30 May 2022
The Club can today announce the players that will depart London Irish following the conclusion of the 2021/22 season.
Albert Tuisue leaves Irish after making 72 appearances and scoring 25 times in the green jersey since joining in January 2019.
Nick Phipps, part of the leadership group, is set to pursue a new opportunity abroad, with the Australia international having taken to the field 65 times for the Exiles.
Versatile forward George Nott is set to head to Wales to test himself in the United Rugby Championship with Dragons. Nott made 62 appearances for the Club during his time at Hazelwood.
Centre Terrence Hepetema will wrap up his time at London Irish and head to France with Grenoble next season. Hepetema, who played an important role in the Exiles’ promotion push in 2018/19, made 54 outings for London Irish.
Steve Mafi joined London Irish for the 2019/20 campaign and departs this summer after making 45 appearances in the Exiles shirt. The Tonga international scored seven tries during his time in London.
Scotland international Allan Dell’s time with the Club is set to end this summer after playing 41 times in all competitions for London Irish.
Seán O’Brien’s glittering rugby career ends at London Irish after the Ireland international announced that he was retiring from professional rugby at the end of this season.
Prop Marcel van der Merwe made 26 appearances during the 2021/22 campaign and will depart the Exiles.
Phil Cokanasiga will head to Leicester Tigers to continue his rugby career, with the centre making 17 outings for the Club following his progression through the London Irish Academy.
Rory Brand has returned to Scotland to play in the Scottish Super 6 with Watsonian FC. The scrum-half, a product of the London Irish Academy, made 11 appearances during his time with Irish.
Cillian Redmond joined London Irish for the 2021/22 season and is now set to leave the Club having scored twice in the Premiership Rugby Cup and European Rugby Challenge Cup, both against Saracens.
Academy duo George Davis and Theo Smerdon have both announced their retirement from professional rugby on medical advice. They head into retirement with the full support of the Club and will always be welcome at Hazelwood. Another Academy duo of Rory Morgan and Marcus Rhodes will also depart the Club, with both youngsters set to focus on their studies at university.
Noel Reid, Olly Cracknell, Jamie Dever, Tadgh McElroy and Alandré van Rooyen all joined the Club throughout the 2021/22 campaign as injury dispensation cover and now depart with the Club’s gratitude following the end of their short-term deals.
“The players departing the Club leave with our thanks for everything that they have contributed to London Irish, both on and off the field,” said Declan Kidney, Director of Rugby.
“With 37 first XV games played this season, it’s been a whole squad effort to get through over 3,000 minutes of rugby. There have been ups and downs, but this squad has stuck together through thick and thin and will come out the stronger for it. That is a testament to who they are as people, and it has been an absolute pleasure to work with every one of them.
“On behalf of everyone at London Irish, I would like to wish all the best to the departing players, staff and their families for the future. Like anybody leaving London Irish, they are always welcome at the Club.”
Albert Tuisue, Nick Phipps, George Nott, Terrence Hepetema, Steve Mafi, Allan Dell, Seán O’Brien, Marcel van der Merwe, Phil Cokanasiga, Rory Brand, Cillian Redmond.
Injury dispensation cover:
Olly Cracknell, Noel Reid, Jamie Dever, Tadgh McElroy and Alandré van Rooyen.
Theo Smerdon, Marcus Rhodes, Rory Morgan, and George Davis.