Smith ponders final London Irish signingBy Alan Manicom
July 25, 2012
London Irish are in no rush to add to their squad before the start of the season, insists Brian Smith.
Exiles’ director of rugby has money in his budget to strengthen.
But he believes he has a strong enough group of players to compete when the season gets underway on September 1.
And he won’t be pushed into making a move before the derby showdown against Saracens in the London Double Header at Twickenham, unless a top-class player becomes available.
Smith said: “There’s always someone on the horizon – the recruitment never stops, so we’re still looking at ways we can strengthen the squad for next season. That’s still an ongoing process”.
“We’re just looking at every opportunity and evaluating it on its merits, and we’re going from there.
“But I think we’ve got a competitive squad now. There are a few things that we could do to improve it, so if there are opportunities available at the right value then we’ll take advantage of it.”
Smith revealed that Irish will field a very strong side when they kick off their LV= Cup campaign against Sale Sharks at Madejski Stadium on November 11.
Irish will have played eight Aviva Premiership games and two Amlin Cup group qualifiers by that time.
But Smith has no intention of sacrificing the Anglo-Welsh competition by treating it as a chance to give senior players a rest.
In the past the club has seen the LV= Cup as more of an opportunity to develop youngsters than win silverware.
But Smith, whose side will also visit LV= Cup holders Leicester Tigers in the competition before their final two group qualifiers at home to Worcester Warriors and away to Cardiff Blues in the new year, said: “We want to compete at every angle.
"If there’s a trophy on offer, we’re going to go for it, and that’s the way we see the LV= Cup and the Premiership.
"We’re not going into anything to come second.
"We know it’s going to be super competitive in every competition we play in. We’re not there just to make up the numbers”.
“The boys are ambitious – they don’t want coaches trying to water things down and dilute their expectations.
“We know it’s not going to be easy. But the idea is to think big.”
“Every game we go into, we’re going to try to win it, so we’ll pick a team accordingly.”
To book their place in the semi-finals of the Anglo-Welsh competition, Exiles will need to finish with a better record than the three other teams in their pool – Saracens, Wasps and Scarlets.
Pool 1: Harlequins, Exeter, Gloucester, Newport Gwent Dragons.
Pool 2: Leicester, Sale, Worcester, Cardiff.
Pool 3: Saracens, London Irish, Wasps, Scarlets.
Pool 4: Northampton, Bath, London Welsh, Ospreys.
London Irish fixtures (to be confirmed) - Nov 11: Sale Sharks (h). Nov 16-18: Leicester (a). Jan 26: Worcester (h). Feb 1-3: Cardiff (a).