Senior Academy wing Michael Dykes has signed his first professional contract with London Irish, the Club is delighted to confirm.
The 21-year-old made his senior debut in last season’s trip to Leicester Tigers in the Premiership Rugby Cup, his sole outing for Irish that term, before going on to make nine more appearances this year so far.
Dykes is a product of the Developing Player Programme and has been with the Club since the age of 13, tasting success at an early age with Berkshire Cup wins with Maidenhead RFC and also taking an AASE title with St. Paul’s.
He started off this year in style with four tries in as many appearances in the Premiership Rugby Cup, notching a hattrick in away trip to Saracens, whilst playing in every cup tie up to and including the final.
Following on from the pool stages of the cup, Dykes gained valuable playing experience with 70 minutes played across two encounters with DHL Stormers and Montpellier Hérault in Irish’s first venture in the Heineken Champions Cup in a decade.
Dykes had the Premiership debut of dreams for any young Exile by bagging a hattrick of tries in a 42-24 win on derby day against Harlequins at the Gtech Community Stadium.
In the process of grabbing the trio of scores, he became only the third player in Premiership Rugby to score a hattrick on his tournament debut, testament to the promise shown already in Dykes’ nascent career.
Michael Dykes reflected on signing on the dotted line at the Hazelwood Centre, saying he has “realised a dream” in becoming an Exile.
“A lot of hard work has gone in to reach this point, and I’ve been surrounded by brilliant coaches that have allowed me to become a London Irish player – I’ll always be grateful for that,” Dykes commented.
“I’d like to thank all of those that have played a part in getting me to become an Irish player, but now, the hard work really starts.
“I’ve realised a dream by signing this contract with London Irish, I’ve enjoyed some big moments already with the Club and I’m excited to deliver more for our supporters.”
Declan Kidney, London Irish Director of Rugby, praised Michael for working through a challenging part of his career to take the opportunities that were presented to him during the season.
“Michael is still at an early stage of his career, but we see a lot of potential in him.
“I know that if he keeps the same work ethic he has shown over the last year especially, that he will reap the rewards and will be a big addition to the London Irish squad.”