London Welsh granted temporary licence despite losing half their players

London Welsh
A 20-point deduction will take London Welsh from fifth in the Championship to bottom of the table

London Welsh have been granted a temporary licence to play their next two Championship games, despite losing half of their playing staff.

The Exiles announced on 7 December they would be going into voluntary liquidation and are now trading temporarily as a new company.

Welsh host London Scottish on Christmas Eve and are confident they have enough players to fulfil the fixture.

Nineteen senior players remain on the books, with seven more signed on loan.

"It's been a challenge. We have had to rebuild a squad in quick time," head coach James Buckland told BBC Radio 5 live. "What we have lost in terms of players, we make up in character.

"Every player that goes on the pitch on Saturday will not be thinking about the situation the club is in. They will be thinking of the opposition, and how they are going to win."

RFU to rule on Welsh future

Welsh are set to be deducted 20 points when a liquidator is appointed on Friday, which will drop the south-west London club from fifth in the Championship to the foot of the table,

In January the Rugby Football Union will rule on whether the club are able to play the rest of the season.

Welsh believe they need to raise about £300,000 to make this possible, but are "completely positive" about remaining in the second tier.

"We'll play these two games and then have a window in January which will give us time to formalise the license with the RFU," chairman Gareth Hawkins said.

"It's been difficult. I had to come in and tell players if they had opportunities a smart move would have been to go [to another club], and a number did go.

"But what is quite amazing is the number of players who stayed, and are committed to fighting to save London Welsh and taking it forward."

Exiles cut training schedule

The squad now only train two days a week, with some players in effect becoming semi-professional.

"Guys are able to go out and do other things to supplement their income," Buckland added.

"We are very fortunate being in London. A few guys are picking up work [in the city] and a couple of guys are personal trainers, or exploring work experience as a teacher."

The club had to make every employee redundant following the liquidation, but have signed players on new deals until April.

"They have all signed contracts, so they all have assurances," Hawkins said.

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