comes a week later to champions Harlequins.
London Welsh head coach Lyn Jones said: “We’re delighted to draw Leicester and Harlequins, they were by far the best two teams in England last year, and they’re arguably in the top half a dozen sides in Europe.”
Off the pitch there are still a host of logistical questions surrounding the ground-share.
Representatives from London Welsh, Oxford United and the Kassam Stadium meet next week to begin resolving the issues.
One of the key unknowns is when Welsh play their home games not chosen for TV, with Friday, Saturday or Sunday an option.
Yesterday’s fixtures threw up two occasions when both the U’s and London Welsh are at home on the same weekend – once in January and again in March.
The rugby club are also at home on the weekends of the FA Cup first and second rounds, with Welsh’s cup games yet to be announced.
Sun 2 Leicester (H).
Fri-Sun 7-9 Harlequins (a).
Fri-Sun 14-16 Exeter (H).
Fri-Sun 21-23 Sale (a).
Fri-Sun 28-30 Gloucester (H).
Fri-Sun 5-7 Saracens (a).
Fri-Sun 26-28 Wasps (a.
Fri-Sun 2-4 Bath (H).
Fri-Sun 23-25 Northampton (a).
Fri 30 London Irish (H).
Fri-Sun 21-23 Worcester (a).
Fri-Sun 28-30 Wasps (H).
Fri-Sun 4-6 Harlequins (H).
Fri-Sun 8-10 Leicester (a).
Fri-Sun 15-17 Sale (H).
Fri-Sun 22-24 Exeter (a).
Fri-Sun 1-3 Saracens (H).
Fri-Sun 22-24 Gloucester (a).
Fri-Sun 29-31 Bath (a).
Fri-Sun 12-14 Northampton (H).
Fri-Sun 19-21 L Irish (a).
Fri-Sun 3-5 Worcester (H).
* Friday-Sunday dates to be confirmed.