RUGBY UNION: Oxford home excites Mills

From left, London Welsh chairman Bleddyn Phillips, captain Jon Mills and managing director John Taylor at the Kassam Stadium

From left, London Welsh chairman Bleddyn Phillips, captain Jon Mills and managing director John Taylor at the Kassam Stadium

First published in Sport Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter specialising in Rugby, Cricket and Athletics. Call me on 01865 425456

JON Mills said London Welsh will look to take full advantage of their new home in Oxford.

The Exiles’ captain can’t wait to lead his side out against Leicester at the Kassam Stadium tomorrow when the reality of their promotion to the Premiership will hit home. Mills said: “We now see Oxford and the Kassam as our home ground.

“When we played the final there, the atmosphere was amazing.

“I am sure there are a lot of people in Oxford who have been waiting for Premiership rugby.

“Now that they have it on their doorstep, hopefully they can get an affiliation with the club, even though it is still called London Welsh.

“For Aviva Premeirship rugby to be in Oxford is a great thing for the city.

“The Kassam has got a lovely surface, the stadium is as good as anaything in the Premiership and the facilities there are amazing.”

However, Mills admitted the prospect of Welsh playing Premiership rugby had seemed remote to the players ahead of the club’s appeal in June.

“After we won the final against Cornish Pirates, we had a great night out, but we were just celebrating the fact we had won the Championship,” said Mills.

“I had written promotion off. I knew the club were going to try their best, but we felt as the decision had been made, it wouldn’t go the other way.

“Why would they change, we thought, if they had made that decision already.”

Even when news started emerging of London Welsh’s appeal victory, the players were still unsure.

Mills said: “Nothing official had come out, it was just a lot of whispers.

“We didn’t want to jinx it and then the official word came out.

“There was a lot of texting going about between the boys and a lot of camaraderie between the boys.

“It put a real spring in our step going into that Monday of pre-season.”

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