By M_W
On another note, it's good to see that they seem to have kept on some of the younger guys in the senior set up that have been starved of game time this year (Brand, ICH, Cooke etc). In any normal season they would have had games in lesser comps to stake a claim, but that's not been possible here.

They should at least get that opportunity next season now.
Jeez, got that really muddled in the tightie/loosie scheme of things.

Absolutely right that with just Lovejoy/Hos, we're desperate for cover, and it's where big money should be spent.

And bang on re: the youngsters. Would be brilliant to see a bunch of them filter in seamlessly to the first team, as Donnell and the back three have lately. Excited to see if the England training squad call galvanises Munga, would love to see Cooke come through (I wish it didn't seem so necessary for him to put on 10kg), and I'd especially love it if Atkins proved me wrong.

I'd say the high hopes are with Will Joseph though, and I also think Phil Cokanasiga might have many more gears in him . Fingers crossed.
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By MattM
M_W wrote:
Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:50 am
Will be interesting to see whether they are counting Academy promotions in those incoming numbers. So definitely Donnell, probably Englefield and Munga (a year early), possibly Izzy/Atkins (although they may be struggling)
The impression I got is a further 5 people coming in who are completely new to the club. At a guess they'll be distributed as:
Tighthead Prop
Scrum Half
2 x Outside backs (would like one true full back and one who can maybe cover in the centres).

In addition we have a number of lads graduating from senior academy to first team squad by the sounds of it (some of whom are already making appearances on the regular).
Ben Atkins
Ben Donnell
Caolan Englefield
Izzy Moore -Aiono

I think Chunya Munga and Josh Smart have another year in the academy but they could be graduating too....
|Strictly speaking Phil Cokanasiga is still a second year academy player too, but as he is listed in the first team squad I assume he has a full contract already.
Yeah looks like the right profile for us, battle hardened, plenty of appearances at the top table, good enough to get international caps at one point, not too old.

A couple of articles about him going to La Rochelle as a medical joker last season suggest he was struggling for form with the Bulls, but obviously his form wasn't an issue for La Rochelle, and another article about him moving to us says he was also wanted by French clubs. Now all we need is an announcement!
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By Florida
His form was pretty poor while at Bulls and he struggled to get any game time, but as we all know form is temporary. Get a good pre-season under his belt with a bunch of lads that genuinely seem to love the environment they're in and I'm sure we'll see him back to his best.
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By MattM
Florida wrote:
Mon Jun 21, 2021 2:20 pm
Although we were linked with Juan Pablo Socino, he's joining Tiggers
As long as we have someone who can play centre coming in (and Kidney stated we have a like-for-like Theo replacement, so we should) I'm not too bother by this. Socino is a solid player but I feel like he is past his peak and would prefer a player who could stake their claim to the shirt in the longer term.
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GHA wrote:
Mon Jun 21, 2021 5:22 pm
Were there Lozowski rumours a very long time ago or am I making that up? And if they were, any chance they've re-surfaced?
There was a strong rumour he was coming on loan to us, only for the deal to be scuppered by the pandemic.

Would be fantastic if it was revived and completed, but I suspect that ship has sailed.
By GC89
Happy with that. Hope he gets some more meaningful games next season. Thought he was great against Leicester and Sale and then disappeared as the season progressed. You obviously need the balance of the other back row players alongside him to be right, but he definitely has something to bring to the table.
Great news, he's a definite talent and bleeds green. Very good consistent tackler, decent lineout option and quite quick on his feet. Think he suffered a bit recently from us having lighter lock combinations which meant he was often on the back foot, but think he'll thrive if we can have Coleman and Mafi in the same pack as him.
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By MattM
I suppose you can still be a strong scrummager but struggle against other SA props... Sounds a lot like a muddled season that never really got started for him.
Hopefully (assuming he is signing with us) some continuity will find him back to his best.
By M_W
The 'long term ankle problem' is more of a worry than the form thing for me. He was very good for Toulon and I wouldn't worry too much about one disrupted season.

Fitness is another matter though and would like to think they'll have carried out some fairly extensive due diligence on that front.
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By GC89
I'm with you MW. He has proven in Europe that he can be a really dominant scrummager and powerful in the loose (from the highlights that I have seen). One poor half-season in South Africa doesn't change that. However, the injury would be a bit more of a concern for me. Famous last words, but I am sure we have done our due diligence! All in all, he would be a much better signing in terms of profile than what I was hoping for...
By GC89
Happy enough with that. Someone elsewhere said he wasn't a big step up on Brand, but I think they are fundamentally different players. With Jackson at 10 and with the keys to run the team, what we need is someone who can do the basics well and feed him the ball with good, accurate service. I think White seems a bit more likely to do that than Brand at the moment. Still very young and definitely with potential to improve. Let's see how he goes.
By M_W
White would be a decent signing.

Similar age, but vastly more experienced and with better basics than Brand (IMO). Albeit that Brand has had limited opportunities, which have held him back.
By GC89
Am a bit surprised by that one. I was a big fan of his when he was on the scene earlier on, but although he has put in some decent performances, they haven't quite been at the level to force his way into the 23. There are now a whole host of younger players snapping at his heels, so would suggest next season is a bit of a "make or break" one for him. Good luck to him.
By M_W
I guess the thing with guys like him is that it would be a real shame to have expended so much energy in him only to be released this season, when he's not had an opportunity.

If there is the cap room it makes sense to give him one more season in which, at the very least he'll get proper Prem Cup gametime. Something that wasn't a possibility this year.
By Florida
GHA wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 10:39 am
Signing to be announced at 12 - Van Der Merwe, White, or AN Other?
Ben White. As per usual they post articles on the offie serially. ... on/bp3014/

If you increase the bp3014 to bp3015 and so on and so forth you'll see a bunch of headlines for articles soon to be posted (some extensions, Ben's sigining and new sponsors etc)
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Ah, so new deals for Stokes and Jacob Atkins and the signing of Ben White all TBA

Nothing against Stokes and Atkins but I was wondering / hoping if we might see upgrades on those two. I like Stokes but he's no Fenby, and I like Atkins but he's no TBC - although he might be backup to TBC's replacement
By M_W
Yeah, think it was fairly certain both had resigned when they weren't on the leavers list.

Atkins should be third choice, as I'd like to think we have an experienced ten coming in. Stokes is a pretty versatile squad man and probably not too expensive, so makes sense for me.
#32517 ... al/bp3016/

London Irish have completed the signing of scrum-half Ben White.

The 23 year-old, who left Leicester Tigers at the end of the 2020/21 season, has put pen to paper on a deal with the Exiles and will link up with his new team-mates in pre-season next month.

White made history when he became the youngest player in Leicester Tigers’ Premiership history when he came off the bench against Harlequins in September 2016, aged just 17 years and 151 days.

He made nine appearances in all competitions for the Tigers last term, having clocked up over 50 in the previous two campaigns.

White expressed his delight at agreeing a deal with the Exiles, commenting: “I’m really excited to be here.

“I feel this is just the kind of fresh challenge I need at this stage of my career.

“There’s a really talented group here and I can’t wait to get going with the boys in pre-season.”

London Irish’s Director of Rugby, Declan Kidney, added: “We are delighted to welcome Ben to the Club.

“He’s a really promising scrum-half, with great experience despite his age.

“We want to develop a group of young scrum halves under the mentorship of Nick Phipps to bring the Club forward.

"Ben knows a good few of the boys already from their time together with England U20's. We’re excited about getting to work with him in pre-season.”
Maybe, or just may be an extension of existing terms to give players another chance. We really need an A League fixture list or to dual reg some of these boys with Scottish or Esher to give them some experience.
By M_W
I think they have to move onto a senior contract now as they've done three years academy.

May be similar money though.

LS not participating in the Championship (and there being no ND1) was a real pain, as a few of these lads would have got a run of games there.
Florida wrote:
Mon Jun 28, 2021 10:49 am
New signing incoming at 12 today, you've got to think it's our new prop
Someone somewhere said they saw him at Hazelwood and he was a big ol' boy. A big name out of left field would be nice (if that even happens any more) but yeah all signs point to the prop
By Florida
GHA wrote:
Mon Jun 28, 2021 11:01 am

Someone somewhere said they saw him at Hazelwood and he was a big ol' boy. A big name out of left field would be nice (if that even happens any more) but yeah all signs point to the prop
Well, we've got 7 signings to be announced 2 of which we've had rumours of and there's the Huw Jones that was rumoured, then scuppered and then possibly back on. That leaves 4 - 5 left field / unknowns.

I'm actually quite annoyed with the club as they've done a cracking job at keeping the (accurate) rumours and leaks to a minimum but they're doing bugger all to bump up our excitement for the new recruits!
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