London Irish preview 2012/13

Exiles will look to gel after a hectic summer

By Tony Curtis - Follow me on Twitter: @SkysportsTC.   Last Updated: 28/08/12 7:48am

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Sky Bet

The players at London Irish could well have started pre-season training with name tags on given the mammoth turnover of players in the summer.

A number of high-profile players have left - while there has been major surgery to the coaching staff too as the Exiles look to turn from also-rans to play-off contenders.

Brian Smith will head up a new-look coaching team - with Glenn Delaney, Shaun Edwards, Pete Richards and Barry Everitt being brought into replace Toby Booth, Mike Catt and Justin Bishop.

On the pitch, Smith has wasted little time in making his mark - Jonathan Spratt has seen his stay cut short, while Tom Smith's proposed move was cancelled.

Clarke Dermody and Bob Casey have retired, Nick Kennedy, Delon Armitage and Guy Armitage have headed to France, Leicester have signed Adam Thompstone, Dan Bowden and Richard Thorpe, while Paul Hodgson has joined Worcester and Shontayne Hape has opted to move to Montpellier.

Smith, though, has brought in some exciting signings - with Setaimata Sa and Michael Worrincy switching from the 13-a-side code and Jerry Yanuyanutawa arriving from the Brumbies.

A lot will be expected from the half-backs Tomas O'Leary, Ian Humphreys and Shane Geraghty, who returns after spells at Northampton and Brive, while George Skivington and Scott Lawson will add valuable experience to the pack.

Tom Homer weighed in with a staggering 278 points last season - with the winger yet again expected to keep the scoreboard ticking over for the club.

London Irish stats

Director of rugby: Brian Smith
Captain: Declan Danaher
Sky Bet odds: 25/1
Last season: 7th
In: Halani Aulika (Leeds), Scott Lawson (Gloucester), Cai Griffiths (Ospreys), George Skivington (Leicester), Jon Fisher (Bedford), Tomas O'Leary (Munster), Shane Geraghty (Brive), Ian Humphreys (Ulster), Setaimata Sa (Catalans Dragons RL), Michael Worrincy (London Skolars RL), Conor Gaston (Ulster), Jerry Yanuyanutawa (Brumbies), Shaun Malton (Sharks),John Ryan (loan, Munster)
Out: Clarke Dermody (retired), Mark George (Stourbridge), Faan Rautenbach (retired), Nick Kennedy (Toulon), Bob Casey (retired), Tom Alexander (Eastwood), Ed Siggery (Pontypridd), Kieran Roche (retired), Richard Thorpe (Leicester), Paul Hodgson (Worcester), Adrian Jarvis (Bristol), Dan Bowden (Leicester), Shontayne Hape (Montpellier), Jonathan Spratt (Ospreys), Guy Armitage (Toulon), Adam Thompstone (Leicester), Delon Armitage (Toulon), Ross Sampson (London Scottish), Paulica Ion (loan, London Welsh)
Key man - Tom Homer: The 22-year-old was London Irish's star performer last season, with his 278-point haul helping them to a seventh-place finish.
Prediction: 10th

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