O’Shea has sympathy for London Irish

Conor O’Shea, the Harlequins director of rugby, stated that he has lot of sympathy towards his ex club London Irish for their present plight.

On Saturday, Conor leads Harlequins into a European Challenge Cup quarter-final against Exiles.

The Irish stay at the bottom of the Premiership table by 4 points, along with 3 matches left to play. Speaking to BBC Sport, he told that he love that club. He presently does not want to see them go down. Harlequins might play a pivotal role in Irish’s fate between now and the season’s end as they get ready to confront them in both cup and league.

O’Shea, who will leave The Stoop in the summer to take responsibility of Italy, has a link with London Irish which extends to ex player, managing director and director of rugby. The 45 year old said that he came over to the club in 1995 to get that up into the top division and he has been there ever since!

He spent a lot of time with Irish and he wanted them to get out of where they are at this point of time and avoid the drop. But, the Challenge Cup is a contest where they could relax and give that a crack and probably come in with no expectation. It should be a fantastic match, with tickets still available for fans via this link, with prices ranging from £30 all the way up to £1000 for hospitality packages.

O’Shea has set his eyes on regaining the European title that he first won along with Quins in 2011. He told that at the beginning of the season, there is just 2 trophies they could win, this one and the Premiership.

Sharks sign Josh Charnley in cross-code move

Josh Charnley will be a part of Sale Sharks, the Premiership rugby union club, after switching from rugby league team Wigan Warriors at Super League season’s end.

Twenty-four year old Charnley has helped Wigan becoming winner in a Super League Grand Final as well as 2 Challenge Cups since joining in the year 2010.

Steve Diamond, the director of rugby, told that Josh is a great signing. Everyone he has spoken to rates him very highly. In the meantime, Wigan centre Dan Sarginson would join NRL side Gold Coast Titans in the coming season.

Charnley, who has taken part in 7matches for England, registered a hat-trick in his most recent game for the Warriors – Monday’s 30-16 victory against Hull KR. He has racked up 148 tries and quetched 94 goals in hundred-fifty-two matches for previous season’s Super League finalists.

Diamond told that he has explosive pace and could play either full-back or on the wing. The last big signing they made from Wigan, back in the year 2000, was Jason Robinson and what an impact he had. Wigan attempted to keep both Sarginson and Charnley by offering them new contracts, said Warriors chairman Ian Lenagan.

He added that they offered Josh a new long-term deal that would put him up there with the top earners at the club. However, having won a lot at Wigan, he feels that the time is right to take on an all new challenge.

London Irish signs Scottish international Cross

Aviva Premiership Rugby Football Union club the London Irish have confirmed the signing of Scottish international tight head prop Geoff Cross ahead of the new season of the Aviva Premiership on a two year contract as the club looks to build a squad capable of fighting and qualifying for the European competitions.

The 30 year old has been signed from the Scottish side Edinburgh and has made 130 appearances for the club during his stint with the club, scoring six tries for the team.
Cross has also been a regular international for the Scotland Rugby Team and has amassed 28 caps for the side and was also selected for the recently concluded Six Nations Championship where he started twice.

Brian Smith, the Director of Rugby of the London Irish stated that it will be a huge boost for the club to have managed the signing of a player of the talents and experience of Geoff Cross. He went on to add that he is a genuine tight head prop with an international caliber behind him and he also performed exceptionally well during the recently concluded Six Nations Championships where he was one of the players who stood out among a side that underperformed greatly.

Smith stated that the team will have a lot of competition for front row positions during the new season and this healthy competition will only benefit the squad and the players.

Cross himself hailed his move south of the border and added that he excited to be playing in the Aviva Premiership, which is one of the most competitive and best leagues in the world in the new season. He also mentioned that leaving Edinburgh was a tough choice but the chance to play for the London Irish in the Premiership was too good to pass up.

London Irish cannot afford a drain of talent

Aviva Premiership Rugby Football Union club the London Irish must never allow a lack of ambition on part of the club to spark a mass exodus of their star players, according to Brian Smith, the Director of Rugby of the club.

Mick Crossan, the boss of Powerday, helped secure the long term future of the club recently with the chief of the waste management company leading a takeover of the board that will see fresh investment come into the club.

And the team Smith believes that the new direction that the club is now on has been quickly underpinned by their success in securing the services of mainstays of the team to long term deals, including Shane Geraghty and George Skivington.

Last summer, the case was quite the opposite with four home grown London Irish opting against renewing their contracts at the club to secure moves to Bath Rugby and join up with former coaches Neal Hatley and Toby Booth.

And Smith, a former attacks coach for the England national team has vehemently stated that the team cannot afford any more drain of talent like the one seen last season. Marland Yarde, the England international winger is out of contract in the summer and the Exiles already have had several meetings with his agents to try and tie him up to a new deal at the club.

Smith stated that he would like to think that there would be no repetition of what happened last season. He added that they have learned their lesson from last season and he believes that the London Irish is a club that is a lot stable both financially as well as in terms of infrastructure.

He is confident that Yarde will sign a new deal and remain at the club for the long term.

London Irish keen on retaining O’Connor and Yarde

Brian Smith, the Director of Rugby of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Football Union club the London Irish has admitted that he feels confident that England winger Marland Yarde will extend his stay at the club and has also revealed that the club is also keen on retaining the services of Australian James O’Connor beyond this current season.

O’Connor signed for the English club on a season long deal just in October and has impressed one and all since making his debut but he has also been spotted in Toulon with widespread reports claiming that he is keen on joining his international teammates Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell and the Heineken Cup champions at the end of the season.

Despite all this, Smith is confident that both Yarde and O’Connor will extend their stays at the London Irish with both of their contracts up at the end of the season.

He stated that the club is making a massive effort to keep those big guns in the back three and added that it would be immense for the club to hold on to those players and it would be like a first prize as far as the Exiles are concerned. He mentioned that he is working his socks off with the boys in training before adding that he is also the Director of Rugby and things like recruitment of players, their retention as well as squad planning has got him working 27×7.

Smith mentioned that when he first came to the club, he looked at the contract situation of Yarde who had just returned from a tour with the Under-20s, a time when he wasn’t on the radar of Stuart Lancaster but he managed to spot his talent and kept him at the club adding the London Irish excel in youth development.

London Irish looking to end away day blues

Brian Smith, the Director of Rugby of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Football Union club the London Irish has promised to see to it that his club doesn’t falter on their travels to Worcester for the second time in a row.

The last time The Exiles traveled to Worcester to take on The Warriors at the Sixways Stadium, the match had to be postponed for 45 minutes with the London side being held up in traffic. This meant that the pre-match preparations were put into complete disarray and The Exiles suffered for it as they drifted away from the game in the second half, eventually losing 35-11.

Smith is adamant of putting an end to the away day blues of the club and has also taken steps to ensure that the club reaches the opposition stadium on time for the Aviva Premiership clash against the Worcester Warriors this Saturday. The London Irish boss stated that the team will be travelling on Friday, one day before the match. He mentioned that this is a significant investment on the part of the club but admitted that it is one of the main reasons why clubs tend to do on the road – because of such a professional approach.

He stated that it is not the ideal scenario to be getting off the bus after a three-four hour journey and then try and win a Premiership rugby match. He also mentioned that those days are now long gone and admitted that it was one of the key reasons that the club got caught in away matches last season.

And speaking of their first match against Saracens FC, the London Irish boss mentioned they deserved their win but The Exiles also made it easier for them but admitted that The Warriors will not have ti so easy.

Sa keen to impress for the London Irish

Forgotten centre Seitamata Sa is keen to prove his worth to his club after playing a meager 10 minutes of rugby last season.

Having been reduced to a bit part player, many will have forgotten that the player is still on the books of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Football Union club the London Irish but the 25 year old is desperate to prove him once again and is hopeful of returning to action for The Exiles in their final friendly match of the pre-season against Irish giants Munster on the 30th of August.

Sa was signed by The Exiles from the Rugby League club the Catalan Dragons last summer and the management of the club held high hopes for the player. However, problems with his VISA application and a persistent knee injury reduced him to just one substitute appearance in the 40-14 defeat of the club against the Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens.

And after undergoing surgery to repair the damaged knee cartilage this March, Sa is slowly but steadily working his way up to full fitness and is hopeful of playing a big part this season for the London Irish. The player himself stated that he could have played a couple of more games for the club after that successful debut against The Jimmies but he decided to undergo the surgery straightaway because he felt it would be better to be fully fit for the new season and the club also agreed.

He admitted that it has been a frustrating time for him, having to hold back but hopefully this season, he will be able to come into his own for the London Irish and added that he is desperate to prove his worth to the club that kept faith in him as well as the fans of the club.

London Irish sign Hagan from Leinster

Aviva Premiership Rugby Football Union club the London Irish have announced the signing of Jamie Hagan from Leinster, the Irish provincial side, who has put pen to paper on a new three year deal with the Premiership club.

The 25 year old plays as a tight head prop forward and joined the Leinster side from school before he made the move across the Galway to sign with Connacht, where he made over 50 appearances for the club before re-signing with Leinster back in 2011.

Having joined the Leinster Academy as an 18 year old back in 2005, Hagan earned caps at all the levels – provincial as well as national through all the age groups during his stint there. He was part of that famous Under 20 Ireland national team that went on to capture the Grand Slam title back in 2007. His former club maintained a brief on his progress at Connacht and after he impressed in the league, he was re-signed in June 2011. And the London Irish is another club that had maintained a long scouting report on the player before moving for him finally.

Brian Smith, the Director of Rugby at The Exiles stated that Hagan has all the skills and talents required to become a Test player for the Ireland national team in the future. He mentioned that having played at the very top level in the Rabo Direct Pro 12; he is more than ready to play for the London Irish in the Aviva Premiership.
The player himself is also excited about making the moved across the sea to England and the Aviva Premiership and added that he just cannot wait to put on the kit of the club, which is one of the famous English clubs in his own country and England as well.

Smith moves to stop talent drain from London Irish

Brian Smith, the Director of Rugby of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Football Union club the London Irish has moved to stop another exodus of players from the club at the end of next season by tying down the key members of the squad to improved three year contracts.

The Exiles lost a host of talent at the end of last season when the likes of Nick Kennedy, Adam Thompstone, Dan Bowden and Dylan Armitage all left the club for pastures new after their respective contracts with the club expired.

Moreover, several players from the current squad of The Exiles are also expected to leave the club at the end of the current season when their contracts run out and they become free agents. Just this week, Matt Garvey announced that he will be following in the footsteps of Jonathan Joseph in swapping the London Irish for Bath Rugby while Jamie Gibson is already signed by the Leicester Tigers and Alex Corbisiero is set to join the Northampton Saints.

And although the club has lined up several replacements already, Smith doesn’t want a repeat of the situation next season and has moved to secure the services of the likes of Jamie Hagan, signed from Leinster, Blair Cowan from the Worcester Warriors and Andy Fenby signed from the Scarlets to three year deals while George Skivington and Jebb Sinclair have had their contracts at the club extended to 2016.

According to the boss man at the London Irish Brian Smith, if the club recruits well and has faith in the players recruited, they should give them a year to settle down before expecting big things from them. And if this kind of move works out, then the players will be given a further two-year extension with the club in order to stop the talent drain.

London Irish close to new signings

Aviva Premiership Rugby Football Union club the London Irish have already lined up a player to replace Jamie Gibson, their highly rated flanker who is set to leave the club at the end of the season and move to the record winners of the Aviva Premiership the Leicester Tigers.

It is expected that the club is set to announce deals to sign at least two new years over the next few days. It is also being believed that negotiations are in advanced stages with a back row forward at this very moment.

It has been reported that Gibson is leaving The Exiles to link up with his former team mates at the Welford Road club with the likes of Adam Thompstone, Dan Bowden and Richard Thorpe having already made the switch from the London Irish to the Leicester Tigers. The Tigers, as a rule, postpone any announcement of a potential player signing till the end of the season but according to the local media, they have agreed a deal with Gibson, who was part of the England squad that visited South Africa in the summer last year.

The 22 year old back row forward was not named in the squad for the Reading side ahead of last weekend’s match against the Northampton Saints before being included in the last moments. With five games remaining till the end of the season, The Exiles are not in a good position and are just five points off the relegation zone.

And according to Brian Smith, the Director of Rugby of the London Irish, the club needs to have a core of players who are committed and passionate about the cause of the club and will be extremely committed whenever they take the field for the team, no matter what the situation they are in.