OXFORDSHIRE airman Josh McNally is determined to take his career to the next level after signing for London Welsh.
The 23-year-old lock, a weapons technician at RAF Brize Norton, joins Premiership club Welsh from Henley Hawks, who will play three levels below them in National 2 South next season.
Although that means he faces a big step up, McNally was targeted by Welsh and believes he can make it in the Aviva Premiership.
“I don’t see any reason why I can’t play at that level,” he said.
“It is a bit intimidating going there, but I feel I can take it in my stride.”
McNally added: “I have never played full-time rugby before.
“Twelve months ago, if someone had told me I would be signing for a Premiership club, I would have told them to wind it down a bit.
“It’s brilliant, I am over the moon.
“It’s definitely the highlight of my rugby career so far.”
McNally has progressed up the English rugby union pyramid while being posted at different locations with the RAF and now has his big chance.
“I played a pre-season game against London Welsh last August and heard a few whispers then, but nothing came of it,” he said.
“Then London Welsh got in touch at the end of the season.
“I went to watch the Championship final in Bristol and signed a contract after that.”
McNally and the Welsh squad report for training at the end of this month and he will have the chance to line up against his old club at Dry Leas in a friendly on August 9.
“I will knuckle down and give it my best shot,” he said.
“I can’t wait to get started.”
Head coach Justin Burnell said: “Josh caught my eye last year when we played Henley in a pre-season friendly – he really impressed me in that game at Dry Leas.
“When I subsequently spoke to Henley head coach Pete Davies he confirmed my assessment of Josh and once I met with him I was confident that he’d fit in to our environment at London Welsh.
“The fact that Josh is joining us from Henley and is based at RAF Brize Norton just serves to further strengthen the club’s ever-increasing links to Oxford.”
McNally is the 15th Welsh signing unveiled this week – after James Sandford, Cameron Goodhue, Paul Rowley and Jesse Liston yesterday.
Lock Sandford joins from Cornish Pirates, scrum half Rowley from Plymouth Albion, while back-row forwards Goodhue and Liston come from Worcester Warriors and Blackheath respectively.
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