For­mer cap­tain one of nine Ex­iles play­ers to leave club

The Wokingham Paper - - SPORT - By ANDY PRE­STON apre­ston@wok­ing­ham­pa­

NINE first-team play­ers have de­parted London Ir­ish after the ex­pi­ra­tion of their con­tracts, in­clud­ing for­mer club cap­tain Franco van der Merwe.

Van derMerwe made 58 ap­pear­ances for the Ex­iles and was named as club cap­tain at the be­gin­ning of the 2018/19 sea­son, but will re­turn to his na­tive South Africa after his stint with Ir­ish.

Scott Steele, who has spent six years with the club also de­parts hav­ing made 127 ap­pear­ances for the club, in­clud­ing help­ing the Ex­iles to two pro­mo­tions to the top flight.

Dave Porecki, who joined in 2016, and was named as Ir­ish’s player of the sea­son for the 2018/19 sea­son, leaves the club after four years of ser­vice.

Fly-half Ste­pe­hen Myler, South

African Pat Cil­liers, sec­ond row Bar­neyMad­di­son, hooker Saia Fainga’a, USA’s Bryce Camp­bell and Fiji’s Aliv­ereti Veitokani also leave the club to com­plete ten out­go­ings from London Ir­ish.

London Ir­ish di­rec­tor of rugby, De­clan Kid­ney said: “I would like to ex­tend a sin­cere thank you to all of the play­ers that have left London Ir­ish for their ser­vice and ded­i­ca­tion, each hav­ing made a valu­able con­tri­bu­tion.

“They have all been a real plea­sure to work with, and as they head into new chal­lenges, I wish them noth­ing but the very best.”

The club has con­firmed that they are hold­ing on­go­ing talks with sev­eral oth­er­mem­bers of the cur­rent squad and will up­date sup­port­ers in due course on their sit­u­a­tions.

Ir­ish are due to con­tinue their Premier­ship cam­paign in Au­gust when the league restarts.

Pic­ture: Steve Smyth

For­mer club cap­tain Franco van der Merwe has left London Ir­ish.

Stephen Myler (left) and Dave Porecki (right) will both also leave the club.

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