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Former Wales star Sonny Parker to lead London Welsh’s revival

By The Offical London Welsh

A new chapter for the Dragon in Exile

“Everyone within the club is really passionate about London Welsh” Sonny Parker

London Welsh Rugby today unveiled its five-year plan to take the Club back to the National Leagues, with former Wales star Sonny Parker set to spearhead its bid.

London Welsh’s professional team was expelled from the Championship in January after failing to satisfy the RFU criteria for Championship rugby. It today starts The Journey Back through the leagues as an amateur club led by former Wales Grand Slam winner, Parker, who has accepted the position of director of rugby.

Capped 31 times by his country, Parker was part of the Wales side which won the Grand Slam in 2008 and played in the 2003 and 2007 World Cups. He ended his playing career at London Welsh before going on to join the Club’s coaching staff, as well as acting as team manager.

The community club, also based at Old Deer Park, already plays in level 9 (Herts and Middlesex 1) and will represent the London Welsh name in the English leagues. Part of the Club’s five-year plan will target promotion to reach National levels.

Former Ospreys and London Welsh prop Cai Griffiths also joins as player/coach and augments the club’s existing coaching set-up. Team manager will be Pete Lowe.

London Welsh Director of Rugby Sonny Parker, said: “London Welsh has been my club for some time now and I have a great affinity with it having been involved as a player, team manager and coach, and now I’m hoping to bring all of that experience to bear in helping the club to build a new future.

“I want to help get the club back to where we want it to be, and I believe the five-year plan is an achievable one.

“Everyone within the club is really passionate about London Welsh, from the minis up through all of the amateur sides, and it’s that passion and ambition which has driven me to be a part of this.

“As well as coaching, I’m going to be involved in recruitment and preparations on the playing front for next season are already underway. The existing squad is a good one, but we’re already talking to several players who are very keen to join us and who would augment the existing group.

“On the coaching side, we already have a good set-up so I’m just looking to introduce a few new things such as changing our playing style a little bit, and that’s going to be the part of the challenge.

“The first year is going to be the real indicator, but the ambition is definitely there to make the five-year plan a realisation.”

London Welsh Amateur RFC Chairman Gwyn Williams, said: “The last few months have been a very difficult time for anyone connected with our club. With the season at a close, now is the time to begin a new chapter for the Dragon in Exile.

“With over 750 players aged from 6-60, amazing sponsors and supporters, we have the opportunity to focus on our core strength as an inclusive family orientated club where we measure our success not only by our league position but through providing excellence in the player and supporter experience.”

London Welsh’s five-year plan – The Journey Back

Priorities for 2017/18 season and beyond:

  • To develop our 1st XV recruitment and resources - we are committed to competitive National League rugby, playing at the highest level we can achieve through a sustainable funding model.
  • We will continue to provide a broad range of community rugby, including game variations and multiple adult men’s teams, for all ages, male and female, as part of an integrated and diverse club.
  • The Club will work to meet all its liabilities at Old Deer Park in collaboration with the other sport clubs sharing the grounds to develop the facilities in order to improve player and supporter experience.

Development of talent:

  • To provide a performance player pathway for talented 18-24 year olds through our ‘Griffins’ academy side through to National League Rugby .
  • To grow women playing numbers and ultimately to develop a female ‘Griffins’ academy. Our goal is to increase the player base and to finish in the top three in our league.
  • To develop skills for youth players aged 13-17 via the West London Skills Academy. Our goal is to have at least three players in each of these age groups represented at County level and other selective governing body programmes.

To arrange an interview with either Sonny or Gwyn email

Updated 21:33 - 14 May 2017 by The Offical London Welsh


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