Aviva Premiership
London Welsh target five more signings
Tom Hamilton
July 7, 2014
Justin Burnell (left) and his team celebrate promotion to the Premiership © Getty Images

London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell is hoping to add five more players to the squad in the near future.

The Exiles have already brought in 20 players ahead of their return to the Aviva Premiership with top flight veterans Olly Barkley, Dean Schofield and Tim Molenaar three notable recruits. Burnell wants to add some more faces to the group ahead of their season opener against Exeter Chiefs on September 7 and has revealed they are likely to be from foreign fields.

'We're here to compete, not to make up the numbers'

  • As we stood talking to London Welsh's head coach Justin Burnell during the unveiling of the fixtures for the 2014-15 Aviva Premiership season, his captain Matt Corker was stood taking photos of the panoramic views from the top of the BT Tower. It was difficult not to in all honesty, such was the vast sprawling landscape of London sloping away underneath you, but the over-riding message from London Welsh ahead of their return to the top flight is that they are not here as tourists, they are not here to make up the numbers.
  • "I hate this talk of survival, we are going there to compete," Burnell said. "It's difficult, of course it is, but the biggest thing that comes out of London Welsh is that it is pointless moaning, you can't do anything about it, you just have to get on with it. That's our mindset, that's always been our focus. That's where we are, it's difficult, but that's tough.
  • "All I say at London Welsh is that if we get beaten by a better side, with better players, that's life. That's what it's about. I believe in that and we believed in that last year."
  • Read the full feature on London Welsh here

"We're looking to recruit," Burnell said. "In France there seems to be a merry-go-round and you look at that market with the Georgians, Romanians and Argentineans and the number of Argentineans in France is unbelievable.

"You only have to look at Toulon, it's so cosmopolitan, but no, we're not getting anyone from Toulon. You then look at the Super 15s who are just about coming to a close and there are opportunities within there and then you have the Rugby Championship going on, so it's just a case of continuously turning over the stone.

"We are in a good place and we will be announcing roughly another five signings and they are of Premiership quality. They will make us competitive in there."

For Burnell, he has paid close attention to why teams have failed to retain their top-flight status in the past and wants his side to win at least a third of their opening matches.

"The first batch of six games, we have to pick up a minimum of two games out of there. It's always easier when you have those points in the bag. Unfortunately for Worcester they went on that losing run and it's not a good place to be, that's certainly not being disrespectful to them but we have to pick up wins, there are no excuses.

"When we come to that first block of six we have to go for it, we have to pick up two wins... if we get more than that, happy days."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Tom Hamilton is the Associate Editor of ESPNscrum.

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