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‘We can definitely challenge for the top end of the table’ - New captain Matt Rogerson says it is time for London Irish to kick on

·2-min read
Matt Rogerson has been appointed London Irish’s new club captain  (Getty Images)
Matt Rogerson has been appointed London Irish’s new club captain (Getty Images)

Matt Rogerson, London Irish’s new club captain, believes it is time for a settled squad to kick on and compete higher up the Premiership table.

Irish – who now play at Brentford Community Stadium – finished ninth last season, but were just nine points off fifth-placed Northampton Saints.

They have added Springbok prop Marcel van der Merwe over the summer, which should add some set-piece ballast to their free-flowing game.

He slots into the 23 for tomorrow’s trip to Worcester that also contains experienced Aussie locks Rob Simmons and Adam Coleman, veteran Argentina hooker Agustin Creevy and the Irish internationals Paddy Jackson and Sean O’Brien.

Combined with the youthful promise of the likes of Tom Parton and Ollie Hassell-Collins in the back three, Irish have an increasingly stable look to their team, and skipper Rogerson believes it is time to shoot up the table.

It could be a big year for London Irish wing and England call-up Ollie Hassell-Collins (left) (Getty Images)
It could be a big year for London Irish wing and England call-up Ollie Hassell-Collins (left) (Getty Images)

“Obviously with any recruitment drive – and we did the bulk of our recruitment at the start of the season before last – when you do that level of bringing people in there is always going to be a period of time where everyone gets used to each other, forming relationships on and off the pitch,” he told Standard Sport.

“We have retained the vast amount of the squad from that recruitment drive a couple of years ago, and we are in the best place now that we have been to hopefully kick on.

“Our squad is pretty settled, which hopefully puts us in a position to kick on, with the talent we have in the squad – senior guys as well as youngsters – we feel we can definitely challenge for the top end of the table.”

Rogerson believes that not having any British and Irish Lions – who are unavailable for the first few weeks of the season – or England regulars, who pop off periodically for international duty – can help Irish.

“We have the benefit of having international experiences, but it tends not to be Northern Hemisphere,” he said.

“They are not as affected by the Six Nations or Lions. That should hopefully stand us in good stead to be able to use that experience and firepower whilst other teams are a bit lighter on the ground from international call-ups.”

London Irish will enjoy their first proper season at the Brentford Community Stadium (Getty Images)
London Irish will enjoy their first proper season at the Brentford Community Stadium (Getty Images)

For the new season at their new home, Irish have introduced an innovative “Netflix-style” season ticket model, costing £30 per month, which fans can cancel at any time.

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