Nick Kennedy retires and Paul Hodgson returns to London Irish

Former England second row forward Nick Kennedy is to retire to join Paul Hodgson in returning to London Irish as academy coaches.

Hodgson and Kennedy will join former team-mate Declan Danaher in an elite coaching set-up at the Exiles.

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It will be an exciting challenge but, with the team that has been acquired, one that we will be up for

Paul Hodgson

Kennedy's Exiles career spanned a decade and 217 appearances, having also played for Toulon and Harlequins.

Hodgson joined London Irish in 2004 and spent eight seasons at Sunbury, making 208 appearances.

Kennedy joins the club as academy director and Hodgson as the academy backs' coach.

They will also work alongside academy manager Billy Clark and AASE manager Giselle Mather.

Kennedy played in seven Test matches for England and scored on his debut against the Pacific Islanders at Twickenham in November 2008.

"I have decided to cut short my playing career to be part of the exciting new era at London Irish," said Kennedy.

"I, along with many other past and present international rugby players, am a product of the London Irish Academy.

"I look forward to joining up with the team in the summer and working with the future stars of the club."

Hodgson echoed Kennedy's sentiment, saying: "These are exciting times at London Irish and I am thrilled to be part of it.

"The academy has been the essence of the club for a long time and it is a huge part of the new owners' vision.

"It will be an exciting challenge but, with the team that has been acquired, one that we will be up for."