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London Irish 2014/15 Thread

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Post by Ozzy3213 Wed 30 Jul 2014, 9:02 am

First topic message reminder :

 Leprechaun Welcome to this seasons thread for talking about all things London Irish. Leprechaun 

Senior Squad (36)
Hooker: David Paice, Michael Mayhew, Jimmy Stevens 
Prop: Tom Court, Matt Parr, Johnny Harris, Geoff Cross, Halani Aulika, Leo Halavatau, Jamie Hagan
Second Row: George Skivington, Nic Rouse, Sean Cox, Dan Leo 
Back Row: Kieran Low, Blair Cowan, Jebb Sinclair, Ofisa Treviranus, Tom Guest, Luke Narraway, Connor Gilsenen 
Scrum Half: Tomas O'Leary, Darren Allinson, Scott Steele 
Fly Half: Shane Geraghty, Myles Dorrian, Chris Noakes 
Centre: Eamonn Sheridan, Eoin Griffin, Guy Armitage, Fergus Mulchrone
Wing: Topsy Ojo, Andrew Fenby, James Short
Full Back: Tom Homer, Alex Lewington

Senior Academy Squad (11)
Hooker: Gerard Ellis, Ollie Adams 
Prop: Tom Smallbone, Richard Palframan 
Second Row: Ollie Curry, Theo Vukasinovic 
Scrum Half: Conor Murphy 
Centre: Ross Neal, Tom Fowlie
Wing: Harry Lightfoot-Brown 
Full Back: Cameron Cowell

Season Preview

After what can only be described as a disappointing 2013/14 season there is cause for some optimism as we approach the season.  For the first time in a number of seasons, there are more players coming in than leaving, and those arriving are bring with them international experience in varying amounts.  Of those who have gone, only Marland Yarde and James O'Connor would be guaranteed starters this season, and overall the squad looks stronger in terms of both the first XV and depth behind it.  

Up front international props Tom Court and Geoff Cross have joined the club, and Halani Aulika returns after missing the whole of last season through injury.  These three players could be key for us, as an improvement in the set piece will be required if we are to improve on our league position this season, and I am confident that these guys will see us right in that area.  Behind them the combative Sean Cox and powerful Dan Leo have also arrived and should bring the sort of physicality needed to be successful in the Premiership.  In the back row Tom Guest, Luke Narraway and Conor Gilsenan will give us options that we did not have last season, and hopefully Jon Fisher has now recovered from the concussion that saw him miss all of last season.  In short the pack looks far better equipped to provide a platform to play from this time around, and one or two injuries shouldn't hurt us as much as they have done over the last couple of seasons.

Behind the scrum Scott Steele has arrived and has been highly touted to challenge for 9 jersey, and Chris Noakes arrives from Super Rugby to challenge at 10.  Shane Geraghty however may have other ideas after finishing the season strongly in that jersey, but whatever happens, the competition for places can only be good for the team moving forwards.  Eoin Griffin arrives from Connacht in the centres, and looks to be a very good player.  With all of the four senior centres able to play 12 or 13 there could well be some mixing and matching and horses for courses selections over the season, and that is not to mention Tom Fowlie in the academy, who impressed every time he put on the jersey last season, be it at centre or on the wing.  James Short arrives to bolster the wing options and is a proven finisher who the fans will hope can fill the hole left by the outgoing Marland Yarde.

From the academy, Gerard Ellis, Tom Smallbone and Tom Fowlie should get some extended game time this season.  Ellis in particular impressed at the back end of last season and has spent the summer in Australia to assist with honing his skills at hooker, and Smallbone has been in New Zealand playing club rugby and continuing his development as prop by working on his skills with the father of All Black props Owen and Ben Franks.

Whilst we will most definitely be a better side this season than last, it is fair to say that most other sides have also recruited well and will be stronger than last time around.  After a very poor start in 2013 we spent the majority of the year in the relegation scrap, and lost a lot of games by narrow margins.  The key for us will be turning those narrow losses into narrow victories if we want to finish higher than last season, and I think we have recruited well enough to do that.  We must start the season better though, and that won't be easy as we play all of last seasons top four in our first six games.  We will have to raise our game immediately, although it is fair to say that some of our best performances last season came against those sides, and we should be able to draw from those performances this time around.  

I fancy us to steer reasonably clear of the relegation scrap this time around and improve on last years finishing position.  Whatever happens though, one thing will always remain true, and that's I'd rather be a paddy than Quin!!!  Leprechaun  Leprechaun  Leprechaun 


Ozzy's prediction: 8th


Fixture List
DayDate KO Opponents Venue Competition Result 
Sat6th Sep 1416.30 HarlequinsTwickenham Aviva PremiershipL 15-20    (7th) 
Sun14th Sep 14 15.00Newcastle Falcons Kingston Park Aviva PremiershipW 20-18   (7th)
Sat20th Sep 1415.00SaracensMadejski Stadium  Aviva Premiership  L 23-36    (8th)
Sat27th Sep 1415.00Leicester TigersWelford RoadAviva PremiershipW 22-19    (6th)
Sat4th Oct 1415.00Northampton Saints Madejski Stadium Aviva Premiership
Sat11th Oct 1415.00Exeter ChiefsSandy ParkAviva Premiership
Sun19th Oct 1415:00TBCMadejski StadiumEuropean Challenge Cup 
Fri24th Oct 1419:30FC GrenobleStade LesdiguièresEuropean Challenge Cup
TBCLeicester TigersMadejski StadiumLV Cup
TBCWaspsAdams ParkLV Cup
Sat15th Nov 1414.00Sale SharksSalford City StadiumAviva Premiership
Sat22nd Nov 1415.00Bath RugbyMadejski StadiumAviva Premiership
Sun30th Nov 1415.00GloucesterMadejski StadiumAviva Premiership
Cardiff BluesBT Sport Arms ParkEuropean Challenge Cup
Cardiff BluesMadejski StadiumEuropean Challenge Cup
Sun21st Dec 1414.00WaspsAdams ParkAviva Premiership
Fri26th Dec 1415.00London WelshMadejski StadiumAviva Premiership
Sat3rd Jan 1515.00SaracensAliianz ParkAviva Premiership
Sun11th Jan 1515.00Exeter ChiefsMadejski StadiumAviva Premiership
FC GrenobleMadejski StadiumEuropean Challenge Cup
TBC European Challenge Cup
TBCScarletsParc y ScarletsLV Cup
TBCNewcastle FalconsMadejski StadiumLV Cup
Sat14th Feb 1515.00Northampton SaintsFranklins GardensAviva Premiership 
Sat21st Feb 1515.00Leicester TigersMadejski StadiumAviva Premiership 
Sat28th Feb 1514.30London WelshKassam StadiumAviva Premiership 
Sat7th Mar 1515.00HarlequinsThe StoopAviva Premiership 
LV Cup Semi Final
LV Cup Final
Sat28th Mar 1515.00Newcastle FalconsMadejski StadiumAviva Premiership
European Challenge Cup Quarter Final 
Sun12th Apr 1515.00Sale SharksMadejski StadiumAviva Premiership
European Challenge Cup Semi Final
Sat25th Apr 1515.00Bath RugbyThe RecAviva Premiership
European Challenge Cup Final
Sat9th May 1515.00GloucesterKingsholmAviva Premiership
Sat16th May15.00WaspsMadejski StadiumAviva Premership

Links

Official website
The Craic
Wikipedia page
London Irish ARFC
London Irish Supporters Club website

London Irish RFC Twitter feed
RugbyLI Twitter feed
LISC Twitter feed


Last edited by Ozzy3213 on Mon 29 Sep 2014, 6:52 am; edited 10 times in total
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Post by Sgt_Pooly Wed 14 Jan 2015, 9:24 am

Happy with Tom Coventry?

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Post by Ozzy3213 Wed 14 Jan 2015, 9:47 am

Very much so. I think he'll be an excellent fit for us.
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Post by Sgt_Pooly Wed 14 Jan 2015, 9:51 am

Chiefs have certainly been a handy side for the last few years

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Post by Heaf Wed 14 Jan 2015, 12:03 pm

Very happy - plus his existing links might come in handy for recruitment Smile

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Post by Ozzy3213 Sat 17 Jan 2015, 10:28 am

Franks to be confirmed early next week I believe, and some of top new signings in the pipeline.
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Post by Margin_Walker Sat 17 Jan 2015, 10:44 am

Ozzy3213 wrote:Franks to be confirmed early next week I believe, and some of top new signings in the pipeline.

Sounds positive. Any inkling? Backs / forwards? Chiefs?

I'm guessing we'll be on the lookout for a full back and lock depending on who is retained from Cox, Leo, Rouse.

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Post by stnick88 Sat 17 Jan 2015, 12:30 pm

I think leo will stay but cox and low might go. A fullback is a must.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sat 17 Jan 2015, 12:42 pm

At least anyone you do get in will be an improvement on that awful Homer.

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Post by Ozzy3213 Sat 17 Jan 2015, 1:59 pm

Low is a mystery to me. Has had some really good games but also just seems to go missing far to often. Not overly concerned if we lose him.
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Post by SirBurger Sat 17 Jan 2015, 2:50 pm

Ozzy3213 wrote:Low is a mystery to me. Has had some really good games but also just seems to go missing far to often.  Not overly concerned if we lose him.

Same here - I struggle to see why he is so highly rated by coaches and how he has won international caps to be honest.

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Post by Margin_Walker Sat 17 Jan 2015, 3:05 pm

SirBurger wrote:
Ozzy3213 wrote:Low is a mystery to me. Has had some really good games but also just seems to go missing far to often.  Not overly concerned if we lose him.

Same here - I struggle to see why he is so highly rated by coaches and how he has won international caps to be honest.

Yep, obviously takes a lot of ball in the lineout, but outside of that he doesn't offer a lot. Now not being EQP also doesn't work in his favour.

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Post by stub Sat 17 Jan 2015, 6:13 pm

Just seen the Irish v Grenoble score (43-41.) What a scoreline! Did anyone see the match?

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Post by Ozzy3213 Sat 17 Jan 2015, 6:21 pm

Mate, it was a complete rollercoaster. 2 tries in the first 9 minutes to go 12-0 up, then were 15-27 down, then 20-27 at half time. Got 31-27 ahead with the bonus point on the hour, just after David Paice had been shown a red card. Then were 31-41 down with 7 minutes to go. try for Fenby, missed conversion, then a try from Dorrian to tie the scores. Homer knocked over the extras with 2 minutes on the clock. Ridiculous game, typical London Irish!!!
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Post by Heaf Sat 17 Jan 2015, 6:45 pm

stub wrote:Just seen the Irish v Grenoble score (43-41.) What a scoreline! Did anyone see the match?

Yes and it didn't do any good for my blood pressure ...

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Post by stub Sat 17 Jan 2015, 9:39 pm

Ha ha! Sounds fantastically stressful! Congratulations for the win.  Very Happy

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Post by SirBurger Sun 18 Jan 2015, 3:46 pm

stnick88 wrote:I think leo will stay but cox and low might go. A fullback is a must.

Out of interest, what makes you think Leo will stay? Is it the Samoan connection with TC? I would think that if any of those three were to stay Cox would make the most sense as he is EQP, not to mention that he can run a line-out, which to me makes him a valid back-up squad player, rather than Leo, whose line-out play is fairly average. I wouldn't be surprised if all three were to go though.

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Post by Ozzy3213 Mon 19 Jan 2015, 10:52 am

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-2915968/Chris-Ashton-fight-way-England-fold.html

Tucked away in the middle of this article it says that Tom Coventry wants to bring Clark Laidlaw into the coaching set up. I don't know huge amounts about him, but he seems pretty well regarded out in New Zealand.
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Post by Ozzy3213 Mon 19 Jan 2015, 11:49 am

http://www.london-irish.com/h/news/bob-casey-is-new-operations-director-at-london-irish/bp239/

Bob Casey joins the board.
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Post by SirBurger Mon 19 Jan 2015, 3:27 pm

Laidlaw would make a lot of sense seeing as he covers a lot of defence - an area we have been short on for a while and will be even more stretched there now that Brian has left.

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Post by Ozzy3213 Mon 19 Jan 2015, 6:17 pm

Indeed SB. I wonder what the coaching set up will be underneath Coventry. Hopefully Glenn will stay and they can get James Buckland on a full time basis, as there has been a definite improvement in our scrummaging since he cane on board to help out.
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Post by SirBurger Mon 19 Jan 2015, 7:50 pm

Ozzy3213 wrote:Indeed SB.  I wonder what the coaching set up will be underneath Coventry.  Hopefully Glenn will stay and they can get James Buckland on a full time basis, as there has been a definite improvement in our scrummaging since he cane on board to help out.

Fitzgerald in the Rugby Paper said that Whiffin and Delaney would both be staying as TC was happy to work with both of them. He said that we would be looking to add to that structure though. I agree definitely on Buckland - there does seem to have been a step up since his arrival. Although having said that, his arrival was never officially confirmed - just a report from Fissler from memory - hardly the most reliable!

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Post by Ozzy3213 Mon 19 Jan 2015, 9:19 pm

I can confirm that he has been working at the club on a part time basis. Saw him there on one of my visits.
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Post by SirBurger Mon 19 Jan 2015, 11:10 pm

Ozzy3213 wrote:I can confirm that he has been working at the club on a part time basis.   Saw him there on one of my visits.

Ah, good to have that confirmed. Thanks.

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Post by Ozzy3213 Wed 21 Jan 2015, 11:39 am

Tomas O'Leary confirmed backed to Munster.
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Post by Sin é Wed 21 Jan 2015, 1:07 pm

Ozzy3213 wrote:Tomas O'Leary confirmed backed to Munster.

Delighted to hear that.
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Post by Ozzy3213 Thu 22 Jan 2015, 8:53 am

Sean Maitland confirmed this morning. Cracking player.
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Post by yappysnap Thu 22 Jan 2015, 9:11 am

To be honest I always thought Maitland failed to deliver on potential, good wing/15 but nothing that special really. Do you guys need more back three players though?

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Post by Ozzy3213 Thu 22 Jan 2015, 9:18 am

We have 5 senior back 3 players this season and Tom Homer is off, so yes, we do need back 3 players.


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Post by SirBurger Thu 22 Jan 2015, 9:21 am

Delighted with that signing.

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Post by LondonTiger Thu 22 Jan 2015, 10:42 am

With Franks and Maitland coming in and Cowan already there, rebranding to LNZ needed?


Not sure splashing big money on a back 3 player is what you actually need. Getting things right further forward would have seemed a better use of cash.

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Post by Driver Thu 22 Jan 2015, 1:00 pm

Maitland is exactly the type of player Irish need. I imagine he'll roll out at 15 more than wing.

Ojo must be on the decline now surely? 

A back 3 of Lewington , Fenby and Maitland is as dangerous as they come outside the likes of Saints , Saracens and Bath.
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Post by SirBurger Thu 22 Jan 2015, 1:40 pm

LondonTiger wrote:With Franks and Maitland coming in and Cowan already there, rebranding to LNZ needed?


Not sure splashing big money on a back 3 player is what you actually need. Getting things right further forward would have seemed a better use of cash.

I actually don't think you're right there. Obviously the pack does need to be improved, but our bigger problem this year has been our lack of penetration when we have got the ball to the backs. This has admittedly improved in the past two games, as we have adjusted our game-plan suitably, but a talented footballer like Maitland is exactly what we need to replace Homer. The strengthening of the pack has already started with Ben Franks and I am sure that there are more to come.

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Post by LondonTiger Thu 22 Jan 2015, 1:47 pm

When considering the back 3, there are places further forward that excludes the pack Very Happy


this just reminds me a touch of Quins signing Yarde to increase their attack, however their issues are at 10/12/13. No matter how good the back 3 are, if the midfield gum it up it matters not a jot.


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Post by SirBurger Thu 22 Jan 2015, 2:19 pm

Oh ok, I see.

And yes, we do have issues in the midfield. However, quins only had enough cash for Yarde. We have been under the cap for years and think we will be looking to strengthen all of our problem areas.

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Post by LondonTiger Thu 22 Jan 2015, 2:28 pm

Where is the cash coming from to pay for it?

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Post by Irish Londoner Thu 22 Jan 2015, 2:38 pm

LT - the club is under new ownership who I understand are worth a few bob, not Saracens/Bath well off but I'd like to be £50 behind them. They've invested in a new training ground and are rumoured to be looking to move the team back to London, probably in a groundshare with Brentford if/when they build a new stadium.

Whether it's enough to get them up from the bottom three to chasing top six is a different matter.

I'm sure Ozzy would have the details.

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Post by LondonTiger Thu 22 Jan 2015, 2:41 pm

Thanks for info. Would be good if the development of the club could make tyhem more self-sustainable.

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Post by Ozzy3213 Thu 22 Jan 2015, 2:49 pm

That is indeed the plan LT, to follow the Tigers/Saints/Chiefs model of being self sustainable. The new board have committed to sticking their hands in their own pockets and taking the hit for 3 years to put the building blocks in place to achieve that.

There is a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes relating to both on and off field activities. There will be further player announcements in the coming weeks as well as information relating to off field stuff. It's an exciting time to be a London Irish supporter.
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Post by petethepete Fri 23 Jan 2015, 11:43 am

Been hearing rumours of a London groundshare for awhile now! How likely is it? I live in Ealing and used to make it to approx 10 games a season at the avenue, only been a handful of times in the last few years! I would be delighted with a Brentford groundshare, that is due to be open for the start of the 2016 season.

Would of course feel for the Reading based fans, but think attendance would rise if based in West London.

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Post by SirBurger Fri 23 Jan 2015, 12:19 pm

The guys at my club are convinced it is happening, although I'm not sure how much evidence they have.

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Post by Ozzy3213 Fri 23 Jan 2015, 12:39 pm

I think it is inevitable that we will move, whether that's back to London or to a site local to reading I don't know. That ultimately I think will be decided by economics.
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Post by Irish Londoner Fri 23 Jan 2015, 2:31 pm

Personally as someone based in London I'd love them to move back somewhere a bit nearer - there was also talk of Brentford's new pitch being 4G or mixed grass/synthetic which would again make it suitable for rugby to share.
At the moment going out to Reading is either a long train journey or a drive and then no beers.

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Post by Heaf Fri 23 Jan 2015, 4:47 pm

Personally I'd like them to stay near Reading ...

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Post by Ozzy3213 Fri 23 Jan 2015, 5:04 pm

I'm 25 minutes from Reading and the same from Sunbury so my view is just that I'd like to see us own our own ground and if I can get there in under an hour then that's all good by me.
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Post by Heaf Fri 23 Jan 2015, 5:22 pm

Somewhere in the middle would do Smile

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Post by SirBurger Fri 23 Jan 2015, 5:25 pm

Heaf wrote:Somewhere in the middle would do Smile

Ozzy's front door sounds perfect!

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Post by Heaf Fri 23 Jan 2015, 7:19 pm

Do you have a big garden Ozzy?

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Post by Ozzy3213 Fri 23 Jan 2015, 8:43 pm

My garden backs onto a park if that's any use?! Wink
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Post by Heaf Fri 23 Jan 2015, 8:48 pm

Can you get planning permission?

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Post by Ozzy3213 Sat 24 Jan 2015, 10:29 am

I understand that another signing will be announced on Monday.
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