Planet Rugby

Barkley is first Welsh signing

09th June 2014 13:06

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olly barkley racing metro

First of many: Olly Barkley

London Welsh have kicked off an extensive recruitment process with the signing of Olly Barkley ahead of their Premiership return.

Welsh boss Justin Burnell admitted in the aftermath of his side's thrilling Championship playoff victory over Bristol on Wednesday that he would need to sign at least a dozen players to remain in the top flight.

Capped 23 times by England, Barkley, 32, arrives after a four-month spell with the Scarlets, for whom he made eight appearances after joining from Top 14 club Grenoble in February.

He enjoyed a season with Racing Metro after leaving Bath in September 2012 - a move which ended Barkley's 11-year association with the Rec, separated only by a season long spell at Gloucester in 2008/09.

He made his senior international debut as a 19-year-old on England's 2001 summer Tour to North America against the United States in a 48-19 win in San Francisco. He went on to rack up 82 points for his country and was a member of England's 2007 World Cup squad.

Relegated Worcester Warriors suffered this season through the lack of a reliable goal-kicker. Barkley has scored 1,588 points in 181 Premiership appearances for Bath and Gloucester, and his prowess from the tee will be extremely important if Welsh are to stay up.

"I'm really looking forward to being part of what looks to be a great coaching team and a talented group of players for London Welsh's return back to where they should be in the Premiership," said Barkley.

"There looks to be a spirit amongst the group that I can't wait to be involved with and I'm looking forward to getting stuck in to the challenge of the Premiership with them all, and helping the club further establish itself at the Kassam Stadium and in Oxford."

"Olly has a wealth of experience, both at club and international level, and he's exactly the type of player we're looking for," added Burnell.

"He's got a fantastic game understanding and his other biggest strong point is his accuracy with the ball. His goal-kicking is phenomenal and we'll need that in the Premiership."

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