The Wokingham Paper

INTERVIEW: London Irish centre Matt Williams praises world class recruitment

Matt Williams sprints past a tackle.
London Irish v Harlequins Matt Williams sprints past a tackle.

London Irish centre Matt Williams praised the ambitious recruitment of the club following their promotion to the top division last season and believes there are exciting times ahead.

The Exiles secured their place back in the Gallagher Premiership for the 2019/20 season after winning the Championship last season and have acquired a number of high profile international players over the summer.

“I think Declan has brought in a lot of world class players and that will help to drive the standards of the club and help to push us to where we want to go,” said Williams. 

“We’re gathering a nice mix of experienced internationals and younger players coming up through the ranks and that variety is really what we need to move forward.

Irish kick off their Premiership campaign with a trip to Coventry to face Wasps on the opening weekend on Sunday, October 20.

“We’re really looking forward to our first game back in the Premiership,” Williams continued.

“It will be a tough game up at Wasps, they play good expansive rugby and have a good history of scoring a lot of points so we will make sure we match them. We will be going up there with a quiet bit of confidence. 

“We know what we need to focus on in each game when we do our analysis and preparation for each team. We believe in ourselves and I think we can do really well this season so we’ll go out there to prove a point and show the belief that we have in ourselves. 

Irish are in Premiership Cup action again on Saturday as they host Sale at the Madejski Stadium in their final group game in the competition following a defeat away at Bristol Bears last weekend. 

“It was a disappointing result for us in Bristol because obviously we were looking to win the game. There were stages where we were very much on top but potentially it was little errors that let us down and they scored a few tries in quick succession which put the game out of our reach.

“We’re targeting a win against Sale to try and qualify from the group. They’ve won all three of their games and they’re a very physical side so I think they will try and bring that down to the Mad Stad.

“We’ve done our analysis and we’re looking forward to try and right some wrongs from last week.”

Williams praised the home support from the Irish fans ahead of the clubs final season in Reading before moving back to London for the start of the 2020/21 campaign.

“The Madejski is the only home stadium I’ve had as a rugby player. We love the support that we get there and we’ll make sure we give it a good sendoff before we move next season. 

“The club is in a very exciting period and we have ambitions to drive the club on. All the stepping stones and foundations are there for a very exciting next period for the club.”

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