18 January 2018
ACADEMY: London Irish confirm senior academy
22 August 2017
London Irish have confirmed their senior academy ahead of the 2017/18 season.
Training alongside the first team squad this summer, the squad of 11 includes seven players who are retained from last season’s group.
From last year’s squad, Jacob Atkins, Rory Brand, Jack Cooke, Isaac Curtis-Harris, Austin Hay, Tom Parton and Matt Williams have all been retained.
Former Wellington College pupil Parton, 19, was part of the England Under-20s team that won the Six Nations as well as reaching the semi-finals of the World Rugby U20s Championship in Georgia this summer.
He, along with the rest of the retained list, experienced valuable game time for the first team last season.
Atkins, Cooke, Curtis-Harris, Williams and Hay all featured during the Championship season, with academy manager Patrick O’Grady pleased with their development.
“I’m really excited about the current crop of players coming through the ranks at London Irish,” said O’Grady.
“A lot of the boys experienced first team rugby last season and that exposure to senior rugby will have undoubtedly aided their progress with us.
“I’m looking forward to seeing more from them this season.”
Ben Loader, Sam Collingridge and England Under-18 duo Josh Basham and Ollie Hassell-Collins have all been promoted to the senior academy.
“It will be good to see how the four of them make the step up to the senior academy this season,” added O’Grady.
“I was delighted to see Josh and Ollie representing England Under-18s in South Africa this summer and they both had good tours.
“Ben and Sam have shown a lot of promise with us already and are currently on the right track.”
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2017/18 London Irish Senior Academy