|Full name||London Irish Rugby Football Club|
|Location||Reading, Berkshire, England|
|Ground(s)||Madejski Stadium (Capacity: 24,161)|
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 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 European Champions 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.
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 1st 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 will play their first home match away from Madejski (and Twickenham) when they face Saracens at the New York Red Bulls' Red Bull Arena in the New York Metropolitan Area, USA.
2015-16 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
- 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
|File:London Irish Amateur.jpg|
|Full name||London Irish Amateur Rugby Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||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, 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 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.
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