London Welsh appoint defence coach

Date published: November 3 2014

London Welsh have confirmed that former Wales defence coach Rowland Phillips has joined the club’s coaching staff.

London Welsh have confirmed that former Wales defence coach Rowland Phillips has joined the club’s coaching staff.

The Exiles have struggled defensively in the Premiership, conceded an average of over 45 points per game so far!

Phillips was part of Gareth Jenkins’ coaching team for the 2007 World Cup, while he also fulfilled the same role at the Ospreys, Ebbw Vale and at Aironi Rugby in the Pro 12.

49-year-old Phillips will strengthen the club’s existing coaching set up of head coach Justin Burnell and assistant coaches Gordon Ross, Ollie Smith and Matthew Ferguson.

Phillips takes up the position of defence coach with immediate effect ahead of the Exiles’ LV= Cup clash with Gloucester Rugby at the Kassam Stadium on November 9.

“After the first six rounds of the Aviva Premiership what was glaringly obvious was our need to address our defensive issues and we’ve taken steps to do that with the appointment of Rowland as defence coach,” said Justin Burnell.

“Rowland was defence coach with Wales and at Aironi and has a huge amount of experience and understanding of the defensive role. We’re bringing Rowland in to tighten up our defence.”

As a player, Phillips was capped ten times by Wales and made 290 appearances for Neath.

He was brought to London Welsh in 1997 by Clive Griffiths, who made him captain, and the Number 8 missed just one game in his two seasons at the Exiles. In all, he made 66 appearances for Welsh, scoring 18 tries.

Commenting on joining London Welsh as defence coach Rowland Phillips said: “The Aviva Premiership is a huge challenge, but the challenge makes it even more exciting. We’ve clearly identified that the defence needs to be improved and that’s going to be my job.

“After two seasons with Aironi in the Pro 12 it’s great to be stepping back up into a full-time professional rugby environment.

“I know Justin very well and I’ve got a lot of respect for him, as well as Steve Lewis, and I’m really looking forward to it.

“As a player I had two great seasons at London Welsh and it’s great to be coming back to the club. My first season we were in Division 1 and we got promoted alongside Worcester, so I’ve got a good strong connection to the club and I have very fond memories of my time there.”

Also capped by Wales and Great Britain in Rugby League, Phillips played for Warrington and Workington Town.

London Welsh continues to reinforce its relationship with the people, businesses and communities across Oxfordshire and has adopted the strap-line ‘Premiership Rugby in Oxford – Be part of it’.

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