London Welsh confirm Kassam Stadium switch
May 13, 2012
Lyn Jones' London Welsh side are pushing for promotion to English club rugby's top flight © Getty Images
London Welsh have announced they will play the home leg of their Championship final against Cornish Pirates at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford.
The Richmond-based club have taken the decision to switch the game on May 30 from their usual Old Deer Park ground to the home of Oxford United FC to "showcase" the venue which they have also confirmed is one of two stadiums they could potentially play in should they win the Championship final and earn promotion to the Premiership.
A London Welsh statement read: "London Welsh have taken this opportunity to showcase the Kassam Stadium because it is one of the grounds where the club could play next season if they are promoted to the Aviva Premiership.
"It is the home of Oxford United F.C. but the stadium was always designed for rugby as well as football. It offers high quality playing and spectator facilities plus excellent floodlighting which was a factor in the club's decision."
London Welsh are confident that they can meet the Premiership's all-important 'minimum standards criteria' and revealed last week that they have signed heads of agreement with two grounds that have hosted Premiership and Heineken Cup rugby in the past. A final ruling on their application is set to be delivered before the first leg of the final at Cornish Pirates' Mennaye Field ground on May 23.
In addition to the Kassam Stadium, that played host to the Amlin Challenge Cup final in 2002 and 2005, varied reports suggest that London Welsh are also considering Queen Park Rangers FC's Loftus Road stadium and Brentford FC's Griffin Park.
It had also been reported that the club were in negotiation with Premiership side Harlequins about a groundshare but earlier today the title-chasing club denied any such talks had taken place.
A Harlequins statement said: "Given the ongoing speculation in the media about the possibility of London Welsh using The Twickenham Stoop for the club's home fixtures should it secure promotion to the Aviva Premiership, Harlequins would like to confirm that there is no agreement between the clubs nor are any discussions currently taking place with London Welsh about such a possibility."
Should London Welsh claim an aggregate victory having been passed fit for the top flight then they will replace Newcastle Falcons in the top flight. The Falcons' finished bottom of the Premiership table at the end of the regular season and only a victory for the Pirates - who are not chasing promotion due to the constraints of their ground and delays in the construction of a new stadium - will save them from the drop.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker