Planet Rugby

Weepu can prevent Welsh relegation

11th July 2014 10:13

Share:

piri weepu blues

Risk and reward: Piri Weepu

The arrival of Piri Weepu on English soil is a massive statement by London Welsh, even if there are risks attached.

The 30-year-old World Cup winner has made the move to the Premiership with the league's newest side for a reported £150-200k a year deal until 2016.

It's a major signing by a club that few fancied to defeat Bristol in the Championship Final. Few have also tipped them to stay up, but this signing changes matters.

Weepu joins a crop of incomings that includes Olly Barkley, Tim Molenaar, Lachlan McCaffrey, Koree Britton, Nic Reynolds and more. But he's easily the biggest name on the list.

Naturally there is a bit of hesitance when it comes to branding Weepu's signing as an instant success.

This is partly down to Weepu's health. The All Black suffered a minor stroke back in March but has returned to Super Rugby action with the Blues, although the form of young number nine Bryn Hall has kept him on the bench.

His most recent run-out of course came in the Singapore 10s - the tournament in which Welsh also participated and first set the wheels in motion to bring Weepu to the north.

Until Weepu consistently strings together a number of starts, the trepidation over how successful a signing he can be will continue.

It's slightly unfair on a man who was won 74 caps and scored over 100 points for New Zealand, along with starting the 2011 Rugby World Cup Final. But it's also a necessary precaution.

Additionally, the 2011 crop haven't always been transformed into success stories after moving to England.

Jimmy Cowan, Weepu's main rival for the All Blacks, has now left Gloucester after not quite hitting the heights expected of him.

Stephen Donald, the man whose drop-goal won the World Cup, was never fully loved at Bath in the same manner as other international stars such as Francois Louw.

Weepu won't necessarily follow that trend - it's more an indication that success isn't guaranteed.

What Weepu will bring over to Welsh though is a brilliant rugby brain. His game management and experience of grim New Zealand conditions means there are no fears about him adapting to an English winter.

With a cultured boot and good vision, he's exactly what Welsh need and could form an effective half-back combination with former England international Barkley to help guide Welsh's unforgiving pack around the park.

The 22nd signing to join the Exiles ahead of next season might be the one that keeps them in the Premiership if all goes as hoped.

The news of him joining London Welsh should give Newcastle, the other likely side to be in the battle to stay up, a little cause for concern.

by Ben Coles

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens vs NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Preview
London Welsh vs Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Preview
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Sunday , November 23
Georgia vs JapanGeorgia vs Japan Preview
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Sunday , November 23
Treviso vs LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Preview
Edinburgh vs Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Preview
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Lyon vs Montpellier18:00
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:00
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
England 28 - 9 Samoa
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle FalconsBath vs Newcastle Falcons Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Romania 13 - 18 JapanRomania vs Japan Report
France 29 - 26 AustraliaFrance vs Australia Report
Scotland 16 - 24 New ZealandScotland vs New Zealand Report
England 28 - 31 South AfricaEngland vs South Africa Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Exeter828
2Bath828
3Northampton726
4Saracens724
5Wasps820