Another year has passed us, and – with our first fallow week of the 2021/22 season here – what better time to reflect on the last 12 months at London Irish.
Some things are bigger than sport, and this past year has been another difficult one for so many people, as we all continue the fight against COVID-19. On behalf of myself and everyone at London Irish, I want to wish you all a very happy and healthy 2022 and I’m sure we all hope for even better times ahead.
On the pitch, the 2020/21 season got away from us in the last few games where we missed out on qualifying for the Champions Cup by one place, even though this was still an improvement over the 2019/20 season.
The 2021/22 season started slowly, but we managed to pick up points in every game and then we got to the November/December period where we put a few results together which have kept us in contention in all three competitions. But, as a group, we know that we need to keep working hard and improving over the coming months.
This is an ambitious group of players and staff and that can be seen in the way that everyone handles themselves around the training ground and the way that everyone goes about their work, which is great to see.
We have been involved in some brilliant matches over the past 12 months, some that went our way and some that didn’t. What is most pleasing to see is that we are constantly picking up new learnings and work ons from each match, no matter the result. Win or lose, you can always find ways to improve.
I am delighted that more Academy players have been rewarded for their hard work this year, with the likes of Henry Arundell, Tom Pearson, Luke Green and Will Joseph all making their senior debuts in 2021.
Off the pitch, our Commercial team have been working tirelessly to ensure that the Brentford Community Stadium is an exciting and, more importantly, safe venue for our supporters to come and watch rugby. They have had to overcome so many hurdles over the past 12 months and I would like to thank them all for their hard work.
The Community and Foundation staff continue to deliver their sessions and support in the local areas, which is more important than ever. I’m sure their great work will inspire the next generation of rugby players and give people a helping hand where needed.
Our Medical department have worked closely with our Covid team to make sure that our processes and procedures give us the best possible chance against the virus. There is no blueprint for dealing with a pandemic, but they have been fantastic and made our environment as safe as possible. Thank you to everyone involved.
I would also like to extend my thanks to the London Irish Board of Directors and our owner, Mick Crossan, for their constant backing over 2021. In challenging times, they have gone above and beyond to provide us with the support we’ve required to navigate our way through this testing period.
Happy New Year to you all and we look forward to welcoming you to the Brentford Community Stadium in 2022, starting against Edinburgh in the Challenge Cup on January 15th.