Towards the end of last month, I gave you an update about the immediate impact the Coronavirus was going to have here at London Irish.
Since then we have had to come to terms with the significant adjustments to how we live our lives, along with the rest of the country, Europe and beyond. With the Gallagher Premiership suspended we now find ourselves watching re-runs on YouTube of our dramatic wins over Wasps, Northampton, Leicester, Gloucester and Harlequins this season to get our fix of rugby.
However, if the last few weeks have shown me anything it is that we have a club to be proud of.
Firstly, the support we have had from you since the fixtures were postponed has been fantastic. You appreciate that the current situation is out of our hands and are being very patient to see how it will develop. Your positivity is outstanding and on behalf of everyone at London Irish I would like to thank you for this.
The players and staff have also responded well to the challenges. I know that the players are looking after themselves and each other, both mentally and by staying in as good shape as possible so that they can hit the ground running and continue the momentum we had built, as and when the Gallagher Premiership resumes.
Some of the squad and off-field team have also joined the outstanding #PoweringTheNHS initiative set up by Edward Crossan and Powerday. They are volunteering their time and we know that it has been appreciated by the thousands of NHS staff who are receiving the nourishing meals. The team of volunteers are doing a great job in helping those doctors, nurses and care workers who are saving lives and treating the people who have been struck down by this virus.
This initiative showcases exactly what we are about, a club where people pitch in and deliver for the wider community, regardless of whether they are London Irish supporters or not.
So, what about the future?
On the field we have come a long way in a short time, sitting eighth in the Gallagher Premiership table. We have had some excellent wins, put in strong performances and are viewed as an opponent to be taken seriously.
Planning for next season in Brentford is progressing well, and I truly believe that we will be the hottest ticket in town for rugby supporters when we move there.
However, we cannot ignore some harsh realities. As we have seen by announcements from the RFU, FA, ECB, Premier League clubs and many more governing bodies and organisations, the impact of this pandemic is being felt across the entire sporting sector.
Our job is to make sure that London Irish is still in a position to compete once the rugby resumes, and a lot of hard work has gone in behind the scenes, since the Gallagher Premiership was put on hiatus, to put the pieces in place for our continuity planning. I would like to thank Mick and our board of directors for their backing during this process.
Finally, I would like to reiterate something I wrote in my previous message about looking after yourselves and taking care of your family and loved ones. London Irish has always been a home for Exiles from around the world who come together, build friendships and make the club their home. So make sure you stay in touch with each other, and if you are able to join one of the many voluntary schemes or talk to anyone who needs the conversation, please do so, it will make a massive difference and help us all stay positive during this most challenging of times.
Thanks for your continued support of the club and I wish you the best of health during the Easter period and beyond.