London Irish: Nick Kennedy prepares for tough opening month in Premiership return

London Irish win Championship play-off
London Irish beat Yorkshire Carnegie in the Championship play-off in May to secure promotion

Nick Kennedy knows London Irish will face a tough examination when they return to Premiership action in September in the London Double Header.

Irish director of rugby Kennedy will see his side face Harlequins at Twickenham in the season opener.

The Exiles are back in the top flight after winning promotion from the Championship at the first attempt.

"We're happy to be back, but we know it's a huge, huge challenge ahead of us," Kennedy told BBC Sport.

Irish will travel to defending champions Exeter the week after facing Quins in an opening month which also features Friday-night trips to Sale and Newcastle.

"Every game's difficult," Kennedy said. "We won't think about them individually until they come around.

"We all love the Premiership. It's a league we thoroughly enjoy being in as a club.

"We missed it and we did enjoy our time in the Championship, we felt we learnt a lot and built a lot of strong foundations down there. But, this is ultimately where we want to be."

Irish's new signings, including Samoa lock Teofilo Paulo and Fiji winger Napolioni Nalaga, will join up with the squad for pre-season training in the next couple of weeks.

"They're going to add experience, strength in depth and we're going to get competition for a few places now," Kennedy added.

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