London Welsh will visit Neath ahead of the 2019/20 season.
Neath have lined up attractive opponents for their first pre-season friendly with the Exiles of London Welsh visiting The Gnoll on Saturday, August 17th.
The match will kick off at noon to allow both teams and supporters to retire to the Clubhouse to watch the televised Wales-England World Cup warm-up match which kicks off at 2.15pm.
This, in any season, is a mighty and historic clash. London Welsh and Neath have both seen challenging times off the pitch in recent years but in this fixture will no doubt show their strength by fielding two very strong sides and with what promises to be a sizeable crowd! Two power house names in world rugby should make for an excellent day as old friendships are renewed.
London Welsh Director of Rugby, former Neath and Ospreys prop Cai Griffiths, is looking forward to returning to The Gnoll.
He said, “When I first came to South Wales, Neath was my first club and it will be great to come down and see so many old friends. Like Neath, London Welsh are on the way back after recent troubles and it will be a good test for both teams ahead of what will be a challenging season.”
Jonathan Shankland, Head of Men’s Rugby at London Welsh, said: ‘This match really will be a great spectacle and is a chance to re-establish an historic link between two great clubs. Aside from the obvious nostalgia we are also looking for a big test for the squad on the pitch as we look to prepare for a 3rd successive promotion challenge in year 3 of our stated 5 year plan’.
Neath secretary Mike Price said, “The opportunity to play London Welsh again could not be missed as they do not play in Wales so often these days.
“Our clubs have a long relationship and Neath men were heavily involved in the creation of London Welsh in the 1880's. After that, we enjoyed regular fixtures and I am young enough to just about remember my father taking me to The Gnoll to watch the last Christmas Day fixtures in the mid-Sixties.
“Cai was at The Gnoll recently for our Sponsors' Lunch and it will be good to see him and them back at Neath. They have supporters across Wales and it will certainly be an interesting start to our new campaign and something special for our players to look forward to early on.”
Further information will follow on arrangements for the day and with details of the London Welsh Supporters Club travel plans and supporter buses.
NEATH v LONDON WELSH - The Gnoll - Saturday, August 17th - kick off 12 noon