London Welsh: Entertainer Weepu lightens exiles mood

Togetherness: Justin Burnell is pleased with the atmosphere in his squad

Home from home: The Lensbury Club will be home to the All Blacks and Springboks during next year's World Cup

First published in Rugby News Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by

All Black legend Piri Weepu has lightened the mood at London Welsh as much as anything, says director of rugby Justin Burnell, writes Stuart Amos.

The 30-year-old World Cup winning scrum-half arrived at the club this summer as the Premiership new boys’ marquee signing.

He is expected to form a formidable half back pairing with new signing Olly Barkley as the exiles go in search of a little more than simply top flight survival.

“He is a funny little fella, said Burnell at the Premiership’s seasonal launch at Twickenham this week.

“He has brought a lot of entertainment to the squad which is important.

“You expect some one of his calibre to be serious and in your face but he is not.

“He has been great with the players and the management group and knows when to have an opinion.

“It will be great o have someone of his calibre playing in it this season.”

Weepu aside, Richmond residents will have to get used to seeing more All Blacks about town next year after Teddington’s Lensbury Club and Twickenham’s St Mary’s University were named as official 2015 World Cup team bases this week.

The two venues will both host the defending champions and South Africa during the groups stages next year and are on the shortlist to host teams involved in the knock out stages.

Lensbury general manager Ivor Turner said: “We have hosted top international teams for over 36 years.

“We’ve been the RFU Sevens base for many years and this is a dream come true.”

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