5 August 2017
London Irish have confirmed their squad ahead of the 2017/18 Aviva Premiership season.
The Exiles welcome 11 new faces to the club including Scotland international Gordon Reid, double European Rugby Champions Cup winner Petrus Du Plessis and Fijian international winger Napolioni Nalaga.
Georgian international Lasha Lomidze and Super Rugby winner Jake Schatz bolster the back row, while Samoan international prop Manasa Saulo, and Australian capped hooker Saia Fainga’a compete for a place in the front row.
Giant lock Teofilo Paulo and versatile back Luke McLean both join from Benetton Treviso, with scrum-half Ben Meehan arriving from Super Rugby outfit Melbourne Rebels. Former Gloucester hooker Darren Dawidiuk augments the front row having made 145 appearances for the Cherry and Whites.
Director of rugby Nick Kennedy has also added to his backroom set-up with the appointment of kicking coach Charlie Hodgson, scrum coach Matthew Ferguson and psychologist Mike Roberts.
Capped 38 times by England, all-time record Premiership top points scorer Charlie Hodgson brings a wealth of experience to the coaching roster, while current England Women and former London Welsh assistant coach Ferguson joins the club with immediate effect.
Kennedy continues to be flanked by technical director Brendan Venter, forwards coach George Skivington, defence coach Declan Danaher and attack coach Paul Hodgson.
Irish kick-off their Aviva Premiership campaign against Harlequins in the London Double Header on 2 September at Twickenham, with Kennedy pleased with the way his squad is taking shape.
“We’re really looking forward to the challenge of playing in the Aviva Premiership and the lads are working extremely hard to get themselves ready for the start of the season,” said Kennedy, who spent more than a decade as a player at Irish.
“We know how competitive the Premiership will be and are working to be at our very best week in, week out.
“Our supporters were fantastic last season and I know they will be even more vocal with their unwavering support up and down the country this campaign.”
INS: Darren Dawidiuk (Gloucester Rugby), Petrus Du Plessis (Saracens), Saia Fainga’a (Brumbies), Lasha Lomidze (Krasny Yar), Ben Meehan (Melbourne Rebels), Luke McLean (Benetton Treviso), Napolioni Nalaga (Lyon), Teofilo Paulo (Benetton Treviso), Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors), Manasa Saulo (Toulon), Jake Schatz (Melbourne Rebels)
OUTS: Tom Court (Retired), Darren Allinson, Gerrard Ellis, Tevita Koloamatangi, Luke Narraway, George Robson, Jerry Sexton, Jebb Sinclair, Joe Trayfoot
London Irish 2017/18 squad
Sebastian De Chaves
Petrus Du Plessis
Max Northcote Green
Theo Brophy Clews