ALL HAIL THE CHAMPIONS – LONDON WELSH! Well you’d think so wouldn’t you after the Welsh exiles deservedly won the RFU Championship last Wednesday week.
Sadly that is not the case. The RFU are sticking to their ruling that the Welsh cannot go up to the Aviva Premiership making a farce of the Championship as a whole.
The RFU bigwigs at the Kassam Stadium deservedly got the chorus of boos from both London Welsh and Cornish Pirates supporters they deserved as the Championship trophy and medals were handed out with indecent haste at the end of the game.
I felt very sorry for the Pirates’ players who appeared to get nothing, not even a handshake or bad luck from the RFU! What a shower!! However, I have since learned that they were given medals after Sky’s coverage had finished!!
It really was a final that was dominated by events off the field rather than on it. Cornwall Council came out with impeccable timing announcing that they would not be forthcoming with the £10 million towards the stadium for Cornwall project to add to the controversy from the RFU over promotion.
So with the season over plans are now in-hand for the 2012-13 season. Sadly and inevitably a few Pirates will be moving on and it comes as no real surprise to learn that prop Carl Rimmer (Exeter Chiefs) and lock Ian Nimmo (Newport Gwent Dragons) will be moving to a higher level of rugby. Sad too the loss of Rhodri McAtee off to Championship rivals Plymouth Albion. Other players are also on the move in addition to the transfers of Drew Locke (Gloucester) and Dave Ward (Harlequins) previously announced.
In their place new players will come in and I am sure they will soon prove to be crowd pleasers too!
On the transfer front I note the arrival of Cornishman Toby Freeman at Rotherham Titans next season. Toby has spent a couple of season’s playing in Spain with Ordizia, this season finishing runners-up in the Championship final and winning the Spanish Cup (Copa del Rey) in which he scored a couple of tries and was named man-of-the-match, winning his body weight in beer!
Another Cornishman who was at Ordizia, lock Tom Parker a Spanish International player and who indeed captained Spain recently in an international in Moscow against Russia is also on the move with Vannes in Brittany being the destination. Vannes who currently play in Federale 1 have plans to push for the Pro 2 over the next three years and can look forward to a more sympathetic support from their local authorities as the municipal stadium in Vannes will be available if and when they make the leap to professional rugby in Pro 2.
We shall be following with interest from this side of the Channel!
Looking forard to tomorrow evening’s final of the Top 14 between Toulouse and Toulon. A repeat of the 1985 final would be marvellous when Toulouse won 36-22 in extra-time scoring six tries!
Guy Noves was in the victorious Toulouse side that day, whilst 1991 Bernard Laporte captained Begles to the title against Toulouse!