London Irish scrum-half Tomas O'Leary targets top-four finish

New London Irish scrum-half Tomas O'Leary says the club are targeting a top-four finish next season.

The Exiles finished seventh and 19 points behind fourth-paced Northampton last season, but have undergone a mini-transformation this summer.

Director of rugby Brian Smith has made several new signings including Ireland international O'Leary.

"We're targeting the top four and the play-offs. If we can achieve that we'll be happy," O'Leary told BBC London.

O'Leary, who was a key member of Munster's double Heineken Cup winning squad and Ireland's Grand Slam winning side of 2009, joins new players such as Shane Geraghty and Ian Humphreys in London Irish's back line.

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I'd love to get back playing for Ireland but first I need to start playing well for London Irish and take it from there

Tomas O'Leary.

"I'm really excited, it's a totally different environment, league and playing style. It's a new season and a new challenge," added 28-year-old O'Leary.

"Ian Humphreys is a pretty entertaining, attacking fly-half and Shane Geraghty is coming back and he can play at 10 or 12.

"They've made some very good signings and hopefully we can all contribute to delivering success on the pitch.

"I'm just getting to know the lads and coaches, it's been pretty positive in training and I'm enjoying it."

The Exiles face last season's Premiership semi-finalists Saracens first up but O'Leary says they are not daunted by the challenge.

O'Leary, who has been capped 24 times by his country, says he hopes he can force his way back into Ireland's plans after missing out on the summer tour of New Zealand.

"It's a pretty difficult first game, but the reason I came here was because of the quality of opposition throughout," he said.

"There are no easy games in this league and I'm looking forward to tough games week in, week out and hopefully I can perform well.

He added: "I'd love to get back playing for Ireland but first I need to start playing well for London Irish and take it from there."