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Brian Smith, the Director of Rugby of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Football Union club the London Irish is increasingly confident his side will have plenty of strength in depth next season and this will give them a much better chance of challenging for top honors.
The Exiles boss stated that they have put in a lot of resources into the forward pack. He added that the scouting team worked tirelessly to identify raw talent all over the world and mentioned that the team is not too far away. He went on to admit that club still hopes to tie down a couple of more signings before the start of the new season and they are pretty close to giving confirmation of the signings in the coming weeks.
The London Irish have already completed the signings of Tom Guest from Harlequins FC, Luke Narraway and Dan Leo from Perpignan, Tom Court from Ulster, Geoff Cross and Sean Cox from Edinburgh Rugby as well as Conor Gilsenan from Leinster.
With several players coming in, the Exiles have already allowed Ian Gough to link up with the Newport Gwent Dragons and Declan Danaher has already called time on his career.
According to Smith, the team will be functioning with 38 senior professionals and a couple of youngsters will be sent out on loan and they are expected to play in the Rugby Football Union or RFU Championship next season. He added that with the number up from the last two seasons, they will have a far better chance of competing for silverware next season.
London Irish are also losing Marland Yarde to Harlequins FC and James O’Connor will sign for Toulon and with Ian Humphreys set to move to Ulster, a fly half will also be a priority for the club in the new season.
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Scottish international tight head prop Geoff Cross has confirmed he will swap the Pro 12 for the Aviva Premiership after signing a two year deal with the Aviva Premiership Rugby Football Union club the London Irish, the English club has announced.
The 31 year old has had a long stint with Scottish club Edinburgh and has made 130 appearances for the club, scoring six tries in the process as well.
He has also earned 28 caps for the Scotland Rugby Team and was also selected to be a part of the Scotland squad for the recently concluded Six Nations Championships where he was given two starts. And speaking about his capture, Brian Smith, the head coach of the London Irish stated that it is good that they have managed to capture a player of the experience as well as talents of Cross.
He is a player who has loads of international experience under his belt and he was also one of the star performers for the Scottish side which did very poorly at the Six Nations recently. Moreover, he is also a genuine tight head prop and this means, the fight for a starting place in the forward positions will increase manifolds for the Exiles next season.
And Brian Smith believes this competition for places will be great as the side targets a strong run in the Premiership with the hope of securing qualification to the Heineken Cup as well as making it to the playoff places for the Premiership.
Cross mentioned that moving south to play for the London Irish comes as a fantastic chance for him and having met Smith and discussed the future of the club, he can’t wait to get started although he admitted it was a difficult decision to leave Edinburgh after so many years.
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