The Exiles have already put down a marker for this season by claiming the JP Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s Series title at the Rec on 3rd August and Shingler believes this could be the springboard for further success this season.
“There is a great buzz around the training ground at the moment. The new guys that have come in have brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm. George Skivington and Cai Griffiths have got a lot of personality about them too. Winning the 7s has also had an impact around the place and now we cannot wait for the start of the season.”
The London Irish squad has endured a grueling pre-season programme that included a week at the Winchester Army base where they experienced the life of a soldier.
Shingler said: “It was certainly a difficult week. It puts life into perspective when you realise the day to day life a soldier leads. From our point of view, with so many new faces joining the squad there is no better way to bond when you are all tired, hungry and short of sleep so from that perspective it was very beneficial.”
Shingler, who played at both fly half and inside centre last season, will be fighting off competition from Ian Humphreys and Shane Geraghty for a starting berth this season and he is certainly relishing the challenge. “Both Shane and Ian are great players and have got great skill levels. It is always good to have competition for places as it brings out the best in a player so it’s more of an advantage than a hindrance.”
The Exiles kicked off their pre-season campaign with a 13-0 victory over a resilient Nottingham Rugby last week in front of 1,500 people at Sunbury. Darren Allinson partnered Steve Shingler in the halves and both stamped their mark on the match.
“It was a good first hit out, there is always room for improvement, but considering it was the first time we have all played together I thought we did well. We came away with the win and didn’t concede any tries so we were happy with the outcome.”
London Irish face Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade this evening before heading over to Ireland to face Munster in Cork on 24th August.
“These next two matches are definitely not going to be easy but will provide us with the preparation we need heading into the Aviva Premiership campaign and Saracens in the Double Header.
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