Exiles hand Premiership debuts to four new caps

London Irish plans to take the momentum of a strong finish to last season and the hard work of a tough pre-season into tomorrow’s London Double Header match with Saracens at Twickenham Stadium (kick-off 2.30pm)

“We’ve gone for a tough pre-season to ensure that we’re as well prepared as possible,” said Toby Booth, London Irish’s Head Coach.

“Last weekend we played Leinster, the champions of Europe in Dublin, the previous weekend we played Munster, the Magners League champions, in Cork.”

The 23-man squad announced by the Exiles for tomorrow’s match contains 16 full internationals, 11 in the starting XV and five among the replacements. Four players are set to make their Guinness Premiership debuts for the club, all are new signings, Paulica Ion, Ryan Lamb and Andy Perry are in the starting line-up and George Stowers is among the replacements.

“Who would have predicted that we would be starting the season playing a Saracens team whose Director of Rugby is our old friend and former player/coach, Brendan Venter,” said Toby Booth.

“Brendan brings a lot of values, not least passion and organization, to a good Saracens squad who will be full of confidence after a very convincing pre-season programme.

“Our 2009-10 squad is the most competitive we’ve had in my eight seasons at the club and we’re looking forward to competing in both the Guinness Premiership and in Europe,” Booth continued. “Our supporters are excited about what lies ahead and we want to show them the true colours and passion we represent.”

15. Delon Armitage; 14. Adam Thompstone; 13. Elvis Seveali’i; 12. Seilala Mapusua; 11. Sailosi Tagicakibau; 10. Ryan Lamb; 9. Paul Hodgson; 1. Clarke Dermody (captain); 2. Danie Coetzee, 3. Paulica Ion; 4. Nick Kennedy; 5. Andy Perry; 6. Declan Danaher; 7. Steffon Armitage; 8. Chris Hala’Ufia.

16. Dan Murphy; 17. James Buckland; 18. Faan Rautenbach; 19. Bob Casey; 20. George Stowers; 21. Peter Hewat; 22. Peter Richards; 23. Alfredo Lalanne.

Head Coach: Toby Booth; Attack Coach: Mike Catt; Defence Coach: Dave Ellis.

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