James O’Connor to make Exiles debut against Northampton

James O’Connor will make his London Irish debut this Sunday when Northampton Saints visit Madejski Stadium for round seven of Aviva Premiership rugby (kick-off 2pm).

O’Connor will line up at full back in a back three along with Topsy Ojo and Sailosi Tagicakibau. Fergus Mulchrone and Eamonn Sheridan continue their centre partnership. Ian Humphreys and Tomás O’Leary will play together in the halves. O’Leary will captain the side in the absence of George Skivington.

John Yapp, David Paice and Leo Halavatau will start in the front row with Ian Gough and Bryn Evans in the second row. Chris Hala’ufia will play alongside Samoa International Ofisa Treviranus and Blair Cowan in the back row.

Brian Smith, Exiles Director of Rugby said: “The team is looking forward to the contest on Sunday. We felt we let a golden opportunity to win a valuable Premiership match slip last weekend and want to put in a big performance in front of our home supporters. Northampton are the in-form team at the moment and we will have to be at our best to shut them down. It’s been a big week for the Club with the announcement of James O’Connor and we hope we see a big turn out by our supporters on Sunday to welcome him to the Club."

London Irish team to face Northampton Saints:

15. James O’Connor*; 14.Topsy Ojo*; 13.Fergus Mulchrone; 12. Eamonn Sheridan; 11. Sailosi Tagicakibau*; 10. Ian Humphreys; 9. Tomás O’Leary* (Captain); 1. John Yapp*; 2. David Paice*; 3. Leo Halavatau; 4. Ian Gough*; 5. Bryn Evans*; 6. Blair Cowan; 7. Ofisa Treviranus*; 8. Chris Hala’ufia*

Replacements: 16. Mike Mayhew; 17 Matt Parr; 18. Jamie Hagan*; 19.Kieran Low; 20. Declan Danaher; 21. Alex Lewington; 22. Shane Geraghty*; 23. Darren Allinson

*Denotes International

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