London Irish captain Declan Danaher feels responsibility

Declan Danaher

New London Irish captain Declan Danaher says he is already feeling the extra responsibility he has at the club with the new season just days away.

The Exiles have undergone a major overhaul during the summer with senior players and staff leaving.

But 32-year-old veteran forward Danaher has remained at the Premiership club.

"I do have more responsibility. Before I could always hide as it was somebody else leading the team. Now it's me," Danaher told BBC Radio Berkshire.

Irish begin their season with the Twickenham double-header, when they will take on Saracens on Saturday.

He admits it has been a strange summer with so many of his close friends leaving the club, but says he is excited by a new era at Irish.

"There's not many left [his old team mates], it was a little strange to start with," he said.

"But once pre-season starts you become focussed on getting fit for the first game and then the whole season and you soon forget about your mates.

"It probably doesn't help when you get people like Nick Kennedy [former Exiles player] Tweeting you pictures of him on the beach in Toulon so I'm obviously a little jealous.

"But I'm sure that will soon dry up and I'm sure when winter comes around he won't be venturing out then.

"There are a lot of young guys here now and it's different, it feels like a new club and we have a new coaching set up also."

Among those new coaches is director of rugby Brian Smith who is returning to the club having left in 2008.

And Danaher believes under his guidance, Irish can rediscover past glories.

"It's a good group of players, we don't know the potential they can reach. I know what Smithy is capable of with a similar group of players and a similar style of rugby," he said.

"We ended up finishing fourth that year and reached an Amlin Cup final and I'm fairly confident Smith can produce those results again."

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