Boss Kidney welcomes the new home of the London Irish

London Irish rugby director Declan Kidney says his squad is excited about the chance to return to the capital after 20 years in Reading.

The Irish first trained at Brentford Community Stadium on Friday, two weeks before their first home game of the Premiership rugby season against Leicester, and Kidney believes the 17,250-seat venue they will share with Brentford is ideally suited to rugby.

“It’s top notch, it really is,” said Kidney.

“The specification, inside and out, is all you can hope for and I personally believe it is the perfect size for a rugby pitch.

“It’s up to us to come and give the fans something to cheer about when the gates finally open.”

The Exiles left The Avenue, their home for 68 years, in 1999 and spent a season with Harlequins before moving their home games to the Madejski Stadium in 2000.

While the club maintained their training base in Sunbury, many long-time fans refused to ride the M4 regularly, and the team lived mostly in south-west London.

Former Irish national coach Kidney hopes the sense of belonging can lead to better results on the field after the team struggled hard after being suspended and lost eight of their last nine games to finish third from bottom.

“To be back in town there are a lot of players in the area. Reading has been very good for us, but if you have an hour out to play it’s not ideal,” he said.

“It just feels like home, you drive past it most days and when you step out of the house it feels like a real rugby pitch.”

London Herald