Welsh strengthen for Premiership push

First published in London Welsh by

London Welsh head coach Lyn Jones has strengthened his squad ahead of the play-offs with the signings of Leo Halavatau, Adrian Duncan, Nick Scott and Sam Egerton.

Currently fourth on the Championship table, the Exiles will be aiming to go at least one step further than the past two seasons having twice lost out in the semi-finals.

“Every team is at the stage, with the play-offs in front of them, where they are looking to strengthen their squad and create competition,” said Jones.

“We’ve offered an opportunity to some young players to play between now and the end of the season. They’re all very promising players and we hope they can make a very positive contribution to London Welsh when they’re given their chance.”

Tight head prop Leo Halavatau, 28, joins Welsh on loan from London Irish until the end of the season, having made his debut for the club in its recent 23-16 win over Championship leaders Bristol at Old Deer Park, a game in which he made a huge impact.

The powerful Tongan has a wealth of Championship experience having spent five seasons at Birmingham & Solihull. He’ll join up at Old Deer Park with former Bees team-mate Mike Denbee.

Welsh have further strengthened their front row options with the signing of hooker Duncan, 23, who joins the Exiles from Barking having begun his career at Edinburgh.

He spent two years at Gloucester where he gained Championship experience on loan to Moseley, before joining Barking in 2010.

Duncan has represented Scotland U18, U19 and U20 levels and played in two Junior World Championships and Six Nations.

Versatile back Nick Scott joins the Exiles on a dual registration from Bath.

Scott, 21, who has been part of the club’s academy set up since 2009, impressed enough in his first year at the Rec in the A League to earn a first-team debut off the bench in Heineken Cup against Aironi in October 2010.

His first start for the club came the following month in the LV=Cup away to Wasps while he saved his maiden try for Welford Road in February last year in the cup.

A product of Colstons, which has produced the likes of Olly Barkley, Duncan Bell, Alex Brown, Shane Geraghty and London Welsh’s very own Jon Mills, Scott spent one season at Bristol before signing for Bath, where he was loaned out to Newbury to gain National League One experience.

Like Halavatu, scrum half Sam Egerton, 21, has already made his debut for the Exiles, against Leinster A in the British & Irish Cup in December.

Egerton, had been due to appear for Newbury that weekend, but instead came off the bench in the Welsh’s 24-24 draw at Donnybrook.

That capped a big month for Egerton, who had earlier helped Oxford to a 28-10 victory over Cambridge in the Varsity match at Twickenham.

Egerton played his early rugby for Adam’s Grammar School and was part of Leicester Tigers’ EPDG. He has also represented Midlands U16 and North Midlands U20.

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