17 May 2018
This time last year Theo Brophy Clews was gearing-up for the World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia, the fly-half having made his return to action for the second half of the 2016/17 season following foot surgery.
The Exiles academy graduate has taken his game to the next level this year, with 18 appearances in all competitions including five tries, four penalties and two conversions to take him over 100 points for Irish.
Pledging his future to the Exiles ahead of the 2018/19 campaign, the former Abingdon School pupil, 19, is enthused by the current set-up at Hazelwood under the watchful gaze of Declan Kidney and Les Kiss.
“I want to be part of an organically grown group that has been together for a long time and enjoy success together, and there are no short cuts to achieving that,” said Brophy Clews, who is currently enjoying some down time in Bali ahead of the gruelling pre-season programme.
“There’s no doubt that things haven’t been as successful as we would have liked in the past year, but eventually we’ll get better and better over time.
“I want to stick around at London Irish and I’m excited by the challenge that lies ahead here – the main goal is promotion back to the Premiership at the first time of asking and it’s what we do every day to make that a reality which is important.
“This pre-season I’ll be looking to trust my instincts more and getting the best out of myself to ensure that I’m in excellent shape.”
This summer will be the longest period of time that Brophy Clews has been off before reporting back for training, the Oxford-born playmaker having been involved with various England age group teams.
Relishing the time off, Brophy Clews said: “To have five weeks off is great as I don’t think I’ve had that length of time off since I was 16 and I’ve always had one week off here and one week off there.
“I’ll definitely relish pre-season and make sure that I’m ready to go – a full pre-season is something that I’ve not experienced for a while, so I’m really excited to see the physical shape that I get myself in and how I can develop my skills.
“Hopefully my body and mind will be ready going into the new season. I think the way in which the new coaches did it in terms of having a few meetings before the summer break was good.
“The coaches are placing emphasis on us to control and dictate things next year – I’ve only been away for a week or so and I’m already looking forward to being back in pre-season training.”
With the England U20 squad set to be announced early next week in the build-up to the World Rugby U20 Championship, Brophy Clews believes Irish’s young talent can make a significant impression at this year’s tournament.
“Having played in the competition on two occasions, I can say that it’s a great tournament and I’m glad to have been involved in it,” he said.
“It’s a really good chance for some of our players to be exposed to a different stimulus in another country under tournament pressure.
“The turnaround between games is ridiculous as the games are extremely physical and then you have literally a few days until your next game.
“You really are under huge pressure to perform not only from a tactical point of view, but from a physical aspect too.
“We have some exciting prospects in contention for a place in the team with the likes of Ben Loader, Josh Basham, Tom Parton and Rory Brand pushing to be on the plane.
“It’s a really exciting time for the guys and I know that they’re all looking forward to it.”
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