16 August 2017
London Irish have named a 30-man squad for this Friday’s pre-season clash with Ealing Trailfinders at Hazelwood (kick-off 7.30pm).
The Exiles have made 10 changes to the starting team against Harlequins last Saturday, as preparations for the start of the season at the traditional London Double Header gather pace.
Scotland international Gordon Reid and double World Cup-winning All Black Ben Franks get the nod at loosehead and tighthead respectively alongside hooker Dave Porecki.
Second row Will Lloyd gets his chance to shine from the start, partnering last season’s Players’ Player of the Year Sebastian De Chaves in the engine room.
Conor Gilsenan starts at openside flanker with fellow back rows Mike Coman and Ofisa Treviranus.
Scrum-half Ben Meehan, one of 11 new recruits this summer, forms an exciting half-back partnership with James Marshall at the heart of Irish’s backline. Luke McLean and Ciaran Hearn are the new pairing in the centres, while wing Alex Lewington and full-back Tommy Bell retain their places. Ben Ransom provides pace on the wing.
With 15 players on the bench, including five new signings and the returning Aseli Tikoirotuma, Exiles’ director of rugby Nick Kennedy is looking to utilise the full range of his squad.
“I was pleased with our display against Harlequins last weekend and there was much to be encouraged about,” said Kennedy.
“At this stage it’s all about improving our fitness and match sharpness week in week out so that we’re ready for the first game of the season.
“I’ve been impressed with how quickly our new signings have fitted in to the team ethos and everyone is looking forward to Friday’s game.”
Irish take on an Ealing side that ended last campaign strongly to earn themselves a place in the end of season play-offs. Expecting a stern test from Ben Ward’s men, Kennedy added: “Ealing were our toughest game last season and this season they are genuine contenders to win the league so it promises to be a hard-fought game on Friday.”
London Irish: 15 Tommy Bell, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Ciaran Hearn, 12 Luke McLean, 11 Ben Ransom, 10 James Marshall, 9 Ben Meehan, 1 Gordon Reid, 2 Dave Porecki, 3 Ben Franks (c), 4 Will Lloyd, 5 Sebastian De Chaves, 6 Mike Coman, 7 Conor Gilsenan, 8 Ofisa Treviranus
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, 18 Petrus Du Plessis, 19 Josh McNally, 20 Jake Schatz, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Greig Tonks, 23 Lasha Lomidze, 24 Blair Cowan, 25 Senitiki Nayalo, 26 Napolioni Nalaga, 27 Fergus Mulchrone, 28 Matt Williams, 29 Topsy Ojo, 30 Aseli Tikoirotuma
Tickets for the game are priced at £5 for adults and free for under-16s and can be purchased by clicking here. The deadline for advanced ticket sales is 5pm on Thursday 17 August. After this tickets can be purchased for cash on the gate from 6pm on Friday.