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London Welsh head for Oxford

London Welsh have confirmed they will play the home leg of their Championship final against Cornish Pirates at Oxford United's Kassam Stadium.

Pirates are to host the first leg of the title decider on May 23, with the return clash taking place a week later.

If Pirates were to emerge victorious it would earn Newcastle a reprieve from top-flight relegation as the Cornish side have not put themselves forward for the Rugby Football Union's Premiership entry audit and therefore cannot not be promoted.

But London Welsh are insistent that they will meet the Premiership's entry criteria.

And the club have confirmed that the reason for switching the home leg from their Old Deer Park home is down to the Kassam Stadium being a potential venue for their fixtures next season should they win the Championship title.

A London Welsh statement read: "London Welsh have taken this opportunity to showcase the Kassam Stadium because it is one of the grounds where the club could play next season if they are promoted to the Aviva Premiership.

"It is the home of Oxford United F.C. but the stadium was always designed for rugby as well as football. It offers high quality playing and spectator facilities plus excellent floodlighting which was a factor in the club's decision."

The Kassam Stadium previously played host to the Amlin Challenge Cup final in 2002 and 2005.

The Exiles had also been linked with a groundshare with Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop, but Quins released a statement clarifying they are not in talks over such a proposal.

It said: "Given the ongoing speculation in the media about the possibility of London Welsh using The Twickenham Stoop for the club's home fixtures should it secure promotion to the Aviva Premiership, 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."


From Belfast Telegraph