London Welsh boss Justin Burnell eyes fresh start

New London Welsh coach Justin Burnell says the club have moved on from last season's doomed Premiership campaign.

Oxford-based Welsh were relegated after just one season in English rugby's top flight.

Who is Justin Burnell?

  • Former back row forward for Pontypridd, Treorchy, Bridgend, Neath and Wales A side
  • In 2003-04 he combined the roles of academy manager at the Celtic Warriors and head coach at Pontypridd RFC
  • He was also assistant coach of the Wales Under-21 side between 2004-05 and guided the Wales Under-19 side to a Grand Slam in 2006
  • Moved to Cardiff Blues as academy manager in 2004. Appointed Cardiff Blues forwards coach in 2008, becoming joint head coach in 2011
  • He helped lead Blues to a Heineken Cup quarter-final appearance in 2012

But their campaign was also marred by a five-point penalty for fielding an illegible player as well as a £15,000 fine from the Rugby Football Union.

"Last season hasn't been discussed in pre-season, we are moving forward," Burnell told BBC Radio Oxford.

Burnell took over from Lyn Jones at the end of last season while the club has also seen a significant overhaul of their squad.

And Burnell says he is pleased with the business the club have done over the summer as they look to bounce back at the first attempt.

"I think we've got a good balance," he added.

"We have a wealth of experience and the younger members who have come in have had some great exposure in their previous clubs and they've mixed well in the pre-season games.

"The whole aim is to get into that top four and when we're in that top four let's see where we're at."

Welsh are now firmly based in Oxford, playing their home games at the Kassam Stadium, and Burnell believes they can establish themselves in the area.

"Oxford gives us an opportunity to establish our own culture within Oxford," he said. "We have a game with the University coming up and we are here to establish ourselves with the surrounding areas.

"Everyone likes supporting a winning team and that is our aim. Most definitely this could be a big club. We have two people (majority shareholder Kelvin Bryon and chairman Bleddyn Phillips) who are very passionate about where they want London Welsh to be, and that is at the top of the pile."