London Irish is delighted to announce the Senior Academy intake ahead of the 2023/24 campaign.
Five new signings will join the senior set-up within the Hazelwood Centre, thereby being integrated into training with the first team and taking a step closer to a potential first senior involvement.
The Club has taken on a range of talented players this year and will maintain the development of the youngsters from within the confines of Hazelwood through its high-level coaching.
Loosehead prop Ralph McEachran will be absorbed into the fold after earning his place through the Bishop Wand School, London Irish’s Academy, Colleges and Education (ACE) pathway.
McEachran joined the Club aged 14 after starting his rugby journey at Guildford Rugby Club, progressing through the Developing Player Programme (DPP) at Irish.
Standing at 191cm and weighing 108kg, the forward recently tasted success as part of the under-18 squad that lifted the Premiership Rugby Under-18 Academy League.
He has represented his country England at age-grade level, taking to the field in the 2023 Under-18 Six Nations Festival and also in friendly ties against both France and Wales.
The captain of that title-winning team was Finn Worley Brady, a back-row talent that also came through the Bishop Wand ACE programme and will be signed into the Senior Academy.
Scoring a try in that final win over Northampton Saints, the 18-year-old has already led the Club to success and will now look to make his imprint at a senior level.
A product of Teddington RFC, Worley Brady also joined London Irish at the DPP level aged 13 and is another success story of the Club’s storied Academy history.
Worley Brady, who boasts a 189cm, 102kg frame, has also represented Middlesex at county level and been involved in the England set-up recently for an under-18s training camp.
The next member of the 2023/24 Senior Academy first year players is 185cm, 92kg England under-18 fly-half Rory Taylor.
A student at Wellington College, Taylor’s family hails from the Isle of Wight and has been involved with the Hampshire RFU set-up, as well as Vectis RFC.
He joined the Exiles as a 13-year-old, advancing through the DPP programme and going on to be awarded a sports scholarship at the Berkshire college.
Taylor has picked up eight England age-grade caps, slotting the winning penalty for his county’s sole win in a 2022 summer tour against South Africa, and also kicking three vital points to conclude the 2023 Academy League final for Irish.
Hartpury College’s Toby Maddock is welcomed into the Senior Academy as the fourth member of the Academy League-winning side to be awarded his first professional contract.
He missed out on a large portion of the previous under-18 campaign owed to injury, however, Maddock will be keen to prove his capacity in a historic line of pacy outside backs.
The Hampshire County representative has played for hometown Club, Alton RFC, from both wing and full-back positions.
He, alongside his first-year counterparts, joined the Exiles at 14 to go on and represent Scotland under-17s, currently standing at 183cm and 90kg.
London Irish welcomes Charlie Moss into the group in Sunbury-on-Thames as the sole external signature in the current intake.
Moss’ signs on from the Midlands Academy and will be utilised in the second-row as an Exile.
The Shiplake College graduate has international representation north of the border as a Scotland under-18 player.
Patrick O’Grady, London Irish Academy Manager, voiced his pride in the boys’ journey to get to the Senior Academy level.
“I would like to congratulate Ralph, Finn, Rory, Toby and Charlie, alongside all of their families, on signing into the Senior Academy of London Irish.
“The behind-the-scenes effort put in by these boys over the course of their time with Irish and up to this point has been extraordinary, they have proved they are worthy of their place on the training paddock at Hazelwood.
“This cohort are acutely aware that this is just the start and the work very much starts as of now, I know they are eager to get involved and fit in amongst some seasoned professionals.
“I have every faith that these young men will do just that and stake their claim amongst the plethora of talent we have here at the Club.”