Being relegated is always a testing time for a former Premiership club, with high profile players often leaving in search of top tier opportunities elsewhere. However, despite being in the Championship this year London Irish have managed to keep some big names and bring in some quality players as well.
Even though former head coach Tom Coventry left the club for family reasons, the Reading-based outfit acted quickly and professionally to bring in former Saracens technical director Brendan Venter, with ex-player and academy director Nick Kennedy stepping up into the position of director of rugby.
Kennedy said (via GetReading.co.uk):
“It’s great to have everyone back for pre-season following the summer break and I know that the players are itching to right the wrongs of last season.
“I’m excited at the prospect of what the new recruits can bring to the table in what is a promising squad with a lot of ambition.
“The Championship is going to be a tough competition and we will need to be fully prepared for the challenge that lies ahead.”
Players such as Sean Maitland , Halani Aulika and Matt Symons have all departed, but stalwarts such as David Paice, Topsy Ojo and Luke Narraway have stayed, with ex-All Black Ben Franks also committing to the club.
London Irish have managed to bring in old heads and experienced campaigners such as Jerry Sexton, Tommy Bell, George Robson and James Marshall to shore up the ship and the Exiles go into Premiership exile knowing they have a good chance at making the promotion play-offs at the end of the season.
Forwards: Ben Franks, Blair Cowan, Conor Gilsenan, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, David Paice, Dave Porecki, George Robson, Gerard Ellis, Harry Elrington, Isaac Curtis Harris, Jebb Sinclair, Jerry Sexton, Joe Trayfoot, Luke Narraway, Matt Kouris, Ofisa Treviranus, Ollie Hoskins, Max Northcote-Green, Mike Coman, Richard Palframan, Sebastian De Chaves, Tom Court, Tom Smallbone, Will Lloyd
Backs: Alex Lewington, Aseli Tikoirotuma, Brendan McKibbin, Ciaran Hearn, Conor Murphy, Darren Allinson, Fergus Mulchrone, Greig Tonks, James Marshall, Joe Cockanasiga, Johnny Williams, Matt Williams, Rory Brand, Ross Neal, Scott Steele, Shane Geraghty, Theo Brophy Clews, Tommy Bell, Tom Fowlie, Tom Parton, Topsy Ojo
Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena