London Irish boss Declan Kidney has turned his attention to next season as the Exiles look to make an immediate return to the Gallagher Premiership.
The former Ireland head coach watched on as his side rounded off the campaign with defeat at Bath on Saturday, the Exiles’ scores coming from Josh McNally (2) and Ben Loader on his Premiership debut.
The Exiles travelling contingent got a glimpse of the future, with academy graduates Loader, Jack Cooke and Josh Basham all pulling on the green jersey, while all-time record appearance holder David Paice bowed out from professional rugby.
“David has been a fantastic servant to London Irish, making 290 appearances, and that’s some amount of games to play for one club,” said Kidney.
“You look at the way that the baton has passed on, and it’s great to see the likes of Ben Loader coming through.
“We had a young side out there from the start, with one or two more experienced heads and Saturday’s game will stand the youngsters in good stead going into the off season.”
Drawing a line under the campaign and with new faces set to join the club, Kidney added: “The lads who are staying with us next season now know what it takes to compete in the Premiership.
“We’ll take things on the chin and take a good look at everything before we break for the summer. When you get to this stage of the season and you’re playing teams at the top end with things to play for, they’re always going to be fully focussed and determined to do the job in hand.
“That shows us the level we need to get to as ultimately, it’s where we want to get back to.”