Bob Casey will captain London Irish in his final match for the club in Saturday's clash with Gloucester at Madejski Stadium.
Bob Casey will captain London Irish in his final match for the club in Saturday's Aviva Premiership match against Gloucester at Madejski Stadium.
The match will mark the end of a decade of service to the Exiles for the big Irishman who will be making his 235th and final appearance. Bob is the only change from the side that beat Worcester on the 21st April as Matt Garvey makes way for the departing skipper.
England international Delon Armitage will also play his last match in a London Irish shirt before departing for Toulon. He will play on the wing after scoring three tries in his last two matches.
London Irish legends Paul Hodgson and Kieran Roche, who are also leaving the club, are named among the replacements. It will also be the final match for Attack Coach Mike Catt who is leaving London Irish after eight seasons with the Club. Nick Kennedy is unavailable for selection due to injury.
“Tomorrow gives us the opportunity to continue the momentum we gained from the win over Worcester to take into our pre-season,” said London Irish head coach Toby Booth.
“It will also mark the end of an era to players who have been great servants to our club. I am sure the supporters will turn up in their numbers to say goodbye. ”
Meanwhile, Scottish international second row Jim Hamilton will captain Gloucester for the first time. The Cherry and Whites are playing largely for pride after a run of results that has seen them drop to eighth place in the table.
Carl Hogg has named a strong line up which sees several changes from the side that started against Sale Sharks a fortnight ago.
Tom Voyce is named at full-back with Jonny May partnering Mike Tindall in midfield as Tim Molenaar is unwell. Ollie Phillips gets a start on the wing.
Darren Dawidiuk is preferred to Scott Lawson at hooker while Tom Savage comes in for Peter Buxton on the blindside flank.
Alasdair Strokosch moves across from number eight to openside.
Speaking ahead of the game, Hogg admits that playing at the Madejski is a challenge but that training has gone well this week and Gloucester have plenty to play for.
“It's been a difficult end to the season but we intend to go down to London Irish and challenge ourselves. It's a difficult fixture but one we're looking forward to,” he said.
“Training this week has been very buoyant, it's been very upbeat. It's our last game and the group have been enthused this week.
“As a professional, you take pride in going out and performing to the best of your ability and the enthusiasm and effort this week has been excellent. Hopefully, that will translate to the pitch on Saturday.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton spoke of the honour of captaining the side:
“I'm very proud to have been asked to captain Gloucester for this game, and I hope I can show I'm worthy of that tomorrow,” said the Scottish lock.
“Irish are a very dangerous side who like to move the ball around, and I'm sure the neutrals will be expecting an open game – but we've just got to do whatever it takes to win.”
Form: London Irish's seven game losing streak ended at Worcester in round 21 of Aviva Premiership Rugby. The Exiles have lost their last three encounters at Madejski Stadium but have not lost four in a row at the venue in the Premiership since season 2004/05. Gloucester Rugby have lost their last five matches since beating table-topping Harlequins at Kingsholm on 25 February – their worst run in the competition since season 2000/01. Gloucester's only away victory in Aviva Premiership Rugby since early November came at Bath in round 15. The last ten fixtures between the two clubs in the Premiership have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst Gloucester have not been triumphant at Madejski Stadium since a 22-11 win on 10 November 2006.
London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Delon Armitage, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Joe Ansbro, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Steve Shingler, 9 Darren Allinson, 8 Ofisa Treviranus 7 David Sisi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Bob Casey (Captain), 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Leo Halavatau, 2 David Paice, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements: 16 James Buckland, 17 Paulica Ion, 18 Faan Rautenbach, 19 Matt Garvey, 20 Kieran Roche, 21 Marland Yarde, 22 Adrian Jarvis, 23 Paul Hodgson
Gloucester: 15 Tom Voyce, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Jonny May, 12 Mike Tindall, 11 Ollie Phillips, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Matt Cox, 7 Alasdair Strokosch, 6 Tom Savage, 5 Alex Brown, 4 Jim Hamilton (capt), 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Dan Murphy.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Peter Buxton, 20 Akapusi Qera, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Tim Taylor, 23 Ian Clark
Date: Saturday, May 5
Venue: Madejski Stadium
Kick-off: 14:00 (13:00 GMT)
Referee: David Pearson
Assistant referees: Paul Dix, Stuart Terheege