George Skivington has had a huge impact on the forward pack this pre-season according to towering South African lock Sebastian De Chaves.
Skivington, who at the end of last term called time on an illustrious playing career that took in the sights of Wasps, Leicester Tigers and London Irish, is now forwards coach as part of a new-look management team.
“I think he’s been absolutely awesome,” De Chaves, 25, said of the former Exiles skipper.
“His knowledge of the game is top class and he’s got a real passion for the club – he knows exactly what he wants from the forwards.
“Skivs is a very good lineout technician so it’s been nice to work under him and pick his brains. Then Kendo throws in bits of wisdom there, so you’ve got two accomplished former locks to learn a lot from.
“That’s been a real positive for me and we’re all looking to learn. Hopefully, our set-piece will be a strength and I like the physical aspect of the game as well.
“All of the coaches have had a big influence on me, but I would say George has had the biggest impact on my game,” he added.
Skivington is part of an impressive backroom team, spearheaded by London Irish icon Nick Kennedy as the club prepares for life in the Greene King IPA Championship.
And De Chaves, who is capped by the Springboks at under-20 level, has been enthused by the blueprint set by Kennedy.
He said: “Nick has a real passion for London Irish and then you’ve got Brendan Venter who brings a lot of energy and experience to the table.
“Ever since the first meeting, the lads have been excited and enthusiastic to be working with him.”
De Chaves and his teammates were back in training on Bank Holiday Monday as the momentum builds towards this Saturday’s showdown with Doncaster Knights.
“The Championship will be tough in different ways and we know we’ll have to be at our best every week. But if we get things right and improve, nothing can stop us,” said De Chaves.
“Pre-season has been incredibly tough, but I would expect nothing less,” he added.
London Irish kick start their Greene King IPA Championship campaign this Saturday when they welcome Doncaster Knights to the Madejski Stadium (kick off 3pm). Make sure you don't miss out on all the excitement of the 2016/17 season - click here to purchase match tickets or call our ticket hotline on 0118 968 1016.