Long journey back for Jewell and Welsh

Big lad: London Welsh centre Hudson Tonga'Uiha slips the Cornish Pirates defence as Joe Ajuwa looks on

Big lad: London Welsh centre Hudson Tonga'Uiha slips the Cornish Pirates defence as Joe Ajuwa looks on

First published in Rugby Union Your Local Guardian: Photograph of the Author by

If London Welsh make it into the Premiership next week, one man will have had a more tricky journey back to the top flight than most.

Centre Seb Jewell, in his first season at Old Deer Park, has battled back from elbow and knee injuries this term to take his place in the Exiles squad bidding to get past Cornish Pirates in Oxford on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old, who has had a stop-start year in Welsh colours, started his career at Harlequins before moving to London Wasps where he spent time on loan Welsh’s former Championship rivals Esher.

It was against the Molesey Road club that he sustained the knee problems that kept him sidelined until the closing stages of the campaign, which saw him score two tries in a 10-minute play-off cameo against Nottingham.

And the former Hampton School student is hoping more of the same will see him back in the top flight as an established professional.

“Not many people get the chance to play in games like this in their career so to get back fit in time to play on this occasion is really exciting,” he said.

“I’m a local boy and have played for a few clubs around here. I keep in touch with the Harlequins and Wasps guys and it would be nice to get back up to that level.

“The Championship is getting stronger and stronger, and Premiership coaches are looking there more for new signings rather than abroad. It is a good breeding ground.

“I came through the academy at Quins and was on the edge of the first team and at Wasps I was there or thereabouts but never really got my chance.

“It has been a bit up and down for me this year – I’ve been injured and sometimes I’ve not been picked – but I have another year and it would be amazing to get into the Premiership with Welsh.”

Welsh will play Wednesday’s return leg at Oxford United’s Kassam Stadium after a 37-21 win at Pirates – although the outcome of the final could be meaningless if the RFU has its way.

But Jewell insisted playing away from Old Deer Park could help the Exiles as they try to strengthen a case for elevation by winning the Championship title.

“If you look at our away form this year it is much better than at home,” he said.

“We know it is going to be tough, but if it clicks we could take them to the cleaners.”

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