In the first of a regular feature on our dual registered players, Skills Coach Paul Hodgson updates us on the progress of promising scrum-half Rory Brand and pays tribute to a series of Academy products who featured for London Irish at the weekend.

Rory Brand

Age: 18

Dual Registered Club: Rosslyn Park

Height: 5ft 6”

Weight: 12st 1lb

Birthplace: Glasgow

School: Wellington College

Local Club: Galashiels RFC

Hodgson’s Verdict: “Rory has been with Rosslyn Park this season and has played a key role in their recent upturn in fortune, which has led to them steering clear of the foot of the National League 1 table.

“He played in the narrow 31-24 home defeat to Birmingham Moseley at the weekend. To play in National League 1 aged just 18 is testament to his maturity and he certainly has a bright future in the game.

“He toured South Africa with England Under-18’s during the summer and I can see him pushing for a call-up to the England Under-20’s squad for their Six Nations campaign.

“He’s had an unusual route into the game having spent time with Salford Red Devils Rugby League Club, before crossing codes to join Sale Sharks and then fortunate for us, a move to the London Irish Academy.

“Rory has game-breaking ability and continues to work hard on his core skills which are improving week on week. He thoroughly merited an extension to his contract last week and I’m looking forward to seeing more from him in a London Irish jersey.”

Jacob Atkins (Redingensians), Tom Parton (Henley RFC) and Jack Cooke (London Irish Wild Geese) all played for the Exiles first team in Saturday’s 25-14 bonus-point triumph against an Ospreys Premiership Select XV. The trio are in line for more game time this weekend when Connacht Eagles visit the Madejski Stadium.

Hodgson added: “To have eight Academy products playing on Saturday was fantastic for the club and highlights the great work that all of our coaching staff have put in at Hazelwood.

“It is important that they continue to develop as players and the game time that many of them will experience in the lower leagues will set them in good stead for the future.”

Following the British and Irish Cup break, we will check in on the progress of a number of our young talent who return to their respective dual registered clubs.

London Irish welcome Connacht Eagles to the Madejski Stadium this Saturday 22nd October (kick-off 3pm) in what will be the second round of the British and Irish Cup - click here to get tickets now or call our ticket hotline on 0118 968 1016.

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