London Irish confirm squad for promotion push

11:58 AM GMT

London Irish have announced Rob McCusker, Chris Noakes and Leo Halavatau have all been released as they confirm their squad for the 2016-17 season.

The team have dodged a post-relegation exodus retaining the bulk of their first-choice squad for next season’s promotion push in the Championship with the likes of Scotland international Blair Cowan, All Black prop Ben Franks and England Under 20 backs Johnny Williams and Theo Brophy-Clews staying put.

The Exiles’ new director of rugby Nick Kennedy said: “It’s great to have everyone back for pre-season following the summer break and I know that the players are itching to right the wrongs of last season.

“I’m excited at the prospect of what the new recruits can bring to the table in what is a promising squad with a lot of ambition.

“The Championship is going to be a tough competition and we will need to be fully prepared for the challenge that lies ahead.”

Forwards: Ben Franks, Blair Cowan, Conor Gilsenan, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (Northampton Saints), David Paice, Dave Porecki (Saracens), George Robson (Oyonnax), Gerard Ellis, Harry Elrington, Isaac Curtis Harris, Jebb Sinclair, Jerry Sexton (Exeter Chiefs), Joe Trayfoot, Luke Narraway, Matt Kouris, Ofisa Treviranus, Ollie Hoskins (Western Force), Max Northcote-Green (Bath Rugby), Mike Coman (Edinburgh Rugby), Richard Palframan, Sebastian De Chaves (Leicester Tigers), Tom Court, Tom Smallbone, Will Lloyd

Backs: Alex Lewington, Aseli Tikoirotuma, Brendan McKibbin, Ciaran Hearn, Conor Murphy, Darren Allinson, Fergus Mulchrone, Greig Tonks, James Marshall (Hurricanes), Joe Cockanasiga, Johnny Williams, Matt Williams, Rory Brand, Ross Neal, Scott Steele, Shane Geraghty, Theo Brophy Clews, Tommy Bell (Leicester Tigers), Tom Fowlie, Tom Parton, Topsy Ojo

Out: Andrew Fenby (retired), Geoff Cross (retired), Nic Rouse (retired), Tom Guest (retired), George Skivington (retired), Rob McCusker (released), Chris Noakes (released), Leo Halavatau (released), Tom Cruse (Wasps), Sean Maitland (Saracens), Matt Symons (Wasps), Jonny Harris (London Scottish), Jimmy Stevens (Nottingham Rugby), Halani Aulika (Sale Sharks), Dominic Waldouck (Ohio)

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