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The 'devastated’ Ollie Hoskins breaks London Irish player silence

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Public reaction from the playing squad at London Irish to Tuesday evening’s suspension of the financially stricken club by the RFU has been in short supply, players largely keeping their counsel as they try to absorb the enormity of the Exiles no longer having a league to play in next term.

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Wallabies international Ollie Hoskins, though, broke the silence with his passionate tweet, an emotional post that gained a lot of traction. It was 2016 when the Australian first joined London Irish and his love for the club was always evident during his time there, as seen in this insightful interview he did last year with RugbyPass.

Following the confirmation that Irish had been suspended, the front-rower tweeted: “I’m completely devastated. This club meant more to me than just a job.

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“It was a legit home away from home and had people involved that I considered a part of my family. Thank you to all the fans, players and coaches over the last 7 years. It’s been incredible. I love you all.”

Hoskins’ message was warmly received, with numerous London Irish fans replying with sympathy and kind words.

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Steve Jones summed up the mood, writing: “Your pride and passion shone through on and off the pitch. It was a privilege to cheer you on and gutted we might never see you again in green. Seeing you win a Wallabies cap was so gratifying and a testament to all your growth.”

Another London Irish player to tweet was Ben Atkins. He wrote: “Playing professional rugby for London Irish has always been my dream, I feel so blessed to have done it for as long as I have but also immensely gutted to have it taken away in a manner such as this. Thank you for all the support over the years.”

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Club legend Topsy Ojo, another who had spoken passionately in the past to RugbyPass about London Irish, tweeted his feelings on Wednesday morning about the dire announcement that arrived just weeks after a fifth-place finish has been secured in the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership – their best effort in more than a decade.

“Gutted. Absolutely gutted. Didn’t have the words last night, so just spent a while reading everyone else’s messages about their fond memories. Angry, but just so sad that such a special club is gone. 125 years – should have been a year of celebration. And it didn’t have to end this way.

“I have had 20 brilliant years at this club. Good times and bad, it has been worth it all. I wouldn’t be where I am now without it and hope to continue representing the club with pride. Love to all the staff, players, coaches, wider family and especially the fans, thinking of you all.”

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Comments

2 Comments
R
Roy 406 days ago

Farcical law changes to the tackle height when the financial parameters around club ownership and management are failing.

Clubs have shown they can't manage themselves, even the more successful clubs need to inject cash to stay afloat.

When are the RFU going actually tackle this, how many clubs do we need to go into administration? Why is our professional game run so unprofessionally?

M
MitchO 407 days ago

People do need to get paid though

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Jon 2 hours ago
British & Irish Lions free agent open to Super Rugby switch

There are a couple of teams who could use a stop gap experienced head. Blues - I’m not sure the Blues have signed a replacement for Caleb Tangitau (if he hasn’t been let go to make room for Barrett) yet, or whether Reiko is going on sabbatical and/or will remain in the squad. With exciting young French player Xavi Taele looking destined for higher honors in black, talented breakthrough rookie Cory Evan’s, and a couple of utilities, in AJ Lam and Bryce Heem(even Clarke?), all trying to learn the midfield trade, Williams could be a great aid. The Blues signed key English center Joe Marchant before he was raised to that level, and were possibly in the hunt to bring back the dependable Tele’a from the Highlanders. Possible the main squeeze which would put to bed any signing here would be the battle at 10 with Beauden’s return, and the forcing of Plummer back into the midfield. Hurricanes - Jordie Barrett is off to Leinster for a sabbatical next year but the more likely signing would be Billy’s brother back in the team. The Hurricanes are light on the outside with the loss of Salesi Rayasi to the Top 14 and if no quality is found to back up Kini Naholo, the midfield of Sullivan or Proctors could find themselves on the wing and space for a leader to show the Hurricanes three All Black midfield hopefuls (Higgins, Proctor, Umaga-Jensen) how its done. Highlanders - Rotation is high as usual at the Highlanders and versatility remains a strength with a lot of the squad. With compatriot Rhys Patchell signing a move to the JRLO, the passing of outside back Connor Garden-Bachop, and confirmed departure of Argentine wing Martin Bogado, the versatility of many of the young backups in the squad could see a veteran 12 like Williams being a strong partner for the robust Tele’a. With hope that the other Umaga-Jensen brother can force him out of the starting lineup, and shifting the sides general Sam Gilbert back into 10, the off-contract midfielder might seen as the perfect option for a squad still looking to fill one back spot.

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