London Irish

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London Irish
Full name London Irish Rugby Football Club
Nickname(s) The Exiles
Founded 1898; 122 years ago (1898)
Location Reading, Berkshire, England
Ground(s) Madejski Stadium (Capacity: 24,161[1])
Chairman Kieran McCarthy
Coach(es) Tom Coventry
Captain(s) George Skivington
League(s) Aviva Premiership
2014–15 10th
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website

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.[2] 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.[3] The club's mascot is an Irish Wolfhound called Digger.


The squad that played Racing Métro 92 at Parc des Princes in 1899.
London Irish playing at the Madejski Stadium with 22,648 people in attendance.
A match v Ulster in 2006.
London Irish's line out against Leicester Tigers.
London Irish drummers and fans at the Madejski Stadium.

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.[4]


London Irish manage their own academy, with players such as Nick Kennedy, Jonathan Joseph, Topsy Ojo and Delon Armitage having gone on to play for the senior side and be internationally capped.


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[5] 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.

Current squad

2015-16 Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.

Player Position Union
Tom Cruse Hooker England England
Gerard Ellis Hooker England England
David Paice Hooker England England
Jimmy Stevens Hooker England England
Halani Aulika Prop Tonga Tonga
Tom Court Prop Ireland Ireland
Geoff Cross Prop Scotland Scotland
Ben Franks Prop New Zealand New Zealand
Leo Halavatau Prop Tonga Tonga
Jonny Harris Prop England England
Richard Palframan Prop South Africa South Africa
Tom Smallbone Prop England England
Will Lloyd Lock New Zealand New Zealand
Nic Rouse Lock England England
Eoin Sheriff Lock Ireland Ireland
George Skivington Lock England England
Matt Symons Lock England England
Conor Gilsenan Flanker Ireland Ireland
Rob McCusker Flanker Wales Wales
Jebb Sinclair Flanker Canada Canada
Dave Sisi Flanker England England
Joe Trayfoot Flanker England England
Ofisa Treviranus Flanker Samoa Samoa
Blair Cowan Number 8 Scotland Scotland
Tom Guest Number 8 England England
Luke Narraway Number 8 England England
Player Position Union
Darren Allinson Scrum-half Wales Wales
Brendan McKibbin Scrum-half Australia Australia
Scott Steele Scrum-half Scotland Scotland
Shane Geraghty Fly-half England England
Chris Noakes Fly-half New Zealand New Zealand
Eoin Griffin Centre Ireland Ireland
Ciaran Hearn Centre Canada Canada
Fergus Mulchrone Centre England England
Asaeli Tikoirotuma Centre Fiji Fiji
Dominic Waldouck Centre England England
Tom Fowlie Wing England England
Alex Lewington Wing England England
Sean Maitland Wing Scotland Scotland
Topsy Ojo Wing England England
Andy Fenby Fullback Wales Wales

Academy squad

Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.

Player Position Union
Curtis Langdon Hooker England England
Harry Elrington Prop England England
Ollie Curry Lock England England
Connor Murphy Scrum-half England England
Callum Watson Scrum-half England England
Theo Brophy-Clews Fly-half England England
Ross Neal Centre England England
Johnny Williams Centre England England

Notable former players


London Irish Amateur

London Irish Amateur
File:London Irish Amateur.jpg
Full name London Irish Amateur Rugby Football Club
Union RFU
Nickname(s) The Wild Geese[6]
Founded September 1999; 20 years ago (1999-09)[7]
Location Sunbury-on-Thames, England
Ground(s) Hazelwood
Chairman David Fitzgerald
President Alan McCartney
Captain(s) Eddie Fraher
League(s) National League 2 South
2012–13 1st (promoted)
Official website

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.[8]



Digger is an Irish Wolfhound and official mascot of London Irish. He has an extremely important job of providing support to the Club.


On 30 May 2003 Digger won the "Best Mascot" award in the Zurich Premiership at the Premier Rugby Marketing Awards held at Twickenham.[9]

Charity work

On 23 April 2006, Digger ran the London Marathon raising money for Spinal Research. Digger finished the marathon in a time of 6 hours 39 minutes 31 seconds.[10]


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.


  • 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.

See also


  1. "Madejski Stadium information". Retrieved 14 April 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Palmer, Bryn (16 May 2009). "Leicester 10–9 London Irish". BBC News.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "London Irish 15–21 Toulouse". BBC News. 26 April 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Club history –beginnings Retrieved 20 September 2015
  5. "No Luck on Paddy's Day for Irish". Guinness Retrieved 16 March 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Wild Geese on brink of the title". Retrieved 12 April 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "About Us". Retrieved 11 April 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. [1] Archived 15 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  9. "Digger Wins 'Best Mascot' Award". London Irish. Retrieved 26 February 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Steven Orton is fundraising for Spinal Research – JustGiving". Just Giving. Retrieved 26 February 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links