London Welsh have prepared for their first-ever season as a full-time club by bringing in a forward coach with professional experience.
As National Division One side edges towards becoming a second full-time tier of the Premiership, Welsh were one of the few remaining amateur clubs left in it.
But with clubs as far down as National Division Three now turning professional, Welsh have gone with the tide.
And to help them prepare, the club have landed former Welsh RU national skills coach Danny Wilson from Cardiff Blues.
The 31-year-old has been involved with Wales at U18, U19, U20 and Sevens levels, as well as with England Women, whom he guided to three successive Six Nations titles as well as the finals of the World Cup, European Cup and Churchill Cup.
He said: “I was basically sold on the ambition and potential of London Welsh, and the fact that the club was moving into a professional era, going from part-time to full-time.
“It’s an exciting time for the club – a massive challenge, but a realistic one. I’ve worked as a full-time professional rugby coach for the past seven years, so have a lot of experience of that environment.”
Welsh chief executive Peter Thomas added: “Danny will bring experience of operating in a full-time rugby environment, which will be invaluable as we make the transition to a full-time professional club.”
Welsh fans were also treated to some exciting developments on the pitch this week when the club announced no less than seven new signings.
Outside centre Tom Rock joins from Leeds Carnegie following six seasons in Yorkshire, both with Leeds and Otley, as well as featuring for England U19s.
Having scored 13 tries in Leeds’ National Division One title-winning campaign two years ago, the 24-year-old bagged the club’s first try on their return to the Premiership too, against Gloucester on the opening day.
Another new-boy with England caps to his name is Nick Runciman, who has played for his country at U16, U18 and U21 levels.
The 22-year-old scrum-half started at Gloucester before moving to Worcester Warriors, marking his debut in April 2006 with a try against Newcastle Falcons.
Yet another new face to have played for England is former U18 international Peter Murchie, who started out with Bath and was a regular in their A League side.
The 22-year-old, who can play at fullback or centre, has also work the colours of Waterloo and Pertemps Bees.
Welsh’s final new signing to have worn the red rose is full-back Ed Lewis-Pratt, who has turned our for England U1s and U19s.
A regular for London Irish’s A League side, the 20-year-old had a spell on loan at neighbours Rosslyn Park last season.
For the more patriotic London Welsh fan comes a signing to have worn the feathers too, in the shape of former Wales U18, U19 and U20 international Alex Walker.
The 22-year-old scrum-half, who started with Glasgow, joins on loan from Newport Gwent Dragons, for who he has played in the Heineken Cup.
By moving to Old Deer Park, Walker will renew his half-back partnership with Welsh’s former Dragons fly-half Aled Thomas, who made the same switch last summer.
Flanker Tom Audley, 22, arrives from Saracens, having made a handful of appearances and many A League appearances for the North London side.
Finally, Darrell Ball joins from neighbours London Scottish, having scooped both their player-of-the-year and supporters’ player-of-the-year awards last season.
Having previously played for Newbury Blues, the 27-year-old lock scored and was man-of-the-match for the Army against the Navy at Twickenham last year.