|Full name||London Irish Rugby Football Club|
|Location||Reading, Berkshire, England|
|Ground(s)||Madejski Stadium (Capacity: 24,161)|
|Coach(es)|| Brian Smith
Richard Whiffin (backs)
Glenn Delaney (forwards)
London Irish RFC is an English rugby union club based in Sunbury, Surrey, where the senior squad train, the youth teams and senior academy play home games, and the club maintain their administrative offices. The club competes in the top division of English rugby union, the Aviva Premiership. The club also compete in the Anglo-Welsh Cup as well as one of the two Europe-wide club competitions—the Heineken Cup or European Challenge Cup, depending on their performance in the previous season. The club will continue to play their home games at the Madejski Stadium in Reading, Berkshire until 2026.
The team plays in green and white colours, with a reversed away strip. London Irish won its first major trophy in 2002, claiming the Powergen Cup (the competition that later became the Anglo-Welsh Cup). Irish also reached the final of the 2009 Guinness Premiership, narrowly losing 10–9 to Leicester Tigers at Twickenham Stadium. In the 2007/08 season the team came close to a place in the Heineken Cup Final losing out to Stade Toulousain 15–21 in a tense semi-final encounter at Twickenham Stadium. The club's mascot is an Irish Wolfhound called Digger.
- 1 History
- 2 Academy
- 3 Stadium
- 4 Current standing
- 5 Current squad
- 6 Transfers 2013–14
- 7 Players
- 8 Honours
- 9 London Irish Amateur
- 10 Digger
- 11 Trivia
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Also known as The Exiles, London Irish RFC was founded in 1898 for the young Irishmen of London; it was modelled on the already established London Welsh and London Scottish teams. London Irish suffered during World War I and the Irish War of Independence. It was not until 1923 when the Irish Free State was established and peace returned that the club was able to welcome players from across the Irish Sea on a regular basis.
By the late 1920s the club boasted its first "home grown" Ireland international in S J 'Cags' Cagney who won 13 caps between 1925 and 1929. The club developed a home of its own in 1931 at The Avenue in Sunbury, the first game was played on 5 December against London Welsh; the result was an honourable 8–8 draw. Although the club now play their games as tenants of Reading FC at the Madejski Stadium in Reading, the ground at Sunbury is still its spiritual home.
The 1950s was a period of mixed fortunes for London Irish. In the 1959–60 season London Irish only lost 2 games all season, featuring Ireland International players such as Andy Mulligan & Sean McDermott, Mike (C.M.H.) Gibson (played 1 game in the late 1960s), Tony O'Reilly (who played a handful of games in 1970) and Ollie Waldron (who played in the late 1960s-early 70s), all graced the Sunbury pitch.
The improving quality of fixtures demanded a change in attitude to training and playing as the sixties became the seventies. Under the leadership of the great hooker Ken Kennedy, with the assistance of exceptional players like Nick Hegarty, Mick Molloy and Barry Bresnihan, London Irish became a force to be reckoned with once more. In 1976–77 the Rugby Football Union introduced proper club merit tables and in that season London Irish finished first in the London Division with six wins out of seven. The Irish made visits to France and famously to South Africa in 1977 where the club became the first touring side to play so many mixed race teams.
In playing terms the eighties were another period of inconsistency. The first team struggled to find reliable form as work pressures made more demands on players' time making them unavailable for regular training and matches. Happily, at the lower levels and socially London Irish continued to thrive. In 1990–91 London Irish were promoted to the first division with a side containing four new Ireland internationals: Simon Geoghegan, Jim Staples, David Curtis and Rob Saunders, the youngest ever captain of his country at 22 years of age.
The harsh financial realities of playing at the top end of the game in England gradually became clear to all the country's senior clubs including London Irish in the early years of the decade. Operating losses mounted and but for the generosity of key benefactors at the time, the club would have struggled to survive. The financial struggles were reflected on the pitch where London Irish failed to make any impact in the leagues despite employing the services of a number of high profile coaches.
In 1999 London Irish merged with London Scottish and Richmond to form a new umbrella company to support the professional team which now competes in the Aviva Premiership in England. An amateur club was also formed at this time, London Irish Amateur RFC, which remains in Sunbury. The club won its first piece of silverware in 2002 by beating Northampton Saints in the Powergen Cup final at Twickenham.
All London Irish home matches are played at the Madejski. The largest crowd for a London Irish match was for a game against London Wasps on 15 March 2008 during the 2007-08 Guinness Premiership. The crowd of 23,790 was also the highest attendance for a regular season Guinness Premiership match until December 2008.
|Club||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Points For||Points Against||Points Difference||Tries For||Tries Against||Try Bonus||Losing Bonus||Points|
If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:
|Green background (rows 1 to 4) are play-off places. Red background (row 12) will be relegated if the winner of the RFU Championship meets the requirements for promotion. Updated 2 December 2013 — Current English Leagues
source: Premiership Rugby
2013/14 Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under IRB eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-IRB nationality.
Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under IRB eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-IRB nationality.
- Andy Fenby from Scarlets
- Blair Cowan from Worcester Warriors
- Jamie Hagan from Leinster Rugby
- Eamonn Sheridan from Rotherham Titans
- Fergus Mulchrone from Rotherham Titans
- Michael Mayhew from Newcastle Falcons
- Myles Dorrian from Exeter Chiefs
- Jimmy Stevens from Leicester Tigers
- Nic Rouse from Nottingham
- Matt Par from Nottingham
- Jonny Harris from Leicester Tigers
- Alex Lewington from Leicester Tigers
- Ian Gough from Ospreys (short term deal)
- James O'Connor from Melbourne Rebels (short term deal)
- John Yapp from Edinburgh Rugby (season-long loan)
- Steven Shingler to Scarlets
- Jonathan Joseph to Bath Rugby
- Matt Garvey to Bath Rugby
- Alex Corbisiero to Northampton Saints
- Jack Moates to London Wasps
- Alex Gray to England Sevens
- James Buckland to London Scottish
- Max Lahiff to Melbourne Rebels
- Jamie Gibson to Leicester Tigers
- Dave Sisi to Bath Rugby
- Anthony Watson to Bath Rugby
- Scott Lawson to Newcastle Falcons
- James Sandford to Cornish Pirates
- Jerry Yanuyanutawa to Glasgow Warriors
- Conor Gaston released
- Brian Blaney released
- Joe Ansbro retired
- English Premiership:
- Runners-up: 2008–09
- European Challenge Cup:
- Runners-up: 2005–06
- John Player Cup/Powergen/EDF Energy/LV= Cup:
- Champions: 2002
- Runners-up: 1980
- Middlesex Sevens:
- Champions: 2009
- Premiership Rugby Sevens Series
- Champions: 2012
London Irish Amateur
|Full name||London Irish Amateur Rugby Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||Irish, The Wild Geese|
|League(s)||National League 2 South|
London Irish also host London Irish Amateur RFC (a separate legal entity) for non-professionals to allow them to improve in Rugby. The team play at the location of London Irish's training ground and offices, The Avenue in Sunbury. Some players such as Justin Bishop and Kieran Campbell have come through the ranks to play for London Irish.
|Club||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Points For||Points Against||Points Difference||Try Bonus||Losing Bonus||Points|
|2||Ampthill & District||13||9||1||3||455||235||220||7||1||46|
|10||Cornish All Blacks||13||7||0||6||285||324||–39||3||1||32|
|15||London Irish Wild Geese||13||3||0||10||296||396||–100||5||4||21|
|Green background is the promotion place. Blue background is the play-off place. Pink background are relegation places.
Updated: 1 December 2013
Source: NCA Rugby
Digger is an Irish Wolfhound and official mascot of London Irish. He has an extremely important job of providing support to the Club.
Digger was joined by his cousin, Duggie, from the 2006/07 season. Much taller and much slower, Duggie has proved popular with younger children attending matchdays although Digger remains the Top Dog. As well as the two mascots, there is also a real Wolfhound, Mr Doyle, who also attends the home games. Before Mr Doyle there was also another Wolfhound, Jumbo, before Jumbo retired.
- The Exiles once took part in an episode of Jackass. They were given the job of teaching Johnny Knoxville and Chris Pontius how to play rugby, no matter how rough it got.
- A main character in the book, The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edward D Malone, a journalist, was also a player on the London Irish and scored a try.
- "Madejski Stadium information". readingfc.co.uk. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
- Palmer, Bryn (16 May 2009). "Leicester 10–9 London Irish". BBC News.
- "London Irish 15–21 Toulouse". BBC News. 26 April 2008.
- "No Luck on Paddy's Day for Irish". Guinness Premiership.com. Retrieved 16 March 2008.
- "London Irish unveil Academy squad for 2013–14". London Irish. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
- "London Irish sign Andy Fenby from Scarlets". BBC Sport. 15 March 2013.
- "London Irish sign Worcester's Blair Cowan". BBC Sport. 14 March 2013.
- "London Irish sign Leinster prop Jamie Hagan". BBC Sport. 25 March 2013.
- Rugby Union Tournaments | Aviva Premiership | Two new faces join London Irish. Planet Rugby (10 April 2013). Retrieved on 17 July 2013.
- "Lodnon irish sign Myles Dorrian from Exeter Chiefs". BBC Sport. 15 April 2013.
- "Irish sign trio from Leicester Tigers".
- "London Irish sign former Wales lock Ian Gough". BBC Sport. 23 September 2013.
- "James O'Connor signs for London Irish" (Press release). London Irish. 29 October 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "Wales prop John Yapp joins London Irish". BBC Sport. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
- "Steven Shingler rejoins Scarlets". BBC Sport. 21 January 2013.
- "Lahiff joins the Rebels". Planet Rugby. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
- "Neil Briggs and Jamie Gibson agree deals with Leicester Tigers".
- "Wild Geese on brink of the title". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
- "About Us". London-Irish-Amateur.co.uk. Retrieved 11 April 2010.
- [dead link]
- "Digger Wins 'Best Mascot' Award". London Irish. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
- "Steven Orton is fundraising for Spinal Research – JustGiving". Just Giving. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
- Official site
- Sunbury Centre
- Order Of The Odd-Shaped Ball
- The Craic
- London Irish Amateur RFC
- London Irish on Rugby15
- London Irish ERCrugby.com