London Welsh’s ‘Big City Scrum’ proved a big hit as the Exiles took over Oxford City Centre on Wednesday.
In association with the Club’s partners, St Edward’s School, Jack fm and Oxford City Council, the day began with an open training session at St Edward’s School, followed by an autograph opportunity.
London Welsh Chief Executive Officer Mike Stevens and scrum half Piri Weepu presented St Edward’s School Warden Stephen Jones with a London Welsh shirt signed by the full squad, before the players got out and about in the city centre to meet supporters.
That included some of the squad trying their hand at some unusual roles; Alan Awcock, Nathan Trevett, Ben West and James Down displayed their cooking skills on the grill, as well as serving customers, at Gourmet Burger Kitchen, while Pablo Henn and Lachlan McCaffrey got behind the bar at the Royal Blenheim pub to pull a few pints!
The forwards also took to the streets of Oxford to put on an impromptu lineout display, while in Bonn Square, Tom May, Piri Weepu, Matt Corker, Daniel Browne and head coach Justin Burnell dispensed tips to passers-by who tried out their rugby skills in the Passing Cage and on the Tackle Bag Challenge. It was also a chance for young fans to get autographs and photos.
Other notable appearances on the day included Dean Schofield and Chris Elder seeing first-hand the excellent work done by the Club’s official charity partner Sobell House Hospice, while Rob Lewis and Nathan Vella tried out the hurdles at Headington Hill Park, visited Blackbird Leys Park and spent time with the South Central Ambulance Service.
In addition, London Welsh coaches Gordon Ross, Ollie Smith and Matthew Ferguson gave a coaching session at St Edward’s School for their rugby team.
London Welsh Chief Executive Officer Mike Stevens, said: "I’d like to thank St Edward’s School, Oxford City Council and Jack fm for supporting London Welsh’s Big City Scrum. Despite the best efforts of the rain, the day proved a huge success and it was great to see the players getting out in Oxford City Centre and meeting supporters."
London Welsh Club Captain Matt Corker, said: "It’s been fantastic; it’s great for us to get out and meet people in the community and we’ve been really warmly received. Having an open training session was fantastic for us and another opportunity to meet local kids. It’s been a great day.
"We’re working hard to become a big part of the Oxford community and days like this are massively important in terms of us establishing ourselves in the county."
Mark Lygo, Board Member for Sports, Events and Parks, said: "We at Oxford City Council were very appreciative having Rob Lewis and Nathan Vella from London Welsh rugby club out and about across Oxford City Council’s play-areas trying out all our fitness trail equipment.
"At Headington Hill Park, the players gamely tried out the hurdles, at Cowley Marsh the spinning and running equipment and at Blackbird Leys Park they couldn’t resist the zip wire in the new children’s play area.
"In addition we visited South Central Ambulance Service where we met members of staff who are big rugby fans."