London Welsh further strengthen pack with double international signing
London Welsh have added some muscle to their pack ahead of the club’s first-ever assault on the Aviva Premiership with the signings of Romanian prop Paulica Ion and Russian second row Kirill Kulemin.
Tighthead prop Ion, 29, who has been capped 51 times by Romania, joins Welsh on a season long loan from London Irish, where he’s gained a wealth of Premiership and European experience during his three seasons at Sunbury.
Ion joined Irish from Bath in 2009 with his debut coming at Twickenham in the London Double Header against Saracens. He’s gone on to make 64 appearances for Irish, scoring one try.
He made his international debut against Argentina at the 2003 Rugby World Cup and has also featured at the 2007 and 2011 World Cups.
Capped 18 times by Russia, Kulemin joins London Welsh from Castres after four seasons at the French Top 14 club.
The 31-year-old had previously spent four years at Agen, with whom he played Heineken Cup and Challenge Cup rugby, before joining Castres in 2008, where he gained further European experience.
Kulemin began his playing career in rugby league with Dynamo Moscow, who in 2003/04 became the first Russian club to compete in the English Rugby League Cup.
His international rugby union debut came in 2006 against Portugal and he helped Russia qualify for last year’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
“They are two fine signings who will help our squad to perform to its maximum,” said London Welsh head coach Lyn Jones.
“They are boys with lots of experience at the highest level in the English and French leagues and can bring the best out of other players.”