Geraghty took 50 per cent pay cut to rejoin London Irish, says SmithBy Alan Manicom
May 23, 2012
Shane Geraghty was so keen to return to London Irish that he agreed to join his former club on half the salary he was earning at Brive.
The 25-year-old fly-half is desperate to resurrect his international career with England.
And Exiles’ director of rugby Brian Smith insists: “He is coming back to London Irish for the right reasons.
“He is probably taking a 50-per-cent pay cut to come back to England.
“He is going to try to force his way into that 2015 World Cup squad and he will have our full support.”
Geraghty is returning to the club three years after his acrimonious departure for Northampton Saints prompted former head coach Toby Booth to say: “We were not prepared to be held over a barrel in terms of financial demands.”
But Smith believes that Geraghty has proved that his motives are not financial.
He said: “When a club loses a player who has come through its academy obviously it is not going to be happy, but it is a professional game.
“Shane was doing what he felt was in his best interest and London Irish very quickly snapped up Ryan Lamb from Gloucester at the time.
“So both parties had alternative options.
“Players leave clubs, but we don’t want to look backwards just forward.
“The fact that Shane knows the place here means he will settle in very quickly.
“He can be productive for us from day one.”
Geraghty broke into the England team while he was at Irish, but was unable to add to his six caps in his subsequent seasons at Northampton and French Top 14 club Brive.
Smith, though, believes that he will be returning to the club a better player this summer.
He said: “Shane’s a genuine game-breaking ball player and all ball players get better as they get older.
“Your decision-making becomes a little more refined.
“He is not the 21-year-old kid who people possibly remember him as. He is more mature.”
Geraghty, like Smith, returns to Irish after being away for three years.
And Smith, who came back to Exiles in March after a spell as England’s attack coach, said: “I have followed his career with a lot of interest.
“Obviously I was happy to work with him when I was with the England team and Shane played the majority of his tests when I was there.
“I think if anything Shane has refined his game.
“He has always had an outstanding running game. He has worked very hard on his kicking game and his decision-making is very good.”
Geraghty has agreed a two-year deal with Irish and Smith is hoping he will form a formidable half-back partnership with Ireland and Lions scrum-half Tomas O’Leary, who has been recruited from Munster.
But he added: “We could play him at 10 or 12.
“London Irish’s most productive era was when Shane Geraghty was involved with the squad.
“He has a lot of X factor about him and I have a lot of time for him.”
Irish are expected to unveil their new forwards coach for next season later this week.
Nottingham director of rugby Glenn Delaney and former Bath forwards coach Martin Haag are believed to have been in the frame, and a decision is now thought to have been taken on a replacement for Bath-bound Toby Booth and Neal Hatley.
But the club are not yet ready to announce who they have chosen.