10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
The Irish Exiles are a fully fledged Branch of the Irish Rugby Football Union. They have, at different periods, played in both the Ireland Senior and Under 21 Inter-Provincial Championships. Their emphasis has shifted to be primarily on player development and, to this effect, they have a growing number of fixtures in the U17/18/19 age-groups, including a September visit to Ireland to play Ulster & Leinster at U18 level ( both won!).
The culmination of their season will again be the 4th Annual Screening Camp for young players (from the above age-groups) in June at Brunel University, West London, for which they will be, again, advertising nationally. For clarification, qualification is by birth, Irish parentage or grandparentage.
According to Branch Hon. Secretary, John S. Hunter, they prefer to judge their success, " not by the results of teams we field but, by the number, and quality, of players we produce for Ireland International XVs." The recent successes of British & Irish Lion Rob Henderson, alongside fellow Exiles Kevin Maggs, Simon and Guy Easterby in the current Ireland squad, add to an illustrious list. Simon followed in the footsteps of Exiles Justin Bishop and Simon Mason who played for Ireland at both U21 and senior levels. In total, eighteen Exiles players have played senior International Rugby since their formation, including the above.
The Irish Exiles have connections at all levels - on the IRFU Executive, with Senior Clubs in England particularly, with the major 'Rugby Universities', with schools, etc. Although their committee is relatively small, this is counter-balanced by the breadth of expertise that the members bring. This is highlighted by the fact that it includes people who can set an exemplar from their own playing career e.g. British Lion John O'Driscoll, and Jim Staples - one of four Irish Internationals on the committee.
John S Hunter IRFU Exiles Branch Honorary Secretary Brunel University, Department of Sport Sciences Borough Road, Isleworth, Middx. TW7 5DU Phone 020 8891 8255 (O) 8941 1985 (H) Fax: 020 8891 8269 E-mail: email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org