London Irish is delighted to announce that four players who were members of the London Irish AASE (Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence) team last year will be joining the Exiles Academy.
David Sisi, Jack Moates, James Lightfoot-Brown and Ben Pritchard will join current Academy players Guy Armitage, Max Lahiff, Jamie Gibson, Kieran Low and Marland Yarde in the Academy next season.
All four players will be looking to follow in the footsteps of two of this seasons Academy graduates who will be joining the London Irish senior squad for next season. Matt Garvey, who can play in the second row or back row, will be moving up to the senior squad along with Jonathan Joseph who can play on the wing or at outside centre. Both Matt and Jonathan make the step up after spending two seasons in the Academy.
Matt Garvey received the defender of the season award at the recent London Irish end of season awards for having a tackling completion rate of over 95%. Jonathan Joseph received the young player of the season award for his strong performances in defence and attack across the season. Jonathan ended the campaign with five Premiership tries to his name.
One of the new London Irish Academy recruits includes David Sisi, who can play in the second row or in the back row. David appeared for London Irish in an LV=Cup fixture this season, when he made his debut for The Exiles against Sale Sharks.
Sisi, who captained the London Irish AASE side, made his international debut for the England U18 side against Ireland at Donnybrook last December.
Scrum half Jack Moates joins as the AASE team’s top try scorer and has been ever present in the A league side this season.
James Lightfoot-Brown, who can play either scrum half or fly half, appeared in the JPMorgan Premiership Rugby Sevens and A League this season. Like David Sisi he has been an integral part of the England U18 side.
Ben Pritchard is an openside flanker who has also played in the Aviva A league this season.
London Irish Academy Manager, Neal Hatley said: “All four players are very useful additions to the Academy for next season. It is always a difficult process selecting players to join our Academy but we have a lot of confidence in the four players we have selected. David, James, Jack and Ben know they have a lot of work in front of them over the next few years and we know they will be up for the challenge.”
London Irish AASE head coach, Giselle Mather said: “I am thrilled to have our first contracted players going through from our AASE scheme to the Academy in only our second season. To have four players move through the ranks really shows how well our system is working. It shows that if the hard work is put in there is a clear route to a career in professional rugby.