London Welsh stress eligibility for promotion

Old Deer Park

London Welsh insist they will pass the eligibility test to play in the Premiership if they win promotion.

The Exiles, who will face Cornish Pirates in a two-leg play-off final, are considering two different grounds or a groundshare for next season.

"We think we have done all we can to satisfy the minimum standards criteria," chairman Bleddyn Phillips told BBC London 94.9.

"If we succeed on the pitch, our hope is we have done enough."

Newcastle Falcons face an anxious wait to see if their relegation from the Premiership will be confirmed after finishing bottom of the table.

After Bristol's elimination from the play-offs, only London Welsh could replace the Falcons but, in a final twist, the success of their application will not be known until the week starting Monday, 21 May.

The Cornish Pirates have not applied for promotion from the Championship because their grounds are too small to make the step up.

With Welsh's Old Deer Park also falling short of the 10,000 capacity required for entrance to the top flight, Phillips is confident of a viable option being agreed upon to stage their home games next season.

The club have not named the proposed grounds but hinted some of the venues have staged top-flight rugby matches before.

"We've got several options as it would be imprudent to go for one particular ground," Phillips added.

"We've talked to several clubs and we're reasonably confident with that mix of options we've presented to the audit, we've been able to do enough to address all concerns at this point in time.

"At least a couple of options involve staying in the west London area."

Meanwhile Harlequins have moved to quash speculation over Welsh sharing the Twickenham Stoop next season.

A statement on the club website said:external-link "Harlequins would like to confirm that there is no agreement between the clubs nor are any discussions currently taking place with London Welsh about such a possibility."

The first leg of the Championship play-off final between London Welsh and Cornish Pirates will be played on Wednesday, 23 May with the return a week later.

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