26 July 2021
Head Coach, Les Kiss, admits he has been comforted by the speed and ease in which the Club’s summer signings have settled into the London Irish squad.
As the Exiles prepare to embark on the second week of their pre-season campaign, Kiss has spoken positively of how the new crop of Irish players have embraced life at Hazelwood.
“The opening weeks of pre-season are a crucial time for the new players we’ve added to the squad in the summer,” he said, “both in terms of getting to know the boys and the staff, and also our strategies and the systems.
“In terms of the latter, I managed to speak to all of the new guys during the summer months, be it in person or across Zoom - to discuss everything we’re about in terms of our rugby strategy and tactics, our skills, how we move around the pitch and everything else that’s entailed with being a London Irish player.
“It makes it more comfortable for the players, to bed in quicker once they’re in the building. It still doesn’t happen automatically, until the guys are actually out on the grass, but it helps that transitional period.”
He added: “The new guys have all slotted in well. I had a chat with Paddy (Jackson) earlier and he was of the same opinion as me, that they’ve all settled in well and they’re embracing what we’re about.
“The best place you represent yourself as a player is the locker room, the second place is on the pitch - they’ve started well in both respects.
“The guys enjoyed their first week - and we’re excited to have them all with us.”
After a tough first week - in temperatures touching 30 degrees - the Irish players will be grateful that the heatwave seems to have relented temporarily, but the hard graft will continue, as Kiss explained.
“Week two is all about managing the load, and taking further steps up the ladder - increasing the intensity and volume that the guys have to work towards,” he said.
“Ben Cousins (Sports Scientist) will ensure we’ve got all the relevant data from week one, so we know exactly where each individual is - and Rob Palmer (Head of Strength & Conditioning) will be ensuring know how to manage the load both in the gym and out on the pitch.
“Some of that will vary from individual to individual and group to group - our first year Academy players for example, won’t do the same as some of our seasoned professionals. We have to manage those things, to ensure injury prevention.”