New captain Matt Rogerson believes it is time for London Irish to kick on


att Rogerson, London Irish’s new club captain, believes it is time for a settled squad to kick on and compete higher up the Premiership table.

They have added Springbok prop Marcel van der Merwe over the summer, which should add some set-piece ballast to their free-flowing game.

He slots into the 23 for tomorrow’s trip to Worcester that also contains experienced Aussie locks Rob Simmons and Adam Coleman, veteran Argentina hooker Agustin Creevy and the Irish internationals Paddy Jackson and Sean O’Brien.

Combined with the youthful promise of the likes of Tom Parton and Ollie Hassell-Collins in the back three, Irish have an increasingly stable look to their team, and skipper Rogerson believes it is time to shoot up the table.

It could be a big year for London Irish wing and England call-up Ollie Hassell-Collins (left)

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“Obviously with any recruitment drive – and we did the bulk of our recruitment at the start of the season before last – when you do that level of bringing people in there is always going to be a period of time where everyone gets used to each other, forming relationships on and off the pitch,” he told Standard Sport.

“We have retained the vast amount of the squad from that recruitment drive a couple of years ago, and we are in the best place now that we have been to hopefully kick on.

“Our squad is pretty settled, which hopefully puts us in a position to kick on, with the talent we have in the squad – senior guys as well as youngsters – we feel we can definitely challenge for the top end of the table.”

Rogerson believes that not having any British and Irish Lions – who are unavailable for the first few weeks of the season – or England regulars, who pop off periodically for international duty – can help Irish.

“We have the benefit of having international experiences, but it tends not to be Northern Hemisphere,” he said.

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