Matt Symons: London Irish keen on signing Chiefs lock

Matt Symons
Matt Symons (l) has made a name for himself in Super 15 rugby

London Irish have held talks with highly-rated Chiefs lock Matt Symons, says academy coach Declan Danaher.

Tom Coventry, who will take over as Exiles boss next season, is part of the coaching team at the Chiefs.

Symons, 24, has established himself at the Chiefs after moving from England to New Zealand to play amateur rugby.

"If we're lucky enough to get hold of him, he's a dynamic and exciting lock who's played in the Super 15 in a very good team," said Danaher.

He told BBC Radio Berkshire: "I think the club have spoken to him but I suppose we'll find out a lot more in the next couple of days.

"He's an exciting player. He was made captain of the Chiefs, which is an honour because he's not a Kiwi, he's an Englishman," added Danaher, who is working with the first team after Brian Smith's departure as director of rugby.

"They obviously rate him very highly. I'd heard rumours that New Zealand were trying to get him to stay but I think, being English, he wants to come back and try to get himself in the England squad.

"If we do get an opportunity to sign him, hopefully we can do that and he can show that form that he's been showing for the Chiefs."

Matt Symons
Matt Symons initially turned out for High School Old Boys in Christchurch after moving to New Zealand

In an interview with The Guardian in June 2014, Symons said he would "love to play in the Premiership" at some stage in his career.

Danaher played 275 games for London Irish before retiring in March 2014 to take up a coaching role with the club's academy.

"We're starting to see the fruits of our labour but it will probably be a couple of years until we start to produce players more regularly," he said.

"We want to develop an emotional attachment to the club so that, when the option is there, the pull to stay is as strong as the option to leave.

"The good thing is it shows us the talent we have in the area and what we can produce."

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