London Welsh coach Jones allays Oxford United pitch fears

Kassam Stadium

London Welsh coach Lyn Jones has allayed fears Oxford United will play on an inferior pitch as a result of their groundshare next season.

U's fans have voiced their concerns that rugby at the Kassam Stadium will significantly damage the surface.

But Jones, who coached the Ospreys who shared the Liberty Stadium with Swansea City, claims it will not be an issue.

"Oxford supporters should have no concerns over the standard of the surface," Jones told BBC Radio Oxford.

London Welsh will host Leicester at the Kassam Stadium on Sunday 2 September in their opening Premiership fixture since winning promotion.

Oxford United play the weekend before and after that match but Jones does not believe it will be an issue.

"These stadiums nowadays are designed for week to week elite sport which they'll have with London Welsh and Oxford ," he said.

"The supporters should have no concerns at all. It is Oxford United's pitch and they can do whatever they want with it: all I can do is reassure people that rugby does not damage football pitches.

"You can have a scrum from time to time but supporters should have no concerns over the standard of the surface."

The U's held their AGM on Wednesday, during which shareholders questioned how the groundshare would work.

With cup fixtures still to add, the only potential clashes of fixtures at the Kassam are in the first week of January and first week of March.

Ironically both Oxford United and London Welsh are due at Adams Park to play Wycombe and Wasps respectively in the final week of October.

Oxford United chairman Kelvin Thomas told the meeting full details about the groundshare had not been completed, but he was hopeful of reaching a resolution next week.

"We will sit down with London Welsh next week to discuss how the new arrangements will work, but will not be making any comments until after that," said Thomas.

"We have been in dialogue with London Welsh through this process but will not know full details of the arrangements until we sit down with them next week, once they know their fixtures and have a better idea of the situation.

"We can't really say much more about the advantages and disadvantages until we know full details later next week."

Meanwhile, London Welsh will compete in the Amlin Challenge Cup next season.

Welsh will play in Pool 5 against Stade Francais Paris, Italy's I Cavalieri Prato and Grenoble.

"It's a high profile competition and it's exciting times and more experiences for the boys - the more the better. We'll be entering all competitions to do as well as we can," said Jones.

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