London Irish has announced the squad to welcome Northampton Saints to The Stoop on Saturday for Round 15 of the Gallagher Premiership, live on BT Sport 3 and Channel 5 (kick-off 2pm).
The Exiles have included six graduates from the club’s Academy in the starting XV, a testament of the hard work that goes in behind-the-scenes. Jack Cooke, Theo Brophy Clews, Matt Williams, Ollie Hassell-Collins, Ben Loader and Tom Homer all start in the Exiles’ second match back after the restart.
Allan Dell and Ollie Hoskins start either side of the front row, with Matt Cornish rewarded with his first start for the club after impressing from the replacements last weekend. George Nott and Sebastian de Chaves combine in the second row.
Jack Cooke is named at blindside flanker and Blair Cowan at openside flanker, the latter captaining the side. Albert Tuisue retains his place in the number 8 jersey.
Ben Meehan partners Paddy Jackson in the halfbacks and Theo Brophy Clews and Matt Williams form the centre partnership.
Ollie Hassell-Collins and Ben Loader are named on the wings, with Tom Homer, making his first appearance since re-joining the club, at full-back.
“We are excited for our first run-out at The Stoop since announcing it as our home venue for the remainder of the 2019/20 season” said Declan Kidney, Director of Rugby.
“We know that it will be a tough match, Northampton play a free-flowing brand of rugby that is tricky to stop. The squad know the challenge that awaits them, but they are looking forward to testing themselves against a very good Northampton side, who we caught with the last play of the game in the reverse fixture.”
15 Tom Homer, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Matt Williams, 12 Theo Brophy Clews, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ben Meehan, 1 Allan Dell, 2 Matt Cornish, 3 Ollie Hoskins, 4 George Nott, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Jack Cooke, 7 Blair Cowan ©, 8 Albert Tuisue.
16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Will Goodrick-Clarke, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Ben Donnell, 20 TJ Ioane, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Jacob Atkins, 23 Ross Neal
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