LONDON IRISH have been handed a boost as fans’ favourite Topsy Ojo has vowed to stay and help the club achieve promotion back to the Aviva Premiership.
The Exiles were relegated for the first time since 1994 at the end of the 2015-16 campaign and the process of plotting their return has already begun.
That includes the likes of Dave Porecki joining from Saracens and Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi signing from Northampton – two of nine new faces in already this summer – but Ojo’s public commitment to the cause is perhaps the most positive news to come out of the club in months.
“I’m fully committed to rectifying what went wrong last season and I’ll be doing everything I can to make sure we get back to the Premiership at the first attempt,” said the 30-year-old, who has been recovering from an arm injury sustained in March.
“Relegation was the most painful thing I’ve had to go through at this club and it really hurt me.
“My rehab is going well and I had to start it early so I’ve not managed to get away for a break as yet. I’m eight weeks into my programme and I’m starting to get the strength back so fingers crossed I’ll be ready for the start of the season.”
Londoner Ojo, Irish’s all-time leading try scorer, believes teams in the Greene King IPA Championship will be going all out to give the newcomers a rude awakening in the second tier next term.
“We will have to embrace the Championship and it will be a new experience for a lot of the players – we are going to be going to some new places and mentally we are going to have to be switched on as we are going to be the target this year.
“A lot of clubs will want to knock us down and it’s important that we maintain that Premiership focus and our performances stay high.”