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London Irish allay cancellation fears by naming power-packed XV

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

London Irish have allayed fears that their final match of the Gallagher Premiership season might not take place as they have named a matchday squad featuring nearly all their star players. Skipper Matt Rogerson had suggested on Thursday that there was still a doubt about the game going ahead as his team hadn’t yet seen physical evidence that they were insured to play.


“We have asked for tangible evidence that medical insurance is in place,” said Rogerson at the time following a week of negative headlines about the club. “We want to see a physical version or copy so that it is something that we can rely on.

“So far we have had verbal reassurance from the club that it is in place, but the next step for us is to have that reaffirmed with physical evidence. I’m also quietly confident that information should get out to us hopefully over the next 24, 48 hours, which will give us the confidence to go and play the game knowing that’s in place.”

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Charlie Ewels explains how he ended up playing at Loftus Versfeld
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Charlie Ewels explains how he ended up playing at Loftus Versfeld

The concerns at London Irish were ignited after payday last Friday came and went without the 130 players and staff at the club being remunerated. The Exiles are currently the subject of a takeover with American investors, and it wasn’t until Thursday evening that current owner Mick Crossan reportedly stepped in and paid the delayed salaries.

With that issue put to bed for now, it paved the way for director of rugby Declan Kidney to announce his team as planned at noon on Friday. A statement read: “Danilo Fischetti, Agustin Creevy and Oliver Hoskins form the front row, with Api Ratuniyarawa and Rob Simmons in the second row.


“Matt Rogerson captains the side from the six shirt and is joined in the back row by Juan Martin Gonzalez and So’otala Fa’aso’o. Ben White and Paddy Jackson combine to form the halfback duo, and Rory Jennings links up with Benhard van Rensburg in the centres. Lucio Cinti, Ben Loader and Henry Arundell complete the line-up as the back three.”

Exeter, meanwhile, have made wholesale changes following last Sunday’s Heineken Champions Cup semi-final loss to La Rochelle in Bordeaux. Just five of last weekend’s starters are retained. Henry Slade is one of them and will skipper the side from centre. He is joined in the backline by winger Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, who is set to make his first-ever Premiership start.


Up front, Jannes Kirsten is the only confirmed departee who features. Jonny Gray’s knee injury and Dafydd Jenkins’ suspension mean the Chiefs are light in the engine room and he packs down alongside the recalled Jack Dunne.

LONDON IRISH: 15. Henry Arundell; 14. Ben Loader, 13. Benhard van Rensburg, 12. Rory Jennings, 11. Lucio Cinti; 10. Paddy Jackson, 9. Ben White; 1. Danilo Fischetti, 2. Agustin Creevy, 3. Oliver Hoskins, 4. Api Ratuniyarawa, 5. Rob Simmons, 6. Matt Rogerson (capt), 7. Juan Martin Gonzalez, 8. So’otala Fa’aso’o. Reps: 16. Mike Willemse, 17. Tarek Haffar, 18. Lovejoy Chawatama, 19. Josh Caulfield, 20. Tom Pearson, 21. Chandler Cunningham-South, 22. Joe Powell, 23. James Stokes.

EXETER: 15. Josh Hodge; 14. Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, 13. Henry Slade (capt), 12. Ollie Devoto, 11. Tom Wyatt; 10. Harvey Skinner, 9. Stu Townsend; 1. Alec Hepburn, 2. Jack Innard, 3. Josh Iosefa-Scott, 4. Jannes Kirsten, 5. Jack Dunne, 6. Jacques Vermeulen, 7. Christ Tshiunza, 8. Greg Fisilau. Reps: 16. Iestyn Harris, 17. Billy Keast, 18. Marcus Street, 19. Mike Williams, 20. Aidon Davis, 21. Tom Cairns, 22. Tom Hendrickson, 23. Dan John.


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