London Irish on the warpath

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Post by bsando on Fri 10 May 2019, 8:42 am

London Irish have been making some very impressive signings of late and look to be going all in in terms of attempting to remain in the Premiership next season.

The Exiles have snatched up internationals Sekope Kepu, SOB, Paddy Jackson, Waisake Naholo and Adam Coleman.

They've also been retaining promising young players such as Sam Collingridge (second row), Ben Atkins (hooker), Izaiha Moore-Aiono (back row) and Caolan Englefield (scrum-half).

Will they be a force to reckon with during the 2019/2020 season?


Last edited by bsando on Mon 20 May 2019, 2:55 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Rinsure on Fri 10 May 2019, 9:08 am

Interesting that a lot of the recruitment has come from Aus / NZ. The league regulations state you can only have two "foreign" players in your matchday squad, and given the various agreements and free labour treaties in place, this only really applies - in rugby terms - to Aus & NZers.

Looking at them, at first glance it looks like it'd be two from Nick Phipps (Aus), Curtis Rona (Aus), Sekope Kepu (Aus), Adam Coleman (Aus) and Naholo (NZ). That's a sizeable investment to only pick two from.

But.... Kepu was born to Tongan parents (the Pacific Islands have a freedom of movement agreement - Cotonou agreement) and will probably leverage that; Curtis Rona's father is Tongan - see above, and Waisake Naholo was born in Fiji, despite his umpteen NZ caps. So... via nationality chicanery all five of the SH recruits will probably be able to play each game.

(Incidentally, the Cotonou agreement is why Sale can field so many Sprinboks next season!).

I think LI will punch their weight, and be able to beat anyone on their day, but I suspect a struggle with consistency might be an issue. That can be said for most of the Prem outside of the top two, mind you, so they'll probably do okay.

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Post by Irish Londoner on Fri 10 May 2019, 9:41 am

All they have to do is be one point better than Worcester.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 10 May 2019, 10:25 am

I didn't clock the foreign players ruling. That does limit selection quite a lot.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Fri 10 May 2019, 10:32 am

No mention of Sean O'Brien? He is some player at full tilt.

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Post by SirBurger on Fri 10 May 2019, 10:59 am

Coleman also has a Tongan father.

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Post by tigertattie on Fri 10 May 2019, 11:03 am

Chucking money at the team to try stay up

It's almost like they know there will be ring fencing after someone drops next year............
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Post by LondonTiger on Fri 10 May 2019, 11:15 am

Irish Londoner wrote:All they have to do is be one point better than Worcester.

To be 3rd from bottom?

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Post by Irish Londoner on Fri 10 May 2019, 11:24 am

LondonTiger wrote:
Irish Londoner wrote:All they have to do is be one point better than Worcester.

To be 3rd from bottom?

I'd take that and I think most LI fans and the management would.

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Post by lostinwales on Fri 10 May 2019, 11:25 am

Collapse2005 wrote:No mention of Sean O'Brien? He is some player at full tilt.

Was some player. Can't help thinking this is a risky bit of business. If he stays injury free and gets form back then no question, a terrific signing, but still a big 'if'.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Fri 10 May 2019, 11:27 am

True

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Post by stnick88 on Fri 10 May 2019, 11:46 am

lostinwales wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:No mention of Sean O'Brien? He is some player at full tilt.

Was some player. Can't help thinking this is a risky bit of business. If he stays injury free and gets form back then no question, a terrific signing, but still a big 'if'.

I imagine he will be only playing league games, not European Challenge Cup as the league is a priority so we should be able to manage his game time.

in terms of the non-eu issue, we wouldn't of signed all of them if we couldn't all play them together. I don't know the rules well enough but it would be madness to sign players of that calibre that couldn't play together.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 10 May 2019, 11:48 am

The rules state 2 foreign players on the pitch at any 1 time. Does seem strange looking at that squad now. They surely haven't overlooked that?

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Post by carpet baboon on Fri 10 May 2019, 12:04 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:The rules state 2 foreign players on the pitch at any 1 time. Does seem strange looking at that squad now. They surely haven't overlooked that?

Isn't that non kolpack players? So most SH teams don't count. It's only in Europe it becomes an issue.
So league games it wouldn't matter

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Post by carpet baboon on Fri 10 May 2019, 12:07 pm

Slightly wrong

"In rugby league and rugby union, the Kolpak ruling has allowed teams to sign many players from Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and South Africa, all of which are also ACP countries"

But I'm sure the only two foreign players only counts in euro games

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Post by the-goon on Fri 10 May 2019, 12:10 pm

Paddy Jackson is a great bit of business, quality player.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Fri 10 May 2019, 12:15 pm

100% agree. Id say he is still the 2nd best Irish outhalf in professional rugby.

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Post by LondonTiger on Fri 10 May 2019, 12:20 pm

carpet baboon wrote:Slightly wrong

"In rugby league and rugby union, the Kolpak ruling has allowed teams to sign many players from Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and South Africa, all of which are also ACP countries"

But I'm sure the only two foreign players only counts in euro games

From the Premiership FAQ page


In the Premiership, the rule on foreign players has been amended to come into line with the regulations in European competitions. A maximum of two foreign players can now be on the pitch at any one time, at all periods during the season.
Read more at https://www.premiershiprugby.com/about-us/faqs/#25V2fxTJie2YrKA4.99

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Post by SecretFly on Fri 10 May 2019, 12:26 pm

It's laughable really...sign an international agreement and nobody will be considered 'foreign' in time - except maybe Martians and Lycra wearing men from Krypton.


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Post by carpet baboon on Fri 10 May 2019, 2:01 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
carpet baboon wrote:Slightly wrong

"In rugby league and rugby union, the Kolpak ruling has allowed teams to sign many players from Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and South Africa, all of which are also ACP countries"

But I'm sure the only two foreign players only counts in euro games

From the Premiership FAQ page


In the Premiership, the rule on foreign players has been amended to come into line with the regulations in European competitions. A maximum of two foreign players can now be on the pitch at any one time, at all periods during the season.
Read more at https://www.premiershiprugby.com/about-us/faqs/#25V2fxTJie2YrKA4.99

Is this new?

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Post by stnick88 on Fri 10 May 2019, 3:48 pm

I think pretty much all the players we have signed either hold a passport from tonga or Fiji or somewhere that allows them to not be considered as a 'foreign' player

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Post by carpet baboon on Fri 10 May 2019, 4:11 pm

stnick88 wrote:I think pretty much all the players we have signed either hold a passport from tonga or Fiji or somewhere that allows them to not be considered as a 'foreign' player

Andrew mehrtens got himself a SA passport when he came to quin's. He was born in Durban. Every day truly is a school day

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Post by Brendan on Fri 10 May 2019, 5:03 pm

It will be interesting to see if they play like a group of superstars or as a team. As Bristol showed playing running rugby can get you alot more BPs which can soon add up.

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Post by yappysnap on Sat 11 May 2019, 5:01 am

Itll be interesting to see how they all gel. Bath are a case in point that you can sign all the Int players you want but if they dont gel then you wont achieve much.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sat 01 Jun 2019, 9:09 pm

Ruan Botha (SA, uncapped) is another good signing. Plenty of super rugby experience, 6’8 and 124 kg. LI will have a big pack next year.

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Post by Pot Hale on Sat 01 Jun 2019, 10:02 pm

Most of The players that LI have signed won’t fall under the non-European restriction because of Kolpak and the Contonu Agreement that covers PAC territories Pacific, African and Caribbean countries.

The 2 non-European restriction applies to PRO14, Premiership, Top14 and EPCR comps.

If you look at many of the NZ players who have signed for clubs in France many of them have changed nationality in order to play and not be captured under the restriction. You can be sure the LI players that can will do so.
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Post by RDW on Mon 03 Jun 2019, 2:28 pm

Someone want to make a stab at the LI starting XV?

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Post by SirBurger on Mon 03 Jun 2019, 4:05 pm

Strongest XV (in my opinion, and caveated by the fact that I don't think Botha and Coleman will overlap that much) is:

1. Dell
2. Matu'u
3. Kepu
4. Botha
5. Coleman
6. Tuisue
7. Ioane
8. Rogerson

9. Phipps
10. Jackson
11. Loader
12. Hepetema
13. Rona
14. Naholo
15. Veitokani

Bench: Porecki, Hobbs-Awoyemi, Hoskins, Van der Merwe, Cowan, Meehan, Stephenson, Parton

This also doesn't include SOB, who I am becoming increasingly convinced won't play for us. We could therefore do with one or two more to come into the pack. Steve Mafi is loosely rumoured and we could do with one more flanker. Kwagga Smith would be nice.

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Post by RDW on Mon 03 Jun 2019, 4:08 pm

You forgot SoB!

Naholo is a hell of a statement signing - shows how short the lifespan of an All Black winger is too.

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Post by SirBurger on Mon 03 Jun 2019, 4:15 pm

I edited my post - I strongly doubt SOB will play for us.

I can't wait to see Naholo in green. Will be a real fan favourite I suspect.

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Post by RDW on Mon 03 Jun 2019, 4:17 pm

Why do you think SoB won't play?

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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 03 Jun 2019, 4:20 pm

SirB,

I think you named the Barbarians team not LI.

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Post by SirBurger on Mon 03 Jun 2019, 4:46 pm

RDW wrote:Why do you think SoB won't play?

The tone of this is not promising: O'Brien may not play again

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 03 Jun 2019, 8:30 pm

Any English players in the side? Whistle

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Post by Margin_Walker on Mon 03 Jun 2019, 8:36 pm

Well if people would stop nicking them we might have...

I make it 9 EQP in that 23, so not great. Expect the cup squads will be heavily EQP to bring up the average.

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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 03 Jun 2019, 9:45 pm

I am struggling to see 9, but then never sure who may have a granny born in Dover.

Think I can see 2 in the starting lineup, Loader and Hepetema. Any more?

Admit it must be galling that Bath keep pinching your good players.

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Post by Margin_Walker on Mon 03 Jun 2019, 9:52 pm

Close, you just missed Rogerson in the starting 15. Bolded are EQP. Porecki, Hoskins and Meehan are all EQP Aussies.

1. Dell
2. Matu'u
3. Kepu
4. Botha
5. Coleman
6. Tuisue
7. Ioane
8. Rogerson

9. Phipps
10. Jackson
11. Loader
12. Hepetema

13. Rona
14. Naholo
15. Veitokani

Bench: Porecki, Hobbs-Awoyemi, Hoskins, Van der Merwe, Cowan, Meehan, Stephenson, Parton

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Post by SirBurger on Mon 03 Jun 2019, 10:55 pm

Sorry, my link earlier did not work: https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/sean-obrien-may-have-played-his-last-game-of-rugby-38159219.html

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Post by SecretFly on Tue 04 Jun 2019, 9:43 am

SirBurger wrote:Sorry, my link earlier did not work: https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/sean-obrien-may-have-played-his-last-game-of-rugby-38159219.html

The curse of the retiring Irish International (hoping to make a quick end-of-career earner in an external League for a season or two) strikes again....perhaps.

We'll see how it turns out but if that happens to be the outcome this time, and if it happens again over the next few years to another International retiree, then I might begin to think it a coincidence too far in the whacky world of insurance payouts?

But we'll see what transpires.

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Post by geoff999rugby on Tue 04 Jun 2019, 10:32 am

Even if he is 'fit' again I don't think he can play to his previous standard.
Been a shadow of his former self for some time now

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Post by RDW on Tue 04 Jun 2019, 10:33 am

geoff999rugby wrote:Even if he is 'fit' again I don't think he can play to his previous standard.
Been a shadow of his former self for some time now

....and probably not worth £450k a year!

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Post by Collapse2005 on Tue 04 Jun 2019, 11:19 am

RDW wrote:Why do you think SoB won't play?

It looks like there may be more than just injury and form issues on their way for Seanie.

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Post by SirBurger on Tue 04 Jun 2019, 11:21 am

Indeed...overall, the signing isn't quite as exciting as it was when it was announced.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 04 Jun 2019, 11:31 am

£450,000 a year!!! holy moly.


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Post by Margin_Walker on Tue 04 Jun 2019, 1:38 pm

Seen several figures mentioned, including that which is the highest. I doubt he's on a three year deal worth that much PA. Assume it's either on a reducing scale or has bonuses linked at least in some way to appearances. Who knows though, I may be wrong

Will be interesting to see how the watersports thing plays out. Either way, coming from a family with a lot of hip issues, I think it's more likely that he won't lace up his boots for us.

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Post by SirBurger on Tue 04 Jun 2019, 1:56 pm

Agreed MW. The off-field stuff shouldn't be serious enough to prevent him from playing for us, but I doubt the hip will recover sufficiently. I really worry that we will have left it too late to find a suitable replacement, unless we can find a hidden gem at the World Cup.

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Post by SecretFly on Tue 04 Jun 2019, 1:58 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:
RDW wrote:Why do you think SoB won't play?

It looks like there may be more than just injury and form issues on their way for Seanie.

Are you suggesting he might have Kidney problems? Shocked

Sorry folks, couldn't resist. Let's all just kiss and make up.

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Post by Gooseberry on Tue 04 Jun 2019, 2:14 pm

Irish Londoner wrote:All they have to do is be one point better than Worcester.


Your putting a lot of faith in Leicester Tigers recruitment

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 04 Jun 2019, 3:06 pm

Gooseberry wrote:
Irish Londoner wrote:All they have to do is be one point better than Worcester.


Your putting a lot of faith in Leicester Tigers recruitment

I'm not.



LondonTiger wrote:
Irish Londoner wrote:All they have to do is be one point better than Worcester.

To be 3rd from bottom?

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Post by Gooseberry on Tue 04 Jun 2019, 3:19 pm

Also are people actually complaining about a lack of English players in a club specifically formed by and for an immigrant community? 

Should the question not be how many Irish players are there in the squad?

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