TEAM NEWS: Nalaga returns to first team affairs for cup trip

Napolioni Nalaga starts for London Irish as they open up their Championship Cup account at Hartpury RFC tomorrow (kick-off 1pm). 

The Champions Cup-winning winger returns to first team duties a year on from injuring his arm against Newcastle Falcons in the Premiership, and is a welcome addition to the starting XV having enjoyed some game time during a series of friendlies in recent months.

Nalaga is part of a new-look backline that sees Theo Brophy Clews and Tom Fowlie combining at inside and outside centre respectively, while Exiles academy product Ollie Hassell-Collins retains his place on the right wing. 

Brendan McKibbin gets the nod at scrum-half, the Aussie partnering fly-half Stephen Myler at the heart of the Exiles’ backline with Greig Tonks occupying the full-back berth. 

Lovejoy Chawatama is handed his first start of the season at tighthead and packs down alongside former Wallaby hooker Saia Fainga’a and loosehead Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi. 

Barney Maddison and Sebastian De Chaves provide industry in the engine room, with Irishman Conor Gilsenan, Max Northcote-Green and Matt Rogerson starting in the back-row. 

Replacement scrum-half Scott Steele is set to make his 99th appearance for Irish off the bench, the Dumfries-born playmaker undoubtedly itching to hit the century mark. 

The Exiles have been pitted with Hartpury, Bedford Blues and Cornish Pirates in Group 2 of the competition.

Group 2 fixtures:-

Sat 10 Nov Hartpury RFC v London Irish (kick-off 3pm)

Sun 18 Nov London Irish v Cornish Pirates (kick-off 3pm)

Sun 25 Nov London Irish v Bedford Blues (kick-off 3pm)

Sat 1 Dec Bedford Blues v London Irish (kick-off 3pm)

Sun 9 Dec London Irish v Hartpury RFC (kick-off 3pm)

Sat 15 Dec Cornish Pirates v London Irish (kick-off 2pm)

Tickets for all home fixtures can be purchased at or call 0118 968 1016. 

Following the pool stage, the quarter-finals are scheduled to be played on the weekend 1-3 February, the semi-finals on the weekend 22-24 February, and the final on Saturday the 4 May.

London Irish: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 13 Tom Fowlie, 12 Theo Brophy Clews, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Brendan McKibbin (c), 1 Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 3 Lovejoy Chawatama, 4 Barney Maddison, 5 Sebastian De Chaves, 6 Conor Gilsenan, 7 Max Northcote-Green, 8 Matt Rogerson

Replacements: 16 Dave Porecki, 17 Ollie Hoskins, 18 Jake Schatz, 19 Jack Cooke, 20 Scott Steele, 21 Jacob Atkins, 22 Matt Williams 



Ad Space