London Irish: Matt Symons relishing Tom Coventry link up

Matt Symons
Symons moved from England to New Zealand originally to play amateur rugby

New London Irish signing Matt Symons says he is relishing spending next season with one of his current coaches at Chiefs.

The 25-year-old lock signed for the Exiles last week, and will arrive next term alongside new boss Tom Coventry, who is currently part of the Chiefs' coaching setup.

"I can't say enough good things about him," Symons told BBC Radio Berkshire.

"He is a really genuine bloke. What you see is what you get."

Symons moved from England to New Zealand to play amateur rugby before establishing himself with the Chiefs. Having once part of Great Britain's Rowing World Class Start programme, he also used to play for Esher in the Championship - but will arrive with Coventry for next season.

"He has a huge amount of respect from the boys at the Chiefs," said Symons. "He is quite individual in getting the best out of his players. He has a good individual relationship with the boys.

"He has a really good rugby brain. He comes up with a lot of insightful stuff both with forward play and general play that we use at the Chiefs. He also has quite a hard edge to him.

"A lot of those ideas are his, such as not contesting off rucks and setting up mauls. He likes to push the boundaries and stay ahead of the pack with innovative ideas."

Symons says he used to watch London Irish and current executive director Bob Casey play at the Madejski Stadium when he was a student at Reading University. He will be reunited with back Sean Maitland, who he played with at Canterbury, and believes he can arrive back in England having won the Super 15 with Chiefs.

"I played with Sean Maitland at Canterbury," added Symons. "He is an awesome bloke, really friendly. I was just coming through the system and he came over and said hello, so it will be great to reunite with him."

When asked if Chiefs could win Super 15, he replied: "Yes, definitely, there's a really good feeling in the squad and we're training really hard. It's a really competitive tournament."

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