From international call-ups to players on loan, the London Irish Academy has had a positive number of weeks.
A spike in Irish players being called up to represent their loan clubs has been due to the youngest members of the squad being relieved of their Premiership Rugby Cup duties for the next fortnight.
The cup tournament allowed much of the Senior Academy not only to make their senior debut, but also to buy valuable pitch time in already momentous victories in the Exiles campaign.
Player appearances have not been capped at the Premiership Rugby Cup, with two current Senior Academy staff included in the last three Gallagher Premiership rounds.
Here’s how the Academy is taking shape after the first month of the season.
National League playing time
Jarlath Gleeson (second row), Louis Kirkham (back), George Makepeace-Cubitt (centre), Oran Murphy (prop) and Calum Scott (hooker) played for Barnes second team against Blackheath second team at the weekend last.
Makepeace-Cubitt, Murphy and Scott won 40 minutes for the team, while forwards Gleeson and Kirkham played 60 and 80 minutes respectively.
Scrum-half Ollie Allan and Lucas Brooke (back row) lined up for the Rams’ first and second teams over the weekend, earning 20 and 50 minutes respectively for the Reading-based sides.
Henley used the services of Oliver Stirling (back row) and Connor Cross (centre), each involved from the first whistle to the last.
Afolabi Fasogbon (prop) and Jack Walsh (centre) starred for Esher’s second team in a win over Worthing’s second team, both seeing the full 80.
Premiership Rugby Cup – make an impact!
More than half of the matchday squad in each of the London Irish’s first two Premiership Rugby Cup encounters against Harlequins and Northampton Saints were products of the London Irish Academy system.
In the opening game of the Irish competition against rivals Harlequins, the Exiles lined up with nine current Senior Academy players on Matchday 23, with five more Academy graduates and 12 debutants in total in the team of the day.
14 players, or 60.9% of the squad, were Academy players, past or present.
Academy wing duo Alexander Harmes and Michael Dykes each contributed a try to the Irishman’s four total touchdowns that day, Hugh O’Sullivan also scored and hooker Patrick Harrison made his first appearance.
The Exiles followed a famous win with perhaps another to add to the history books, with six senior Academy players playing their part in the team that defeated the Saints.
Seven Academy graduates made the squad and one Academy player made his first appearance for the London Irish, scrum-half Ollie Allan, with another 56.6% of the matchday squad passing by the London Irish Academy.
The Irishman’s 28 points came in the second half, coming from 19-0 up at the break with tries from Hallam Chapman (2) and Logan Trotter in their respective second outings for the Irish, before the all-important final penalty. try.
London Irish now sit atop Pool 3 of the Premiership Rugby Cup after the first block of fixtures, being one of only two sides to reach maximum points available in the first two matches so far (TBC). ).
Gallagher Premiership – stats and debuts
Two senior Academy players have achieved minutes in the Gallagher Premiership since the start of the season in September.
Chandler Cunningham-South has featured in London Irish’s last three Gallagher Premiership games against Northampton Saints, Bristol Bears and Bath Rugby.
The backline striker had three tackles in 11 minutes at Northampton and 16 tackles (the third for the Irish) and a turnover earned against Bristol.
Joe Vajner had a whirlwind few weeks, making an appearance with Esher while also making his Irish debut in London in both the Gallagher Premiership and the Premiership Rugby Cup.
Vajner played the final five minutes of action at Ashton Gate as the Exiles collected two bonus points, continuing to play the final 40 minutes of the Irishman’s comeback win over Northampton Saints and then a late appearance against Bath.
Academy products in England training squad inclusion
Taking place from Sunday (2) to Tuesday (4), Henry Arundell, Will Joseph and Tom Pearson attended a training camp in England after being selected by Eddie Jones last week.
The recent Senior Academy graduates, each of whom joined Jones’ training squads last season, spent the first part of their week off under Jones’ tutelage and started their 2022/23 campaigns in style.
Following their England debut in Australia in the summer, the Irish international backs continued their fine form with Arundell scoring three tries in four games and Joseph two in four.
Pearson also made his mark in the Gallagher Premiership and ranked in the top three tacklers in every Irish league game while also being in the top 10 tacklers in the division overall.
England’s first camp of the season is in preparation for the exceptional autumn international schedule at Twickenham next month, starting with a test against 6th-placed Argentina, before games against 12th-placed Japan , New Zealand (19th) and South Africa of Rassie Erasmus (26th).
England Under-18s invited to training camp
Five players from the London Irish Under-18 Academy have been invited to take part in the England Under-18 training squad over the weekend.
Ralph McEachran (prop), Sam Rockley (wing), Rory Taylor (opener), Kepu Tuipulotu (back) and Cameron Ellis (center), all took part in the camp organized for Jonathan Pendlebury’s team.
Rory Taylor played his part on England’s Under-18 tour of South Africa, scoring the winning penalty in a victory over the South African Under-18 side.