London Irish have added three school leavers to their Senior Academy, joining with immediate effect as Irish turn from the 2019/20 season to look ahead to 2020/21.
Rory Morgan, Marcus Rhodes, and Theo Smerdon are the new recruits and will link up with fellow June/July 2020 school leavers Joe Vajner, Lucas Brooke, Will Joseph, George Davis, Tarek Haffar, Michael Dykes, and Alexander Harmes in the Senior Academy.
Morgan and Rhodes were both a part of the club’s Junior Academy, while Smerdon joins from what was the Yorkshire Carnegie academy, now Leeds Tykes again.
Rhodes spent two years in the outstanding Wellington College 1st XV of 2018/19 and 2019/20, winning two Champions Trophy titles and a St Joseph’s Festival title alongside Lucas Brooke, his new Senior Academy partner.
Morgan, meanwhile, was at London Irish’s AASE side, St Paul’s Catholic College, where Davis, Haffar, Dykes, and Harmes also excellent. Both Rhodes and Morgan were a part of the London Irish side that shared the U18 Academy League title with previous back to back winners, Leicester Tigers.
Rhodes, who spent time at prop but is a number 8, and Morgan, a scrum half, were also both selected for England U18 earlier in the year before Covid struck.
Morgan, though, was also named in the Ireland U18 Clubs and Schools side back in 2019, alongside Smerdon. Smerdon, a flay half, is a product of Ampleforth College in Yorkshire and now grows a growing Irish qualified contingent at the Exiles club.
Commenting on the London Irish club website, Academy Manager Patrick O’Grady said of the new Senior Academy players:
“We are delighted to welcome the three young lads into our Senior Academy programme. Both Rory and Marcus know the environment well and we are excited to see how they develop in the Senior Academy. Theo impressed us whilst at Yorkshire and has settled into things well here at Hazelwood. We look forward to seeing how he progresses this season.”
In the summer we looked at the Senior Academy intake for all thirteen Premiership Academies, and you can see those articles here: