Corker gives Parker a Welsh seal of ap­proval

The Rugby Paper - - News, World Sevens Series - ■ By NEALE HAR­VEY

SONNY Parker is the ideal man to spear­head Lon­don Welsh’s charge back to the Na­tional Leagues, ac­cord­ing to for­mer Ex­iles skip­per Matt Corker.

Welsh went bust as a Cham­pi­onship out­fit amid mount­ing debts in Jan­uary, but the world fa­mous name will con­tinue in Herts & Mid­dle­sex One (Level 9) next sea­son with ex-Wales cen­tre Parker as rugby di­rec­tor along­side as­sis­tant Cai Grif­fiths.

Corker, be­low, who spent nine years at Welsh from 2007, cap­tain­ing the side and twice win­ning pro­mo­tion to the Premier­ship be­fore join­ing Rich­mond last sum­mer, told The

Rugby Pa­per: “They couldn’t have a bet­ter guy in­volved than Sonny Parker.

“Lon­don Welsh holds a spe­cial place and know­ing a lot of the lads and what hap­pened to them was heart­break­ing, but Sonny un­der­stands where the pre­vi­ous club went wrong and he’ll know ex­actly what needs do­ing to be­gin the jour­ney back. “Lon­don Scot­tish and Rich­mond have come back and Sonny (right) and Cai have Lon­don Welsh in their blood. Along with team man­ager Peter Lowe, they’re all good friends who’ll be happy to work to­gether and get some team spirit go­ing again.”

Corker was in­flu­en­tial in a part-time Rich­mond side which con­founded ex­pec­ta­tions last sea­son and be­lieves that is the tem­plate Welsh must fol­low.

He said: “Peo­ple said the Rich­mond model couldn’t work but we beat estab­lished Cham­pi­onship sides like Cor­nish Pi­rates, Bedford, Lon­don Scot­tish and Not­ting­ham and pushed York­shire Carnegie, Eal­ing and Lon­don Ir­ish all the way as well.

“A lot of work has gone into get­ting Rich­mond back from the bot­tom and they’ve been mak­ing good de­ci­sions for a long time. Rich­mond are proud to be dif­fer­ent and after what hap­pened to Welsh, it’s a mas­sive seal of ap­proval for what they do.”

Mean­while, Corker re­vealed he is head­ing for pas­tures new after ac­cept­ing a player-coach­ing role at Na­tional Two side Can­ter­bury. The 34-year-old added: “I’ll be in­volved in com­mu­nity coach­ing and they have a clear vi­sion of how they want to de­velop the club. I’ll coach the Colts as well as con­tin­u­ing to play at a good level, so I’m really ex­cited to be part of it.”

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