17 August 2016
Topsy Ojo and Theo Brophy Clews will assist with coaching the London Irish Academy as the club continues its commitment to developing youth.
The Academy which has thrived in recent years, will benefit from the expertise of the duo, both having graduated from the Exiles’ production line.
Ojo, 31, and Brophy Clews, 19, will dedicate their time to fine tuning the fresh talent coming through the Academy ranks at Hazelwood.
Joining the Academy in 2003, Ojo made his first team debut against Wasps in October 2005 and has since gone on to become an established member of the London Irish backline and the club’s record try scorer. London Irish coursing through his veins, the former England international made his 250th appearance for the Exiles last term and has reaffirmed his commitment to continuing his journey with the club.
“It’s great to be able to give something back to the Academy, a system that served me extremely well as a youngster,” said Ojo.
“London Irish has a rich history when it comes to producing local talent and I am delighted to be assisting with helping the next generation of Exiles realise their ambition of pulling on the green jersey,” he added.
Meanwhile, Brophy Clews burst onto the professional scene last season to make his Exiles debut after impressing Academy chiefs. Under the tutelage of David Wicks and Peter Coke at Abingdon School, the promising fly-half captained his side in the Daily Mail Trophy before showcasing his talent with England Under-18s during the Six Nations.
A product of Berkshire Rugby, Brophy Clews featured in England Under-20s’ World Championship opener this summer. However, injury prevented him from taking part in the Red Rose’s road to the final where they defeated Ireland 45-21.
“The club gave me the opportunity to break through to the first team last season and I will always be thankful for that,” said Brophy Clews.
“Pulling on the London Irish jersey is a special feeling and it meant a lot to me – I want to help where possible, the development of the Academy players,” added Brophy Clews.
Director of Rugby Nick Kennedy, who continues to oversee Academy operations, is delighted to have the two senior figures on board with the nurturing of youth.
He said: “I’ve known Topsy since he was 18 and Theo for the best part of three years and I’m really looking forward to having them work with the Academy..
“Having both come through the system, they know exactly what it takes to become a first team player for London Irish. I’m sure they will ensure the Academy ethos rubs off on the players as well as assisting with their skillset.”