The Wokingham Paper

INTERVIEW: Ollie Hoskins excited ahead of 'new era' at London Irish

Ollie Hoskins and Josh McNally
Ollie Hoskins scored in the first half

LONDON IRISH forward Ollie Hoskins says it is an exciting time to be at the club ahead of ‘a new era’ for the Exiles.

Hoskins, who signed a new contract at the club in November 2019, said:“It’s really exciting. It’s a new era for the club. 

“To have signed on and be part of the movement at Brentford, it’s a big factor to why I wanted to stick around at the club.

“Reading has been great for us and we need to do the fans in Reading justice with some quality performances. At the moment we’re five points outside of the top six, so if we can streak together some good performances over the next few weeks we can build momentum which is the goal going into next season.

“I love this club and I was really happy to re-sign. When I started speaking to Declan about the process, I was really keen to stay on board. 

“He mapped out the plan for the club over the next few years and it was something that I really wanted to be a part of. I’m so happy to be at this club, and the Premiership is where everyone wants to be, everyone wants to test themselves against the best players.

 “I have higher aspirations to play international rugby and play against the best each week so we need to start putting in performances that we can be proud of and push ourselves up the table.

Irish crashed out of the European Challenge Cup with a disappointing five defeats in six pool games, with their last game ending a loss to Scarlets at the Madejski Stadium.

The Exiles now turn their attention towards the Gallagher Premiership, where they travel away to face second placed Northampton Saints on Friday evening.
“We were not pleased with the result against Scarlets,” said Hoskins. 

“There were patches, particularly in the first half an hour, where we really got our game right and we were pretty dominant for that period, but we lost that towards the end of the half and then struggled to regain momentum. 

“We’ve been working a lot in training on our work off the ball. We’ve had some really tough training sessions this week and have worked a lot on set pieces.

“Every game we go into of course we try to win and we want to do well in every competition, but now our core focus is on the Premiership and we’ll now aim to try and rack up some points.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for us, it will be a hostile environment  and on a Friday night we expect it to be packed out.

“They’re obviously a really good team and have been one of the in form teams this season so we’re under no illusions that it’s going to be a really tough battle for us but we’re planning to win the game. We want to take the sting out of their crowd early and build some momentum. 

“If you look at the way they play, they play a really expansive game and have a good attacking shape. All of their boys have got really good skills and they have a lot of dangerous players. 

Irish were handed a boost this week with the news that Saracens will face automatic relegation from the league, saving the Exiles from the threat of playing Championship rugby next season.
Speaking on Saracens relegation and the aims for the rest of Irish’s season, Hoskins said: “We haven’t focused on it at all, it’s not something I have a lot of knowledge on. We want to focus on our own performances and base ourselves on our own game. 

“If we are playing good rugby, we want to base ourselves on that rather than what has happened at other clubs.

“You’ve got boys who have played at the World Cup a couple of months ago, it’s raised the standard at training. We demand a lot of ourselves. 

“I’m confident that we are on the right path and that results will start changing for us soon. Having all of these international players around really does drive the standards up.”

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