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O'Brien, Jackson head big-name cast coaching London Irish amateurs

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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London Irish Wild Geese, the Regional 2 Thames amateur team attached to the Gallagher Premiership club, have unveiled a big-name cast of coaches for the 2022/23 season which includes ex-Ireland internationals Sean O’Brien and Paddy Jackson. Having retired from playing in May, O’Brien has since taken up a role as a contact skills coach with his native Leinster.

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However, his ties at London Irish, whom he joined in 2019, haven’t been completely cut as he will be technical director of rugby for the Wild Geese who have a coaching roster consisting of head coach Ryan Gregory and assistants Hugh O’Sullivan, Jackson, Matt Cornish and Willie Lafolafo.   

Jackson, who will provide attack and skills coaching, hooked up with the Wild Geese at Irish towards the end of the 2021/22 season and he will now continue to assist the amateur side in what will be his fourth Premiership season playing at London Irish under Declan Kidney.  

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“I’m really looking forward to getting to know the players and coaches better this season and am excited at the prospect of where we can take this Wild Geese squad,” he told the club website. “Hazelwood is a fantastic home of rugby in South West London and if we can form a tighter relationship between the amateur and professional set up that will be an added bonus!”

Regarding the appointment of O’Brien, a statement read: “London Irish Amateur Rugby Football Club are privileged to announce Sean O’Brien will be taking up the role of technical director of rugby for the London Irish Wild Geese for the coming season 2022/2023.

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“Sean had a distinguished career and LIARFC are delighted he has accepted a formal role within the club. Last season Sean was a key part of the senior coaching structure and next season Sean will be working with his close colleague and new head coach for adult rugby, Ryan Gregory, who joins us having previously coached at Chobham and Camberley.”

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With Gregory also taking on the role of forwards coach, it leaves professional team scrum-half O’Sullivan assisting as backs and skills coach with fellow pro Matt Cornish serving as scrum coach. Lafolafo, a former rugby league pro player, will act as a strength and conditioning coach.    

The London Irish Wild Geese finished twelfth in London 1 South last season, the division that London Welsh were promoted from to Regional 1 South Central following their second place finish. 

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