As week five of pre-season comes to a close at Hazelwood, for new signing Brendan McKibbin it is a chance to reflect.
After making the 10,000 mile move from the Waratahs in Super Rugby, where he was part of the 2014 title wining squad, to the Exiles; McKibbin admits it is the ambition of the Club that attracted him.
“Initially I sat down and spoke to Bob Casey,” he said. “And I really liked the direction the Club was going.
“I knew there was going to be a lot of change at London Irish and to be a part of that is really exciting.”
After making the move, McKibbin has set up his base in Richmond, with the ‘Richmond Boys’ in the squad welcoming him with open arms.
“I have been over here for a few weeks now and I have settled in pretty nicely, the Richmond Boys have really taken me under their wings and have been showing me the ropes.
“Jebb Sinclair is a guy who stands out,” McKibbin revealed when asked if any personalities in particular were standing out in the squad.
“You often hear him before you can see him! And like I said the Richmond boys like Steely (Scott Steele), Jimmy (Stevens) and Lewy (Alex Lewington) have looked after me so far.”
For London Irish, five weeks in to a 14 week long pre-season including a tour to Munster and a two match series against Harlequins in the Cunningham Duncombe Series, the hard work is just beginning and McKibbin admits he is enjoying the tough training Tom Coventry and his team are putting the squad through.
“Training is tough but also really enjoyable and it gives me a chance to get the know the boys and for them to get to know me.There is a mix of rugby training and conditioning so it is hard work but the atmosphere around the camp is great and really competitive and that is what pre-season is all about.”
With 63 Super Rugby caps to his name, first with the Queensland Reds and then with the Waratahs, McKibbin brings a wealth of experience with him to the Exiles.
A skilled scrum half and accurate place kicker, Scotland born McKibbin amassed 234 points in 59 appearances for the New South Wales outfit.