London Irish: New chief executive Bob Casey outlines targets

By Adam WilliamsBBC Sport
Bob Casey
Casey was capped seven times by Ireland during his playing career

Former London Irish captain Bob Casey has had his hands full following his appointment as the club's new chief executive.

The 36-year-old, who played more than 200 times for Irish, was confirmed as part of a new management structure on the same day his wife gave birth to their daughter.

While fatherhood can be a full-time job in itself, the seven-time capped Ireland second row has plenty to think about at the Madejski Stadium.

He moves to his new desk at a time of change both on and off the field at a club which finished 10th in the Premiership last season.

A tumultuous campaign also saw the departure of director of rugby Brian Smith for family reasons in January and Glenn Delaney take over as interim head coach.

But a new man is preparing to lead the playing squad into 2015-16 - someone who fits in with Casey's desire for attacking rugby.

From one new arrival to another

Tom Coventry
Tom Coventry takes up his London Irish head coach role on 1 July

Once Casey has fulfilled his paternity leave duties, among the immediate items in his CEO intray will be the arrival of new head coach Tom Coventry.

He joins Irish after leaving his assistant coach post at Super Rugby side Waikato Chiefs in New Zealand, but will his arrival coincide with a change in approach on the field?

"All our supporters know that the London Irish way is to try to play with the ball in hand," said Casey. "We want to play attacking rugby and Tom fits that philosophy.

"But, if you watch the Chiefs over the last few seasons, you'll see they have a very hard edge at the breakdown and in the line-outs and scrums.

"You don't win anything up here in the northern hemisphere unless you've got a good set-piece and I know that's an area Tom will be concentrating on here as well."

Coventry starts in his new role on 1 July and Casey said he was raring to get the ball rolling.

"Pre-season is planned to within the nearest hour, so we're really looking forward to getting him and his coaching staff on board," he added.

"This is a new chapter for London Irish. It's three new coaches and 11 new players, so for me the time of looking backwards is over.

"It's time to look forwards and drive this organisation on."

Changing room to board room

Bob Casey
Former London Irish captain Casey was previously the club's operations director

Casey retired in 2012 and his involvement with the Exiles has continued off the field ever since, including his previous board role as operations director.

He continued: "It's a club I feel passionately about.

"Along with everyone else here, I'm determined to drive the club forward and get to where we and all the supporters want to be.

"We've a clear vision and a clear plan, but along with everything else here, it's going to take time."

Casey will hope the first seeds of that new era will be sown on the training pitches at the club's Hazelwood base in pre-season.