TWO former Burton RFC stars will be gracing the top flight of English rugby next season after securing moves to newly promoted London Welsh.
Jimmy Litchfield and Nathan Taylor came through the ranks at Peel Croft before both went on to play at Hartpury College with great success.
The 22-year-olds were both integral as Hartpury had a hugely successful season last year, achieving promotion to National League One and winning the BUCS Championship.
Taylor captained Hartpury as they became National League Two champions by eight points from Ampthill.
The hooker had earlier led Hartpury to a fifth BUCS Championship with a pulsating 28-24 victory over Leeds Metropolitan University at Twickenham.
Prop Litchfield was also an important part of that side and in 2013 he also lined up for National League One side Cinderford as well as Gloucester United in the Aviva Premiership A League.
Both Taylor and Litchfield played for Hartpury while also studying for degrees at the college and both have signed professional terms at London Welsh after completing their studies.
London Welsh were promoted to the Aviva Premiership following an impressive two leg win over Bristol last month in the Championship play-off final.
Alan Martinovic, director of rugby at Hartpury, said: “At Hartpury, we take great pride in developing young sports men and women and helping them on the path to their dream career.
“For our elite athletes, securing a professional contract is their ultimate ambition, along with representing their country, and hundreds of our students have gone on to achieve both.
“Congratulations to all of those Hartpury players and students who have secured professional contracts for next season.
“We’ll continue to closely follow their careers, whether they remain a part of the Hartpury set-ups or not, and celebrate their successes.”
As well as Taylor and Litchfield, London Welsh have added the signings of Taione Vea, Ricky Reeves, Shane Cahill and Jack Gilding to the club’s front row options and it takes the number of new signings for the club to 10 so far this summer.
London Welsh will be playing their Aviva Premiership games on Sunday afternoons at Oxford United’s Kassam Stadium, with the club having committed to playing its home games there for the next three years.
London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell said: “What’s exciting about all six of these new signings is that they may have different levels of experience but they all fit in to what part of London Welsh is about.
“They all possess that same determination, resilience, team spirit and ethos which has proved so critical to the team’s success this past season. They’re also quite big, physical, boys.
“The demands of the Premiership compared to the Championship are going to be huge so strength in depth absolutely paramount to us.
“Therefore we are still actively looking to recruit more players.”