New era dawns for Exiles

Wed, 18 Dec 2013 08:47
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London Irish flank Declan Danaher believes that the recent takeover of the Premiership side signals a bright future.

London Irish flank Declan Danaher believes that the recent takeover of the Premiership side signals a bright future.

As a one club man, Danaher is increasingly becoming the exception as opposed to the norm in the modern game.

But the flanker is hopeful London Irish can soon start bucking the trend following the club's takeover.

During his 14 years at Sunbury Danaher has likely seen it all, but even he can't fail to get excited following the news of last weekend's takeover.

It means that while London Irish might be languishing second-from-bottom in the Premiership right now - having lost their last four after securing a surprise victory over Harlequins at the beginning of October - fans can look forward to the future.

High profile signings such as Wallabies playmaker James O'Connor and Springbok World Cup-winning prop CJ van der Linde have added to the sense of optimism.

Having only ever pulled on a London Irish shirt, Danaher includes himself as a fan of the club, along with fellow stalwart Topsy Ojo who made his 200th appearance for the club in last month's 19-12 defeat to London Wasps.

But the 33-year-old is hoping their number will swell far beyond two moving forward, especially with the likes of Marland Yarde making himself known on the international stage in 2013.

"The future looks bright and this takeover has really helped create a good feeling around the club, even though the results haven't been what we would have hoped recently," he said.

"I am looking forward to the next couple of years now and what we can become not just on the pitch but also off it with the new academy and stadium.

"I have met the businessmen and they are clever and intelligent guys who have been successful in business and hopefully they can transfer that over to the club.

"Hopefully it means that we can keep hold of our young, exciting talents as it is something we have always been good at in the past with the likes of Topsy, Delon Armitage and Marland to name but a few.

"Ideally we will be able to hold on to our best academy prospects and add to them with good signings like James O'Connor and push up the table."

Last time out London Irish fell to a 32-14 defeat at the hands of Stade Français that saw the Top 14 side jump to the top of their Challenge Cup pool.

And Danaher admitted handing them control of Pool Five made the defeat even more galling.

"It was a really frustrating loss out in France because we played alright in the first half but just had a crazy ten minute-spell where we put ourselves under too much pressure," he added.

"Going over there we could have afforded to lose but handing them an extra bonus point means they have control of the pool now.

"It is really frustrating but we will just have to keep plugging away and see what happens."

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