RUGBY: In-form Exiles appeal to fans ahead of three home games

Empty seats at the Exiles last home game against Exeter at the Kassam

Empty seats at the Exiles last home game against Exeter at the Kassam

First published in Sport

London Welsh managing director John Taylor hopes their improved form and community presence will boost attendances at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium .

The Exiles host Gloucester in the Aviva Premiership on Sunday on the back of two straight victories, which have seen English rugby followers sit up and take notice.

But having had 6,850 fans at their top-flight bow at home to Leicester, Welsh experienced a disappointing crowd of 3,150 for the next match against Exeter.

“We have now got three home games on the bounce, which is fantastic,” said Taylor, whose club now have an office in Iffley Road.

“We can make good use of them and get some real momentum in terms of support.”

Welsh, who host Saracens and Stade Francais in their following two matches, had sold 4,500 tickets for the Gloucester game earlier this week.

Taylor said: “People who came to the Leicester game perhaps came out of curiosity. We hope they will come back again now that we have won twice.

“The interest for the Gloucester game has been higher than for Exeter, which we expected. We are going to see more fans from Gloucester as they are nearer.”

Taylor said a lot of people had written Welsh off before their successive wins over Exeter and Sale and cited negative articles in some national newspapers.

“They suggested we had bitten off more than we could chew,” said Taylor.

“Now people will look and see we have played four, won two.

“We have got serious players, who are working very hard.”

Community marketing manager Louise Kaiser and rugby development officer Matt Walsh are now based in the club’s new Iffley Road office.

Taylor added: “We have some links with some of the local clubs and taking that forward will be a lot easier now.”

The Exiles will particularly be working in Oxford schools to drum up support and raise their profile with coaching initiatives.

And Taylor feels they have a great opportunity here, as other nearby Premiership clubs like London Irish and Wasps have not really ventured into the city.

He said: “We have got a good chance to be part of the community.”

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