London Irish set sights on silverware
August 30, 2012
Brian Smith returned to Irish in the off-season having previously served as director of rugby between 2005 and 2008 © PA Photos
London Irish boss Brian Smith is confident his side can challenge for honours this season with the Aviva Premiership silverware firmly in his sights.
Smith returned to take charge of the Exiles earlier this year season having previously served as director of rugby between 2005 and 2008 and having reacquainted himself with Premiership life having been part of the England set-up for three years, he is determined to steer his side to the next level and convert them from "a good team to a team that wins trophies".
"I am really excited by the project here at London Irish. I feel fortunate that the directors wanted me to come back," he told BBC Radio Berkshire.
The Exiles have undergone major changes over the summer with a host of players and senior management quitting the Madejski Stadium but the club have recruited heavily in the form of Shane Geraghty, Tomas O'Leary and Setaimata Sa and Smith believes they will have an immediate impact.
"I'm genuinely excited, not just by the first team although that is what we'll be judged on, but in terms of improving the academy system, and building a new £10m training complex - it's a very exciting time.
"The thing that drives me is I'd like us to go from being a good team to a team that wins trophies and that is a different project to the one in 2005. In 2005 it was about winning respect as we were cellar dwellers for a few seasons and it hurt everyone at the club and we turned things around.
"Sometime in the next three years we want to lift significant silverware and that starts with the Premiership on Saturday when we play Saracens. Why not go for it in year one?
"We've put together a competitive squad and we need to cross our fingers and look for a bit of support from above in terms of injuries.
"We need good fortune there and we need to select well. But we will be competitive on and of the pitch. Rugby is what this club is about and we will be responsible in running a break-even budget. We have to be sustainable."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
Ask John answers questions on the Leopards' tour to Italy in 1974, brotherly Test sides, Pat McGrath, England's games against the Barbarians and Jacques Brunel
"We were only five metres away in the last Test of getting that try and with Jonny's inevitable conversion, we'd have won it." Tom Hamilton talks to Lions fullback Matt Perry
Toulon's Heineken Cup final victory over Clermont Auvergne may have ended a long title drought for the Top 14 club but two of their players are no strangers to success