18 July 2022
*All stats utilised are correct as of Saturday June 18th 2022, upon completion of the 2021/22 Gallagher Premiership season.
A truly exciting season for the Club has drawn to a conclusion, in a year that will live long in the memory of the Exile Nation.
2021/22 has seen the team play in front of fans at the Brentford Community Stadium for the first full campaign, including a novel St. Patrick’s Party back in the capital.
The team reached an EPCR Challenge Cup quarter-final, the Premiership Rugby Cup final and an eighth-place finish to qualify for the Heineken Champions Cup for the first time in over a decade.
The Club have reflected on the season through the social media series 'The Rewind', with all four episodes featured below.
Here’s how the boys in green made history, through the lens of a quantitative outlook.
In the 2021/22 season, Irish amassed their highest points per game (PPG) outside of a playoff finish since the bonus points scoring system was introduced in 2000/01, the third most overall.
The highest rugby crowd recorded at the Brentford Community Stadium was 15,085-, when Irish hosted Northampton Saints in the first St. Patrick’s Party fixture with fans since the move back into the capital.
EPCR Challenge Cup- quarter-final exit vs RC Toulounnais, 8th May 2022
The Club’s pool stage meeting against Saracens was the first meeting of the sides on the continental stage.
After amassing 12 points in the pool stages, it was only third ever time Irish have qualified for back-to-back knockout stages in a pool stage European competition.
The quarter-final tie against RC Toulonnais this year was the first knockout European game on French soil for Irish since 2004/05 Challenge Cup against Auch.
A 64-27 win against Castres Olympique in the Round of 16 was the highest score amassed by a side in Challenge Cup knockouts proper since Borders (107) and Béziers (69) hauls against AA Coimbra and Petrarca Padova in the second leg of Round 1 of the 2004/05, where the Challenge Cup operated in an exclusive knockout format for a three-season period.
The result was the highest in a pool stage/ knockout tie structure since Montferrand’s haul of 66 against fellow side Dax in 1998.
The Exiles scored the fifth-most tries in the Challenge Cup this term with 24, trailing Edinburgh Rugby’s 31, and were also fifth-most metres gained with 3,683, trailing Lyon’s 6,085.
Agustín Creevy was tied second for tries scored with four, trailing fellow countryman, Gloucester Rugby’s Santiago Socino with 5.
Paddy Jackson finished tied third in most conversions with 12, trailing Emiliano Boffelli and Owen Farrell with 15 each and Adam Hastings’ 13.
Premiership Rugby Cup- final loss against Worcester Warriors, 17th May 2022
This season was the first time Irish have amassed three consecutive wins in a cup competition as a Premiership side since the 2002 Powergen Cup win.
London Irish reached their first domestic cup final as a Premiership side in 20 years when they hosted Worcester Warriors at the Brentford Community Stadium.
Declan Kidney’s men equalled Northampton Saints’ record of the most points scored by a team in the knockout stages since the Premiership Rugby Cup rebranding when they defeated Leicester Tigers 59-20 in the semi-final.
Paddy Jackson, Rory Jennings and Noel Reid were all in top 10 of scorers with 20 points each in the tournament this year.
Gallagher Premiership- eighth-place finish
London Irish win against Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park back in October was their first of the season- the Exiles would go on to complete their first league double over Exeter since 2010/11 with an 18-14 win in the reverse fixture.
In their encounter with the Devon-based side, the Club boasted four of highest tacklers in Round 6; Tom Pearson (25), Matt Rogerson (24), and Ollie Hoskins and Will Goodrick-Clarke (21)
Saracens 34-34 London Irish- a 27-point comeback in the final quarter was one of the biggest turnarounds in the regular season of the Premiership Rugby.
A 22-19 win in over Harlequins at the Stoop extended a four-match unbeaten run in the Premiership away from home against Irish’s west London rivals.
It took until February until Irish walked away empty handed from a game, against Gloucester Rugby at Kingsholm- it would happen only three more times this season against Leicester Tigers at Mattioli Woods Welford Road, and against Northampton Saints and Harlequins at home.
Irish took their first win at Bristol in 13 years, and what a win it was! A six-try, 49-32 triumph at Ashton Gate saw Paddy Jackson pick up a round-high 24 points and Tom Pearson bag his first Premiership try.
It was the first time points were picked up away to Sale Sharks since 2011 when the boys in green fought back to ensure one of their five draws in the league season, finishing 27-all at the AJ Bell Stadium.
A seven-try, 43-12 win over Worcester Warriors at the BCS in March saw the hosts earn their first four-game winning streak at home since 2011.
From October 30th to March 26th, London Irish were unbeaten at home in all competitions.
When Irish returned all five points against Newcastle Falcons in April, it was the Club’s first win away to Falcons in eight years, and their first league double over the North-East outfit in 11 seasons.
The highest-scoring draw in Premiership history saw Irish come back from a 25-point deficit in the final 13 minutes of action in west London when Irish hosted Wasps- it also confirmed Irish’s fifth stalemate of the season, yet another Premiership record.
A memorable campaign, filled with highs and lows, saw the Exiles qualify for the Heineken Champions Cup for the first time in 11 seasons.
Journey to the Heineken Champions Cup- London Irish’s Premiership season in review
Irish scored 660 points in the Gallagher Premiership last season- it was the sixth-highest points scored in the league.
The Club scored 40 more tries in the 2021/22 season compared to the season before, with a total of 93 the fourth-most tries scored in the league.
Last season was the highest number of tries in the Premiership era for the Club– 2022 (93), 2021 (53), 2020 (50), nearest highest totals include 2009 (64), 2000 (63), 1999 (75).
Irish lead in tries (32) and points (216) scored in the final 20 minutes of games in the Premiership, with Irish’s highest percentage share of points scored comes in the final 20 minutes of games (32.7%).
With 52.1%, the Exiles had the second-highest possession in the league behind Exeter Chiefs with 55.5%.
London Irish had the third-highest territory percentage (52.5%) behind Leicester Tigers’ and Exeter Chiefs’ 53.9%.
Boasting the third-highest carry metres (18,394) behind Bristol Bears 18,754 and Exeter Chiefs’ 19,173, London Irish’s haul beats highest any other total by any other side in previous nine campaigns.
Division wide, London Irish were sixth in clean breaks (124), third in defenders beaten (556) behind Saracens’ 564 and Exeter Chiefs’ 571 (increase of 187 from last year’s 369) and top five in offloads (177).
Executing a total of 4,027 passes throughout the campaign, Irish trailed only Bristol Bears’ (4,043) and Exeter Chiefs (4,275)- it was Irish’s highest since Irish’s return to the Premiership.
Irish had the third-highest maul win percentage in the Premiership with 93.7%, just behind Sale Sharks’ 95.7% and Saracens’ 94.4%.
The Exiles were ranked first in attacking ruck speed at an average of 3.24 secs, second in amount of attacking rucks three seconds and below with 1433 to Exeter Chiefs’ 1,589, with the next highest haul to Irish’s is Saracens 1,107.
Irish had the second highest tackle success rate (79.8%), second only to Saracens’ 80.4%.
14 try saving tackles saw Irish have the fifth most in league.
120 turnovers won overall (53 by tackles) is joint-third highest overall alongside Gloucester, Northampton Saints and Saracens, Irish also had the joint-third least amount of penalties from tackles (52) alongside Wasps.
The Exiles had the third-least number of penalties conceded with 252.
The Club were fourth in the league for tries scored originating from turnovers (16), with the second-highest percentage share of Irish’s tries originating from turnovers (17.2%).
The Exiles had the fourth-least kicks from hand in the league (513) and kick metres (17,313), with the least number of short kicks from hand (234).
With Bristol Bears leading the way with eight, London Irish executed two 50:22 kicks in the first season of their use.
The west Londoners had the second-least amount of kicking errors in the Premiership with 12 to Exeter Chiefs’ 10.
In comparisons to the last three campaigns and relative to only their performances, Irish have taken the least amount of penalty kicks last season- 2022 (21), 2021 (42), 2020 (29)
Irish are one of only four teams to not outright lose any of their own scrums in the Premiership.
Most of Irish’s scrum wins have arrived between their own 22 and halfway, with 28 scrums won in the area over the course of the year.
In the 2021/22 Gallagher Premiership, Irish had the second-least amount of penalties conceded from scrums with 30 and the least amount of penalties conceded from opposition scrums with 16.
The Exile pack are joint-second in the league in tries originating from scrums with 11, accompanied with Exeter Chiefs at the same number and trailing Harlequins who had 12.
Only Leicester (354), Saracens (301), Northampton Saints (294) and Harlequins (286) have won more of their own lineouts cleanly than Irish, who have taken 283 clean lineouts over the course of the season and top those outside the play-offs.
Only Wasps (10) and Worcester Warriors (12) have had less clean own lineout losses in the Premiership than London Irish (15).
Most of London Irish’s clean lineout wins have arrived between the halfway line and the opposition 22 with 107 takes, naturally closely followed by the opposition 22 with 105.
The Exiles’ highest success rate in the lineout comes at the front, with 94.8% success rate from near throw lineouts this term in the Gallagher Premiership.
Irish retained the fourth-highest attacking lineout win percentage (90.3%) in the division and fifth-most effective attacking lineouts in the Premiership with 294 (highest effective lineout count outside of play-off Clubs).
The Club also had the fourth-lowest attacking lineouts lost % with 9.7%.
The highest percentage share of Irish’s tries originate from lineouts (53.8%), and are fourth in tries originating from lineouts (50) league-wide.
El Puma- Agustín Creevy
The Argentine’s 14 tries ranked him fourth overall in the Premiership, amassing an incredible 70 points to elevate him to 21st in the Premiership in points scored.
His 157 carries ranked him 23rd in the league.
Defensively, Creevy was joint 22nd in the league in breakdown steals with 8, 24th in Premiership in attacking ruck arrivals with 327, and in the top 15 in defensive ruck arrivals with 121.
The Engine Room
Rob Simmons had 383 attacking ruck arrivals, which was sixth-most in the Premiership.
Adam Coleman took 65 lineouts last season, which was joint 17th in the Premiership, and also stole seven lineouts (joint ninth in Premiership).
Simmons’ own 105 lineout takes ranked him sixth in Premiership overall, accompanied by four lineout steals (joint 19th in Premiership), having played 1,438 minutes in the Premiership (only bettered by Paddy Jackson, Benhard Janse van Rensburg and Curtis Rona at Irish).
Back of the pack
Tom Pearson made 19 first team appearances alone in his first season in green, with three tries.
Matt Rogerson finished 23rd overall in the Premiership in successful tackles with 193, which was the most successful tackles for Irish this season.
Juan Martín González made the most dominant tackles for London Irish this season with 8.
In his first team debut, Pearson made the most tackles in Round 6 of the Gallagher Premiership (25) and contributed to the Club's first win that season over Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park.
Rogerson ranked in the top 30 players in the Premiership in carries with 152, and seventh in attacking ruck arrivals (380).
Pearson made the most tackle breaks (26) and offloads (8) in Irish's forward players in the 2021/22 Premiership, with his 59 defensive ruck arrivals in the top five amongst the Exiles pack that year.
Paddy Jackson retained the second-most points in the 2021/22 Gallagher Premiership with 200 points, the highest points total in last decade for Irish (2022 (Jackson, 200), 2021 (Jackson, 177), 2018 (Tommy Bell, 117), 2015 (Shane Geraghty, 164), 2014 (James O’Connor, 100).
Nick Phipps made the second-most passes in the league with 1478, and had the most passes in any Premiership game this season in Round 5 against Gloucester Rugby with 103.
The Irishman was in the top 10 in kicks and kicking metres (eighth in kicks with 162, sixth in kicking metres with 5835) and third in the Premiership in minutes played with 1,758.
The scrum-half was the highest passer of the round on 10 occasions (Round 5, 6, 8, 10, 14, 15, 20, 21, 23, 25).
‘Our love was on the wing…’- Ollie Hassell-Collins and Kyle Rowe
Ollie Hassell-Collins was one of only 13 players to manage double figure try hauls in the Premiership this year with 10 scores.
Kyle Rowe conversely scored 8 tries in the Premiership in his first season at the Club, ranking him in the top 20 in the Premiership.
The 23-year-old winger was second behind Harlequins’ Cadan Murley’s 23 in clean breaks with 22, and with 63 defenders beaten, was positioned ninth overall in the league.
The Scottish international made 10 clean breaks and beat 48 defenders also, a top 20 statistic in the Premiership.
Hassell-Collins was in the top four in metres gained (1761), and in the top 20 of players in respect of carries made with 168.
‘Centre of attention’- Curtis Rona and Benhard Janse van Rensburg:
Van Rensburg finished in the top 10 players in metres gained with 1503, 17th in the Premiership with 50 defenders beaten and joint-ninth with 20 offloads.
Curtis Rona dotted down four times and made 13 clean breaks (joint 20th in Premiership), finishing 14th in metres gained (1402) with 167 carries (20th in the Premiership).
His 205 carries (11th in Premiership) saw van Rensburg make 1,503 metres, which was eighth in the league whilst also registering 11 clean breaks.
Rona had the second-most offloads in the Premiership with 29 to Saracen Billy Vunipola’s 32, beating 47 defenders (joint 22nd in the Premiership).
10 breakdown steals for van Rensburg were the highest for Irish and led him to finish joint 16th in Premiership, the second highest in backs behind compatriot Andre Esterhuizen’s 14.
The South African was 22nd in minutes played in the league with 1,529, with his 167 successful tackles only bettered by Matt Rogerson (193) at the Club.
Discovery of the Season
Henry Arundell boasts the best try to game ratio for London Irish this season amongst backs (7 tries, 14 appearances)- only Agustín Creevy beats him (18 tries, 25 appearances) across the whole squad.
After a record-breaking season, become part of something special at the Brentford Community Stadium next year with a Season Ticket, available to purchase here.