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London Welsh strengthen squad with Nathan Vella and Will Carrick-Smith

04 December 2013

  • London Welsh announce two new signings
  • Auckland hooker and Exeter Chiefs second row join the Championship leaders
London Welsh strengthen squad with Vella and Will Carrick-Smith

Photo: Getty Images

London Welsh have moved to further strengthen the club's forward options with the signing of Auckland hooker Nathan Vella and Exeter Chiefs second row Will Carrick-Smith.

Twenty three-year-old Vella broke into Auckland's ITM Cup squad in 2011, tallying 14 caps for the Blues. He helped the New Zealand club side reach the final in 2012, and the semi-finals in 2013.

Dynamic round the park, Vella, who can also play blind-side flanker, has represented Auckland in almost every age grade, from Under 14s through to Auckland Juniors and up to ITM Cup. He was part of the New Zealand Under 17 Development Squad.

He's very physical and he's got a tremendous work - Burnell

“We've previously said that we're always looking to strengthen our squad and the signing of Nathan is another statement of intent, but he'll face very stiff competition from the excellent hookers we already have” said London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell.

“Nathan's a big man and he's very mobile, and he certainly has that New Zealand mindset. He's very physical and he's got a tremendous work-rate. He's EQP as well and that's very important to us.”

Joining London Welsh on a short-term contract is 21-year-old Will Carrick-Smith, who made his debut for Exeter against London Welsh in the LV= Cup in November 2012 at the Kassam Stadium, marking the occasion with a try. It was one of two tries he scored in four LV= Cup appearances for the club last season.

London Welsh strengthen squad with Vella and Will Carrick-Smith

Photo: Getty Images

As well as gaining further experience in the A League, last season also saw the former England U19 international dual-registered with Championship club Plymouth Albion.

He spent this summer in Australia playing for Randwick under former Exeter centre Wade Kelly, who is head coach at the Sydney club.

“We've had some fantastic feedback on Will. He's a big man at 6ft 11in and 125kg who fits into what we want. He's going to bring a lot of physicality and he's got first-team experience at Exeter,” commented Burnell.