Academy Manager Billy Clark has spoken about his excitement over the make-up of the senior Academy squad as well as the growing relationship with the London Irish Wild Geese ahead of the new season.
The 13 man Academy squad includes recently crowned U20 World Champion Tom Smallbone, alongside outstanding front row prospects Gerrard Ellis at Hooker and tighthead Richard Palframan.
New additions to the senior Academy include recent graduates from the London Irish AASE programme as well as talent from further afield.
England U18 centre, Tom Fowlie and scrum half Ed Hoadley graduate from the junior Academy programme to earn their places training alongside the first team squad. Having spent the last two years as part of the successful London Irish AASE programme, managed by Giselle Mather and hosted by St Pauls Catholic College in Sunbury, the two young English prospects look set to make an impact at senior level in years to come.
Sean O’Connell and Ian Cross join the Academy after having previous spells at the club. O’Connell, an abrasive back row forward, returns to the club where he was previously a member of the London Irish Junior Academy following two years with Ulster.
Cross, a product of the Munster Academy system, joins following a short spell in Rugby League with St Helens.
The relationship with the London Irish Amateur side, the Wild Geese, who, following promotion will play in SSE National League 2 South, will see a handful of their brightest stars training as part of the fulltime Academy programme in 2013/14.
Lock Charlie Davey, hooker Justin Oro-Campos, wing George Owen and back rower Scott Moore will all form part of the Academy training group this year.
Local Hampshire winger George Berthnonneau and back rower John Quill join on trial and hope to nail down a fulltime place in the Academy for the season ahead.
Academy Manager, Billy Clark, said: "We are excited about the players we have coming into our fulltime environment this year to join the likes of Tom Smallbone, Gerrard Ellis and Richard Palframan. These guys made a positive impact last season and will look to continue to push towards first team selection in the year to come.
“There is a good mix of local talent and players of significant potential in the new intake this year, all of whom are a good fit for the club and culture we have here at London Irish.
“The relationship we have with the Wild Geese is getting stronger and stronger and the prospect of our young guys learning their trade with them at National 2 level is exciting and can only be positive. It’s a tough league, it’ll be challenging for the guys but will be hugely beneficial for their development and hopefully we can help the Wild Geese push for promotion again this season.”
London Irish Academy 2013/14:
George Berthonneau, Ian Cross, Charlie Davey, Gerrard Ellis, Tom Fowlie, Ed Hoadley, Scott Moore, Sean O’Connell, Justin Oro-Campos, George Owen, Richard Palframan, John Quill, Tom Smallbone