Welsh sign Canadian international Phil MacKenzie
MacKenzie, 25, has won 13 caps for Canada and started all four of their World Cup pool matches last year in New Zealand, scoring a late winner against Tonga as well as in the win over Japan.
MacKenzie joins Welsh after a superb season at Esher which saw pick up the Players’ and Supporters Player of the Year awards, having finished the season with 12 Championship tries.
“London Welsh has a great reputation for developing players,” said MacKenzie. “The last few years they’ve had a lot of success, which is testament to the players, the coaching staff and everyone involved in the club.
“I met Lyn [Jones – head coach] and had a really good talk with him, but the best feedback I’ve had is from other players who’ve been coached by him. Everyone only had amazing things to say and that was a factor in my decision.”
MacKenzie joined Esher in 2010 after one season with Coventry where he scored six tries in 28 appearances in all competitions. He’d later be joined at Esher by his brother Jamie, a scrum half and fellow Canadian international.
In his first season at Moseley Road MacKenzie scored three tries in 19 appearances as well featuring regularly for London Wasps in the Aviva Premiership A League.
He made his debut for Canada in 2008 against Portugal.
“It was obviously a difficult season for everyone involved at Esher but I guess I was fortune a score a few tries,” he added.
“The ultimate goal was to keep Esher up, but that just didn’t come to fruition. As a player you just have to try and do your best what you’re in that kind of situation.
“The World Cup was amazing; I loved every minute of that tour. I think I really developed as a player and learned so much. Finishing tour and coming straight into the Championship season definitely helped me a lot and I hope the June Test matches do the same.”
Canada play the USA on Saturday before facing Italy (June 15) and Georgia (June 23).
London Welsh head coach Lyn Jones said: “I’m delighted with Phil’s decision to join London Welsh. He has starred in a very challenging season for Esher, where he was voted MVP.
“He is a current Canadian international and will bring an edge to our performances that can only help raise standards.”