Burnell adds to Welsh strength off the field

Mindful: Justin Burnell is giving London Welsh the best chance possible of staying up this season

Mindful: Justin Burnell is giving London Welsh the best chance possible of staying up this season

First published in Sport

Not satisfied with beefing up London Welsh's on-field presence, head coach Justin Burnell reckons adding set-piece expertise to his back room staff will be just as key to his side's Premierhsip survival chances.

Forwards coach Matthew Ferguson joined the Old Deer Park brains trust on Monday to work alongside assistant coaches Gordon Ross and Ollie Smith, with primary responsibility for the scrum.

The former Bristol and Cardiff Blues coach has held a number of roles during a 10-year coaching career, which has included working alongside Graham Rowntree on the RFU's 'Scrum Factory' programme.

His arrival adds to the 19 players Burnell has signed - including former England international lock and Premiership winner Dean Schofield - since the club secured promotion to the top flight in June.

"We're very fortunate to be able to add Matthew to our existing and excellent coaching staff. It's great to have him on board to join Gordon and Ollie," said the exiles chief.

"Matt's knowledge of the scrum is second to none and he has good links within the RFU system with Graham Rowntree.

"After the excellent work done with our scrum last season by Darren Crompton, the role of a technical person to work primarily with the scrum is of the utmost importance, as we know how key an area that will be in the Premiership.

"Last year's success was based on an ethic of hard work which was constantly evident within the players' group, but quietly behind the scenes the work of the whole management structure, including our medical staff and strength and conditioning coaches, was tremendous.

"We are confident that the addition of Matthew in to that ethos and our structure will help us to be competitive in the Premiership.

"As head coach I'm also very mindful that we will be participating in four competitions - Premiership, European Rugby Challenge Cup, LV= Cup and the A League - so the more quality people we have within our set up the better.”

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