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By Stevie J
Updated 11/08/20

Hi all - as clubs begin to return to training, I've put together a list of who I think is out of contract to give us a list of squad strength, who is expected to leave or confirmed leavers and any additions. Where the contract length has not been stated I've guessed but I think a lot of these based on announcements are largely accurate.

I'll attempt to edit this as news comes in.

  • Rumoured / Confirmed Leavers - Hobbs-Ayowemi (Confirmed - Northampton), McMillan (Confirmed), Porecki (Confirmed - Waratahs), Fainga'a (Confirmed), Cilliers (Confirmed), Botha (Confirmed - Japan), Van der Merwe (Confirmed), Madison (Confirmed - Ealing), Botha, (Confirmed - Japan), Collingridge (Confirmed), Rossiter (Confirmed - University), Belcher (Confirmed), Steele (Confirmed), Myler (Confirmed - Ospreys), Rona, Campbell (Confirmed), Stephenson (Confirmed), Tuatagaloa (Confirmed - Rouen Normandie), Stokes, Partingon (Confirmed - Hartpury), Veitokani (Confirmed)
  • Rumoured / Confirmed Joiners - Haffar (Confirmed - Academy), Cornish (Confirmed), Creevy (Confirmed), Vajner (Confirmed - Academy), Simmons (Confirmed), De Chaves (Confirmed - Short Term), Lucas, Brooke (Confirmed - Academy), Davis (Confirmed - Academy), Smurdon (Academy), Eastmond, Joseph (Confirmed - Academy), Harmes (Confirmed - Academy), Dykes (Confirmed - Academy), Kerr (Confirmed), Neal (Confirmed - Short Term), Homer (Confirmed)
Prior Squad Size 2019-2020
  • 62 Total Players
  • 59 Senior plus 3 Loan / Short Term
  • 14 Academy
LH – Dell, Hobbs-Ayowemi, Elrington, Goodrick-Clarke
TH – Kepu, Hoskins, Cilliers, Chawatama
Academy – Green, Baker

Outgoing – Believe Hobbs-Ayowemi, Elrington, Chawatama, Cilliers are possibly all at end of contract. Danny confirmed by Saints as joining on the 26/06. Cilliers confirmed by Irish as leaving back to SA.
Incoming - Tarek Haffar joins on Academy terms.

Porecki, Ma’atu, Fainga’a, McMillan (Short Term)
Academy – Ben Atkins

Outgoing – Believe Fainga’a is out of contract. McMillan contract already expired. Porecki confirmed he is off back home, assume a club to be announced. Fainga’a expected to retire / go back to Australia, now confirmed by LI.
Incoming – Previously linked to Max Crumpton of Harlequins in Rugby Paper, but he has been forced to retire. RugbyInsideLine quoted that we have beaten Quins to Matt Cornish of Ealing and he's been spotted at Hazelwood (thanks, Instagram!). Joe Vajner joins the Academy. Cornish confirmed and Argentinian media saying we’ve signed Augustin Creevy.

Van Der Merwe, Coleman, Botha, Madison, Nott
Academy – Munga, Collingridge

Outgoing – Van Der Merwe confirmed as leaving on Season Ticket Holder Zoom call. Madison confirmed (3/6/20) as returning to Ealing. Believe Nott may be out of contract. Collingridge from the Academy is confirmed as going. Botha, rumoured as wanting to stay in Japan and not come back to Irish, is now confirmed as leaving with Simmons coming in.
Incoming – Whilst listed above, Botha formally comes back to LI from Japan. TRP says we are favourites to sign Matías Alemanno of the Jaguares, however since then he has been linked with Beziers and Gloucester, signing for Gloucester. TRP are now linking us to Rob Simmons, Wallaby international, which is now confirmed. De Chaves joins on a short term deal for the season restart.

O’Brien, Cowan, Mafi, Ioane, Gilsenan, Northcote-Green, Curtis-Harris, Cooke
Academy – Donnell, Smart, Moore-Aiono, Rossiter

Outgoing – Believe Ioane, Gilsenan, Northcote-Green are all out of contract. Rumour that Finn Rossiter is leaving to go to Barts and start his medical education, now confirmed by Irish.
Incoming – linked Irish with Calum Clark of Saracens but as with most Ruck rumors this went nowhere. Zinzan Brooke confirmed his son Lucas Brooke has signed a 2 year Academy contract. Also joining the Academy is George Davis who can also play Hooker.

Tuisue, Rogerson
Academy – Belcher

Outgoing – Believe Rogerson may be out of contract. Jack Belcher is confirmed as leaving.
Incoming – Ruck had rumoured Irish as interested in Sergio Parisse before he ‘turned us down’.

Meehan, Phipps, Steele, Brand
Academy – Englefield

Outgoing – Believe Meehan, Steele are out of contract. Steele confirmed via social media he is leaving London Irish, TRP saying to Harlequins.
Incoming – With the Yorkshire RFU Academy shutting, Theo Smurdon (who also plays 10) is someone we are looking at as per TRP.

Jackson, Myler, Brophy-Clews, Atkins

Outgoing – Believe Myler, Brophy-Clews may be out of contract. Myler confirmed to be leaving by the club.
Incoming – TRP linked Irish and a host of clubs to Issac Lucas, former Queensland Red and Aus U 20 Fly Half / Utility Back. TRP has also linked us with Noel Reid but local news in Agen has him signing for the local team there (now confirmed).

Hepetema, Rona, Williams, Stephenson, Campbell, Macken
Academy – Cokanasiga

Outgoing – Believe Stephenson, Macken are out of contract. Campbell seems to be confirmed as leaving to the US as per a Blair Cowan Instagram (!) post to him and his partner. Campbell now confirmed by LI and Stephenson is off too.
Incoming – On Rugby Network message boards, we have been linked with England international Piers Francis but he is staying at Saints. Daily Mail linked us with Alex Lozowski on loan, but has re-signed with Sarries with a year's sojourn in France. Curtis Rona linked by the Australian Daily Telegraph with a return to Rugby League in Canberra. Will Joseph, brother of Jonathan, joins the Academy. Ross Neal rejoins on a short term deal for the season restart. Kyle Eastmond is someone being linked to us between a cryptic Neil Fissler tweet and Ben Coles of the Telegraph.

Loader, Naholo, Fowlie, Tuatagaloa (Short Term)
Academy - Hassell-Collins

Outgoing – Believe Fowlie is out of contract. Tuatagaloa is already confirmed as leaving to Rouen Normandie in France.
Incoming – Wingers Michael Dykes and Alex Harmes join the Academy. Charlton Kerr of England 7s has been signed and in XVs can play wing or full back.

Full Back
Parton, Veitokani, Stokes (Short Term)
Academy – Partington

Outgoing – Stokes short term contract should be at an end unless he has been extended - however this week (10/08) he was spotted in training photos. Partington confirmed leaving to Hartpury. Veitokani confirmed by club as leaving.
Incoming – Nick Abendanon was rumoured by Rugby Paper to be a possible short term signing to cover the restart of this current season but is staying in France in the Pro D2. Dec let slip Tom Homer has a medical ahead of rejoining, now confirmed as signing.
Last edited by Stevie J on Tue Aug 11, 2020 2:26 pm, edited 46 times in total.
MattM, GHA, Narbia liked this
By GC89
Great work Steve.

Of those you have identified as being out of contract, I would really want us to keep Elrington, Rogerson and Meehan. If the rest go, then que sera. That would be quite an outgoing list, but I like the idea of running a more streamlined but higher quality squad, with some of the academy lads able to step up to fill those squad roles.
MattM liked this
First confirmed(ish) signing for next year...

Lucas Brooke included in our Senior Academy intake. His Dad let the cat out the bag. ... ssion=true

Solid player when I've seen games he's played for Wellington. Nice hands, big tackling. Not a superstar of the group though, which suggests it will be a large intake.

Edit - Some highlights

Last edited by Margin_Walker on Tue May 26, 2020 7:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
By GC89
Isaac Lucas, the 10/15 released by the Reds has been linked with us (and a host of other clubs) in today's Rugby Paper.

Could be a great signing if he comes to play 15 (he reminds me a lot of a young O'Connor from the clips I have seen). I have seen reports that he sees himself as a 10 long-term though, which may mean it doesn't make sense with Jackson and Myler already on the books.
Anyone know if Myler is actually contracted for next season?

Cornish would make sense as a signing. We aren't getting a huge amount of value out of our international Southern Hemisphere hookers (the non international is the only stand out). Might as well go with a late developer like Cornish who is on the up, EQP and likely to cost a little less.
By GC89
No idea on Myler, but a three year deal for someone of his age would be quite a long one.

Cornish, as you say, fits the profile of the sort of signing we should be looking to make. Appears to have a fair bit of potential, although I probably wouldn't want him as first choice. Looks like Fainga'a and Porecki are both off so we will need Cornish +1. Whether Cornish is a good signing or not probably depends on who the other guy we get is.
GC89 wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:12 am
No idea on Myler, but a three year deal for someone of his age would be quite a long one.

Cornish, as you say, fits the profile of the sort of signing we should be looking to make. Appears to have a fair bit of potential, although I probably wouldn't want him as first choice. Looks like Fainga'a and Porecki are both off so we will need Cornish +1. Whether Cornish is a good signing or not probably depends on who the other guy we get is.
Agree, I'd expect a more proven hooker to come in as well. We'll see
By GC89
I am assuming Matu'u stays on the basis that it would be odd for all three hookers to be out of contract at the same time and probably not ideal from a continuity perspective.

Agreed though, when he plays he tends to do pretty well and he really stepped up when he came into the team earlier this season after a while out (I think it was the Glaws game). However, for me, he is just a bit too much of a liability from a card and penalty perspective to be first choice.
By Margin_Walker
So the big pinch of salt, unsourced rumoured list of leavers from the other board. It's a lot, but actually looks fairly believable on the whole.

Danny Hobbs
Pat Cillers
Dave proecki
Notts - maybe
Sam Collingridge
Theo B-C maybe
Brendan Macken
Tom Fowlie
Tom Stephenson
James Stoakes
Wil Partington
Freddie veitokani
By GC89
I would agree it looks pretty believable.

No real shocks. Biggest disappointment is probably Porecki who has been pushing on and improving. Stephenson is a bit of a loss as he covers 12 and 13, but has definitely fallen behind Hepetema and Rona as first choice and is a bit of an injury liability. Myler will also take some replacing, but to be honest, considering what we are paying him, I quite like the idea of making Jackson first choice and putting some faith in him to run a slightly quicker attack.

In terms of incomings, we will clearly need some hookers and a couple of locks if that list is correct. A back-up 10 and some cover in the centre in the backs, as well as a full back (which would probably have been the case regardless of who was coming and who was going).
By Florida
Porecki is a big loss, he makes such a difference. Hopefully we can get someone as good around the park and improve a little on his line out throws.

Franco is a shame, but he's 105 now, he needs a break.

I'm a little disappointed to see TBC in the list, I remain ever hopeful he'll reach his potential.
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By MattM
I would be happy to see Theo spend a year somewhere like Bedford, to see if he can get a good run of games and really dictate the play.
If that works out offer him a new deal...

Given his near permanent injuries I could almost see him walking away though.
By GC89
Almost feel a bit sorry for him. He worked so hard, only to make one Prem appearance and then go back to where he came from. A good, solid player. In years gone by he would have probably ended up playing a lot of Rugby (he reminded me a lot of Nic Rouse in style), but happened to join at a time when we have some seriously good locks.
By Florida
GHA wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 8:34 am
I feel like TBC must be nearly 30 - been around for ages now but had awful luck
He is in fact just 23, so plenty of years left in him, if he can break the horrendous injury / concussion cycle.
By Margin_Walker
Not read it, but TRP front page tomorrow has a picture of Skivs, with a caption suggesting he may be Gloucester bound.

Not sure if it relates to the vacant head coach role or another forwards gig. Or if there's even anything in it. Hope not.

Edit - Read it now. Fairly low on detail, just says that he's a target for Gloucester to work alongside Teague.
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By MattM
Ollie already had a contract in place. Last year he signed on for his final season of academy and a guaranteed "senior contract" year.
Donnell I would hope has been offered the same deal.
I assumed with Cokanasiga he was referencing him coming from junior acedemy into the senior one (would seem silly to give him a full contract until we need to when the academy ones are protected with compensation... Especially considering what happened with his brother). I'd be more than happy to hear we were offering academy lads multiple year deals to see them through and into the full squad though. Would seem a sensible approach.
By Florida
Margin_Walker wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:39 pm
Yeah, saw that in the paper this morning. Didn't mention, as it was pretty ambiguous on Cokanasiga. Donnell being given a senior contract a year early wouldn't be a surprise.
That's why I raised it on this board rather than the other, much more likely to get a reasonable discussion / informed explanations
GHA liked this
Ha, true.

Will be interesting to see if any more (non third year) academy players skip onto a senior contract early as we look to replace middle earning squad players with cheaper youngsters.

Donnell is pretty clear cut and looks like it has happened. Atkins would be the other prime candidate for me. Guessing there will be some kind of clarity on the make up of the squad after the return to training.

Edit - Reading it again, it does sound from that quote like Cokanasiga has signed a senior contract
Last edited by Margin_Walker on Sun Jun 07, 2020 4:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Would certainly be the cost effective way to do things.

Given the current climate, I can't believe we won't be looking to save money wherever we can. We'll see. Hopefully there's nothing in it as whilst it's often hard to figure out how good a young coach is, Skivs definitely has something about him that projects credibility.
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By MattM
Florida wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 4:17 pm
If he's off, then I'd imagine Danaher would take the role, mainly because I'm not sure of what Danahers current role is...
That would be my assumption (and agreed on Danahers role).
I wonder if it would also be an opportunity to add a specialist backs/attack coach.
By Florida
MattM wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 7:02 pm
Florida wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 4:17 pm
If he's off, then I'd imagine Danaher would take the role, mainly because I'm not sure of what Danahers current role is...
That would be my assumption (and agreed on Danahers role).
I wonder if it would also be an opportunity to add a specialist backs/attack coach.
An attack coach? Oh how I dream of us having one of those. Sadly I've given up wishing for one, it hasn't been the club's priority for a while now. It's a shame because we've shown signs of how good we can be in attack, with a good coach we could really kick it up a gear.
By GC89
Salary cap lowered to £5m (plus marquees and credits).

Will be fascinating to see how this affects a number of clubs. Long term we may benefit with the quality of our academy. Short term I worry about the impact it will have on the retention of some of our more expensive talent.
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By Narbia
GC89 wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:29 pm
Japan I guess is the obvious market, but you raise a good point.
Good luck with that. :googledeyed: I wish the journeymen all the best in finding their berth in the new equilibrium.
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By Stevie J
Lot of people screaming Japan but I can't see how - it still has a rule limiting the number of non-Japanese players on the pitch. This is the Japan Times from May this year; ... t9Gf0VKirw

So i suppose, maybe, there might be competition for top signings but I can't see swathes of players from the middle of Prem clubs going to Japan when they can only play 3.

I think the more probable, sadder outcome is that these journeyman pros are going to end up going semi-pro or quitting the game altogether.
By Margin_Walker
Agree Stevie. I think it's hard not to conclude that the market for domestic rugby in the UK currently just can't support the amount of pro rugby players there are.

Hard not to envisage few professional players in 3 - 5 years. Unless there's a sudden spike in interest in club rugby it probably has to happen, as club revenue and player wage spend has been out of step for too long
Yeah, saw that. It's been pretty well signposted, but still a real shame and will leave a hole.

In other (tenuous) news, George Davis (7/hooker) and Terek Haffar (loosehead/8) were among a few academy lads training in someones garden on Chunya Munga's Instagram story the other day. Suggests the pair of them may be included in the coming academy intake along with Brooke.
By Florida
It sounds like the team have returned to training or are very close to (based on them stopping the power the NHS food drive on Fri 12 June). Hopefully that'll mean we'll soon get some idea of who the bloody squad is these days.
Such an odd situation isn't it. Clearly understandable and I don't envy the club trying to sort all the contractual situations out whilst dealing with the loss of revenue.

Would be great to get an idea of who will be finishing the season for us some time soon though though. Whenever that might be
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By MattM
Margin_Walker wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:10 pm
Just listening to a Wellington Sport podcast with Loader, Williams, Brand and Parton. Suggestion that Rossiter might have left Irish to go to uni. @ 14.00 on here ... s-of-2016/

That's how I took it anyway, but it's not 100% clear.
It does sound that way but as you say not a lot of clarity. Could be a situation similar to Austin Hay whereby he want 'away' to Uni but was still registered with the academy and had some involvement in games etc.
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