Burnell: Signing World Cup winning All Black was a no brainer for Welsh (From Richmond and Twickenham Times)
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Burnell: Signing World Cup winning All Black was a no brainer for Welsh
London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell says the capture of All Black legend Piri Weepu needs no justifcation.
The 30-year-old World Cup winning scrum half has penned a deal to switch to the exiles from the Blues at the end of the current Super 15 campaign
Weepu, who scored 103 points in his 71 appearances for New Zealand, played a leading role in his country's 2011 World Cup triumph and is set to link up with former England international fly half Olly Barkley.
The hugely talented and experienced number nine joined the Blues for the 2012 Super 15 campaign, after eight seasons with the Hurricanes.
At provincial level he played for Auckland and Wellington, as well as representing New Zealand Maori and the All Blacks at Under 21 level.
“I’m hugely excited by the opportunity of joining London Welsh and at the challenge of playing in the Premiership – consistently one of the best leagues in world rugby," he said.
“London Welsh is an iconic and globally recognised brand in the rugby world and I’m looking forward to linking up with head coach Justin Burnell and my new London Welsh teammates, and helping the club re-establish itself in the top flight and in Oxford.”
urnell said: “It doesn’t get much better than being a World Cup winner with 71 caps for the All Blacks - it’s a signing that speaks for itself.
“It’s massive statement of intent from the club in regard to its drive to be able to compete in the Aviva Premiership next season, and not just survive.
“It’s also going to be a fantastic opportunity for the younger players within our squad to mix and learn from a player of Piri’s experience and ability.
"As a player, his skill set is unbelievable. His kicking game and tactical appreciation are tremendous.
“After meeting with him in Singapore at the Club 10s, his personality and aura is such that it will be second nature for him to fit in to the environment we’ve created at London Welsh.
“It also goes to show just how worthwhile our participation in the Club 10s in Singapore was, with the signings of both Piri and Lachlan McCaffrey.
“A big thanks must go to Steve Lewis who spent many long hours in dialogue with Piri’s European and New Zealand agents at unearthly hours to land this deal.”