Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Smith Ready to Bring in New Era

London Irish director of rugby, Brian Smith, admits that the club are entering a transitional period, but insists that he is excited at the prospect of bringing in a new era.

The Exiles have had a disappointing season in the Premiership, and will lose a whole host of star names in the summer. 

Nick Kennedy, Delon Armitage, Paul Hodgson, Shontayne Hape, and Dan Bowden are all leaving Irish, while Bob Casey is retiring at the end of the season.

Half-backs, Shane Geraghty and Tomas O'Leary, are among the players joining the club in the summer.

"It's sad in a way to see senior players leaving, but on the other hand it is quite exciting", Smith told BBC Radio Berkshire.

Smith hopes that the outgoing players are rewarded for their loyalty with a fitting tribute in their final game of the season, against Gloucester. The result of the fixture is too close to call in the rugby betting.

"It is very important to give these players a send off.  We've had some great warriors at this club, and the team that was built in 2005 is coming to an end, with Bob Casey playing his last game and Nick Kennedy leaving", added Smith.

"But there is a great bed of players here. We are going to rebuild with English-qualified players off the back of our academy, with a touch of Irish flavour, but we also want to sign some world-class players."

The former England attack coach added he was enjoying being back at the club he left in 2008. "I feel like I've come back home, everyone has welcomed me back with open arms", Smith said.

"There are a few things we are needing to do behind the scenes to freshen things up, to make sure we are putting some money into the playing squad, so that we have a very strong side for next season."

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