Olly Barkley: London Welsh star relishes facing old club Bath

Olly Barkley
Barkley has made 23 appearances for England

London Welsh fly-half Olly Barkley says he already has one eye on the second weekend of the new Premiership season when they play Bath at the Rec.

Barkley, 32, made 162 Premiership appearances for Bath before leaving to join French side Racing Metro 92.

He signed for promoted Welsh in June and faces his old club on 13 September.

"It will be the first time I've returned there (the Rec) in anything other than a Bath jersey," Barkley told BBC Radio Oxford.

"It will be weird running out in a Welsh jersey. It's a special place to me - always will be."

Barkley in numbers
Full nameOliver John Barkley
Born28 November 1981, Hammersmith, London
Previous club teamsBath Rugby (two spells), Gloucester Rugby, Racing Metro, Grenoble, Scarlets
England caps23

And Barkley, who has 23 England caps, says the chance to play in the Premiership has reinvigorated him and hopes his experience can help keep the club in the division.

"It seemed like a group I thought I'd enjoy myself with," he said. "I'm from London, I was born here so it's nice to come back and be around family and close friends. If you're happy off the pitch, you're happy on it.

"There are a few guys in there who have played an awful lot of rugby, but I would say I was one of the more senior guys, purely by age.

"I want to enjoy my rugby, I haven't played an awful lot so want to play consistently, continue to improve and enjoy myself and be a contributory factor to London Welsh being in the Premiership the following season."

Barkley, who is one of 25 new faces at the Kassam Stadium, admits the season is going to be a tough one for the Premiership newcomers.

"It's a side that is going to work very hard and scrap an awful lot, which is important in the Premiership," he said.

"A lot of it is a war of attrition in the winter months, lots of contact, chasing kicks and a lot of defence, so work ethic is so important.

"We have a bit more flair, though, so I definitely think the side should be aiming above the relegation places and mid-table."

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