Fixtures - Top Bar

Paul Hodgson: Team effort delivered Under-18 trophy for London Irish

Paul Hodgson believes everyone at London Irish deserves credit for their Premiership Rugby / RFU Under 18 Academy competition title – from the owners all the way down to the players who didn’t make the squad for the final at Allianz Park.

Hodgson stated days like yesterday, when Irish U18s beat Gloucester Rugby U18s 35-11 to be crowned champions, was the reason himself, Nick Kennedy and Declan Danaher returned to the club to help run the Academy.

And the former England scrum-half, who is the Academy’s backs coach, said: “Testament to [president] Mick Crossan and the other owners of the club, alongside [chief executive] Bob Casey right at the top. We’ve got them to thank because they have really started to invest again in that academy structure.

“When me, Nick Kennedy and Declan Danaher came back to the club, this was the type of day we wanted to be a part of.

“Our first team coaches really believe in the youth and we have had some of these players training alongside the first team, just to try and develop a clear transition. At other clubs you may not see that, but at London Irish there is a clear pathway.”

Hodgson added: “This win was as a collective. “It was really important for us as a squad, including the non-players tonight, the other guys who have contributed, not just in the other games, but also in training.

“We pick from a squad of 37 or 38 and every single one of those boys has contributed. It’s our gold group at the Academy, they have been absolute pleasure to coach this year.”

The final match of the Premiership Rugby Under 18 Academy Finals Day saw the Northern and Southern Conference winners go head-to-head, with both having finished the regular season unbeaten.

Gloucester took the lead but Irish went on to win in style, with Matt Kouris, Matt Williams, Harry Norton and Ollie Hasslle-Collins all touching down.

“I’m extremely happy to say the least. I just thought the performance in the final was as pleasing as the result,” he said.

“We made a promise to ourselves that we would continue doing what we have done in the previous six games, which is expressing ourselves.

“We try to make the environment of the boys’ training as enjoyable as possible and hopefully you saw that out on the pitch – just them enjoying playing rugby – which is fundamental for us.

“We play a lot of game-sense, small-sided conditioning games and I think that came across. You saw that anyone can play scrum-half, we play at such a quick tempo and can move the ball from the breakdown quickly, so the defence can’t react quick enough. It served us well.”
 

Latest News

Meet Sale Sharks’ Curry twins – Ben and Tom

When Tom and Ben Curry travel with the England squad to Argentina, they will be looking to claim a record…

Ben and Tom Curry

Aviva Premiership Rugby European wrap: Saracens make final as Bath fall short

Aviva Premiership Rugby champions Saracens are into their third European Rugby Champions Cup final in four years after defying a…

Karl Dickson to retire at the end of the season

Harlequins scrum-half Karl Dickson has today (Monday 24th April) announced that he will retire from rugby at the end of…

Karl Dickson

Northampton Saints appoints new chief executive 

Northampton Saints has today announced that Mark Darbon is to be the club’s new chief executive. Darbon arrives at Franklin’s…

Mark Darbon

Donncha O’Callaghan signs new Worcester Warriors deal

Warriors are delighted to announce that British & Irish Lion Donncha O’Callaghan has signed a new deal with the Club.…

Donncha O'Callaghan

Match reaction: Stade Francais 28 Bath 25

Francois Louw praised Bath Rugby’s battling spirit but was left disappointed as they lost a dramatic European Challenge Cup semi-final…

Match Report: Stade Francais 28 Bath Rugby 25

Bath Rugby narrowly missed out setting up an all-Aviva Premiership Rugby final in the European Rugby Challenge Cup after a…

Aviva Premiership Rugby European wrap: Saracens and Gloucester Rugby celebrate Cup finals

Saracens and Gloucester Rugby are both celebrating places in this season’s European Rugby finals after the Aviva Premiership Rugby sides…

Match Reaction: La Rochelle 14 Gloucester Rugby 16

Gloucester Rugby director of rugby David Humphreys hailed his side’s ‘unbelievable effort’ as they produced a stirring defensive display to…

Match Reaction: Munster 10 Saracens 26

Mark McCall hailed Saracens’ amazing defence after they withstood a first-half assault against Munster and emerged victorious to book a…

Match Report: La Rochelle 14 Gloucester Rugby 16

Billy Burns scored all of Gloucester Rugby’s points and the Cherry & Whites produced an impressive defensive display to down…

Match Report: Munster 10 Saracens 26

Mako Vunipola and Chris Wyles scored vital tries as Saracens booked their place in the European Champions Cup final with…

Saracens ready for titanic Munster challenge

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall is expecting little sign of weakness from Munster when the two sides clash in…

Sell-out crowds confirmed for Champions Cup semi-finals

The semi-finals of the European Rugby Champions Cup will be played in front of sell-out crowds in Dublin and Lyon…

Sell-out crowds confirmed for Champions Cup semi-finals