Darren Allinson, the scrum half for the Aviva Premiership Rugby Union side the London Irish is relishing the competition for places in the starting lineup with the no. 9 jersey, following the acquisition of Tomas O’Leary by the club in the off season.
The 24 year old, however, is no stranger to having stiff competition for a place in the starting lineup, having faced a similar situation during his stint with the Cardiff Blues as well as two year spell with the Reading based side.
Last season was, however, the making of the scrum half Allinson as he made the place his own for the first time in his professional rugby career, albeit aided by a serious head injury sustained by Paul Hodgson, the stalwart for the club.
When Hodgson left the club in off season to sign for fellow Aviva Premiership side Worcester Rugby, many thought that Allinson would hold on to his place as the first choice scrum half for the London Irish. But the arrival of O’Leary from Munster means that he will have to fight to make his place in the starting lineup a permanent one.
Allinson started 20 games for The Exiles last season and speaking about the arrival of a competitor for his place in side, he stated that he and O’Leary had been working very closely together since he arrived at the club. According to Allinson, O’Leary is very similar to the departed Hodgson as far as experience is concerned and added that like Hodgson, he also brings unique ideas to the table.
He went on to add that he enjoyed his rivalry for a starting place with Hodgson last year but there was no bad blood and competition for places will only benefit the London Irish in the long drawn Aviva Premiership.