|Full name||London Irish Rugby Football Club|
|Location||Reading, Berkshire, England|
|Ground(s)||Madejski Stadium (Capacity: 24,161)|
|Director of Rugby||Nick Kennedy|
|League(s)||Greene King IPA Championship|
|2015–16||Premiership, 12th (relegated)|
London Irish RFC is an English rugby union club originally 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 competed in the top division of English rugby union between 1996 and 2015-16. After which they were relegated into the Greene King IPA Championship. Whilst in the Premiership, the club also competed in the Anglo-Welsh Cup as well as one of the two Europe-wide club competitions—the European Champions Cup or European Challenge Cup, depending on their performance in the previous season. From October 2016 they will play in the British and Irish Cup in addition to the Championship. 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 English 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.
London Irish was the last club to be formed in England by working and student exiles from the home countries, following London Scottish in 1878 and London Welsh in 1895. The first game took place on 1 October 1898 against the former Hammersmith club at Herne Hill Athletic Ground, London Irish winning by eight points to three. The team benefited from the early recruitment of vet and Irish international Louis Magee.
London Irish play at the Madejski Stadium, in Reading. Madejski is the home of Reading FC and was opened in August 1998. The ground is a 24,161 all-seater capacity stadium, and was the largest used as a regular home ground in the premiership before Wasps moved to the Ricoh Arena in 2014.
With the exception of the annual London Double Header 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.
On 12 March 2016 London Irish played their first home match away from Madejski (and Twickenham), and also the first-ever Premiership match outside England, when they travelled to the USA to face Saracens at the New York Red Bulls' Red Bull Arena in the New York metropolitan area.
2016–17 Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.
Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.
Notable former players
The kit is supplied by O'Neills. On the front of the shirt, Powerday is at the centre with Etixx and Punter on their left sleeve. On the back of the shirt, Powerday (who also appear on the centre of the front of their shirt) is on the back collar while Pump Technology is on the top and Ridgeway Volkswagen on top of the squad number while Howick appears at the bottom. On their shorts, Norton by Symantec is on the left of the front shorts while Gap Hire Solutions is on the right of their back shorts.
- English Premiership:
- Runners-up: 2008–09
- European Challenge Cup:
- Runners-up: 2005–06
- Anglo-Welsh Cup:
- Champions: 2002
- Runners-up: 1980
- Middlesex Sevens:
- Champions: 2009
- Premiership Rugby Sevens Series
- Champions: 2012
London Irish Amateur
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, Hazelwood in Sunbury. Some players such as Justin Bishop and Kieran Campbell have come through the ranks to play for London Irish.
Digger is an Irish Wolfhound and official mascot of London Irish. He has an 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. As well as Digger, there is also a real Irish Wolfhound, Mr Doyle, who also attends the home games. Before Mr Doyle, his Great Uncle, Jumbo, attended home game before Jumbo retired and eventually died.
- 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.
- YouTube phenomenon KSI (entertainer) made videos with London Irish at Hazelwood with Rule'm Sports.
- Rugby union in London
- London Cornish
- London Scottish
- London Welsh
- Rugby union in the United States
- "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.
- Club history –beginnings london-irish.com Retrieved 20 September 2015
- "No Luck on Paddy's Day for Irish". Guinness Premiership.com. Retrieved 16 March 2008.
- "London Irish Aviva Premiership Rugby match in USA". London Irish. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
-  Archived 15 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
- "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.