Aviva Premiership
Barkley: Bath return will feel weird
ESPN Staff
August 21, 2014
Olly Barkley joined Racing Metro from Bath in 2012 © Getty Images

New London Welsh signing Olly Barkley has admitted to having mixed feelings about facing his old club Bath when the Aviva Premiership kicks off next month.

Barkley, 32, made 162 appearances for Bath before leaving to join French side Racing Metro 92 in 2012. He joined Welsh in June and is set to face his old employers on September 13.

"It will be the first time I've returned there [the Rec] in anything other than a Bath jersey," Barkley told the BBC. "It will be weird running out in a Welsh jersey. It's a special place to me - always will be.

Despite the mixed emotions ahead of his return to the Rec, Barkley admitted the chance to play in the Premiership has given him a new lease of life.

"It seemed like a group I thought I'd enjoy myself with," Barkley said. "I'm from London, I was born here so it's nice to come back and be around family and close friends. If you're happy off the pitch, you're happy on it.

"There are a few guys in there who have played an awful lot of rugby, but I would say I was one of the more senior guys, purely by age.

"I want to enjoy my rugby, I haven't played an awful lot so want to play consistently, continue to improve and enjoy myself and be a contributory factor to London Welsh being in the Premiership the following season."

Barkley is one of 25 new arrivals at the Kassam Stadium, but he said the squad were prepared for a tough Premiership campaign as they attempt to avoid relegation back to the Championship.

"It's a side that is going to work very hard and scrap an awful lot, which is important in the Premiership," he said. "A lot of it is a war of attrition in the winter months, lots of contact, chasing kicks and a lot of defence, so work ethic is so important.

"We have a bit more flair, though, so I definitely think the side should be aiming above the relegation places and mid-table."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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