London Irish confirm Shane Geraghty return

Shane Geraghty

London Irish have announced the return of their former fly-half Shane Geraghty on a two-year contract.

Geraghty, a product of the Exiles' academy, left the club for Northampton amid acrimony in 2009.

The 27-year-old spent two seasons at Franklin's Gardens before then moving to France to play for Brive.

"Shane is an outstanding ball player and one of the best game-breakers in English rugby," Exiles director of rugby Brian Smith told BBC Berkshire.

Smith, who also believes Geraghty can play for England again, added: "He has matured over the past couple of seasons.

"He can play 10 or 12 and wants to play for England again and I think he knows that he will be supported well in coming back to London Irish.

"We think he can play for England again and do great things at this club."

Geraghty has six caps for England, the last of those coming in November 2009, and his return will be viewed with some surprise by Exiles supporters.

The club and head coach Toby Booth were known to be unhappy with his decision to leave in 2009 and previous suggestions that Geraghty might return were immediately dismissed.

But Smith does not believe there will be any issue with his return to the club and revealed he has taken a huge pay cut to come back.

"I don't think there is any baggage," said Smith.

"A week is a long time in sport, we all move on and grow and mature. I'm sure Brive will be very upset we have pinched him.

"Shane is coming back for all the right reasons and is taking a big pay cut to return. That shows how much he wants to prove to the club that he wants to play for London Irish and it also proves to England that he is returning for all the right reasons.

"Toby Booth is a professional, Mike Catt is a professional and Shane is a professional and I'm sure there will be no problems with his return."

Geraghty is expected to replace Dan Bowden, who is set to join Leicester Tigers in the summer.

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