Following the announcement that London Welsh will no longer continue in the Greene King IPA Championship this season following liquidation, it brings to an end a long relationship between our club and the Exiles dating back to the early days of professional Rugby Union.
It seems hard to believe that less than a year ago, Welsh enjoyed one of the finest days in the modern era when they won the British & Irish Cup at Headingley Carnegie 33-10 on 10th April 2016.
Games between Carnegie and London Welsh date back to the earliest years of the Leeds club in 1995 when the two sides were aiming to get into the second flight of English domestic rugby.
Welsh have made a habit of spoiling the party at Headingley Carnegie having won the opening day of the season on three seperate occasions. However, overall Leeds hold a slight advantage over all 24 league meetings with fourteen wins, including the victory on New Years Day and the one point victory at Old Deer Park at the start of this season plus one draw in 1997 at Old Deer Park. London Welsh have won nine wins, although the Exiles had won on their last three visits to Headingley Carnegie in the league before this season and also won in last year’s Cup Final.
Carnegie have only played Rotherham more times that London Welsh in the club’s history, including that never-to-be-forgotten meeting in the Championship play offs back in 2014, when James Lowes side won at home 38-31 before losing out in the away leg, 29-20, to go out of the play offs by two points on aggregate. Welsh reached the Final and defeated Bristol in the Final to regain top flight status. They had originally been promoted in 2012 via the ill fated top eight play off system. London Welsh defeated Cornish Pirates in that Final then won an appeal through the courts to play in the Premiership after the Rugby Football Union had originally barred them from the Premiership having not achieved the criteria needed to earn promotion from the Championship. The appeal panel agreed with the club’s argument that the criteria itself contravened EU and UK competition laws.
The connections between the two clubs have always been strong with six current players in the Yorkshire Carnegie squad having previously played for the Exiles in Dean Schofield, Alex Davies, Seb Stegmann, Ollie Stedman and the recently signed Chris Elder and Ben West.
The full league record between the two clubs is as follows: