Declan Kidney is enthused by the challenge of taking charge of London Irish as preparations continue ahead of this Saturday’s St Patrick’s Party clash against Gloucester at the Madejski Stadium (kick-off 3pm).
The Exiles’ new technical consultant, who led Ireland to the Grand Slam in 2009 as well as winning two Heineken Cups with Munster, is delighted to be back in the game with a club he says has ‘massive potential.’
“I feel blessed that London Irish have given me this opportunity and I’m really looking forward to the challenge,” said Kidney.
“We are where we are in the league, but from what I’ve seen in training, there’s a lot of potential and over a period of time myself and Les Kiss will look to implement our own values and systems.”
Kidney’s first test in the Aviva Premiership will be the iconic St Patrick’s Party fixture against the Cherry & Whites, an occasion that the Irishman is relishing.
“When I was coaching in Ireland I would always hear about the St Patrick’s Party match and how massive the day was for London Irish,” said Kidney.
“There has always been a big crowd at the game and I suppose the onus is on us to give the supporters something to cheer for.
“We’ll focus on Saturday’s game and nothing more, and we’ll give it our best shot.”
Kidney is joined by head coach Less Kiss on the coaching roster, with the duo working closely with defence coach Declan Danaher, attack coach Paul Hodgson and forwards coach George Skivington.
Delighted to be reunited with Kiss, Kidney said: “Les is respected worldwide and we’re just so lucky to have him here and it’s great to be working with him again.
“We come at things from a different angle and we try to make it work to the best effect of the team.
“Everyone is looking for the secret formula for success and when you look at teams like Saracens and Exeter, they have had a fantastic spirit within the camp from the very beginning. All we want is people who want to be here and people who want to play for us, and we’ll build it from there.”
Asked about his long-term vision for the club, Kidney is keen to continue developing the exciting young talent coming through the Exiles’ ranks at present.
“London Irish have a great record of producing young players and in the ideal world we will keep them all here as well as bringing in a few other lads too,” said Kidney.
“The old values in rugby are still there and the only thing better than winning, is winning with your friends.”
You can book your place at the party of the season from just £4 for under 13s and £26 for adults, and as the St Patrick's Party is the perfect occasion to share with friends and family we are offering a 25% discount to groups of 10 adults or more.
We are also introducing a family ticket consisting of two adult and two concession tickets in the South Stand costing just £50, which saves you up to £44!
You can bag your tickets online by clicking here or by calling the London Irish ticket office on 0118 968 1016 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, Saturday 9am to noon). Please note, family tickets are only available to buy over the phone.