SAMOAN hooker Motu Matu'u admits his debut season with the cub featured highs and lows as he looks to move forward ahead of the club's return to the Gallagher Premiership next season.

The 32-year-old joined Exiles from Gloucester last year, and made an impressive early impact before he suffered a hip injury against Hartpury last December.

The ailment left him on the sidelines for several months, and Matu'u admitted: “It could be mentally frustrating at times not playing. You love it when you are on top and injury free, but when it hits you, you can end up in a low spot.

"The medical staff did an unbelievable job, they got me back playing my first game far quicker than expected. The support around me was also incredible, my family and my son being born in January gave me a big boost to get back playing as fast as I could.

“It was a season of ups and downs."

The Samoan star admitted the atmosphere around the club was also a reason he did not get too despondent, adding: “I’ve really enjoyed my first season, it actually feels like I have been here for ages. There is a good bunch of lads, the off-field team is unbelievable, and everyone is made to feel that they are a part of the team.”

Looking ahead, the hooker has two targets – a place in the Samoan World Cup squad – and then to help London Irish re-establish temselves back in the Premiership.

He concluded: “It will be a special moment for me if I was to be named in the Samoa World Cup squad. To play for my country and represent my family would be a big blessing.

“If I am selected, it will be a massive challenge for myself and the boys, but one that we will relish.

“Heading back into the Premiership this season means it’s going to go up a notch. The new signings to the club will give a massive boost to the whole squad as we look to compete against the best sides in the country.”

Meanwhile, fellow front row Will Goodrick-Clarke, has revealed how well he has settled in since joining the club for pre-season training.

He commented: “It feels great to be here. There are a good bunch of lads who have helped me settle in quickly.

“It’s a brilliant place to turn up to work, the facilities are fantastic.”

The prop was named in the Greene King IPA Championship team of the season last term, but with Richmond being relegated, he admitted he had mixed emotions.

The prop said: “Personally, I think it was a good season for me. It was nice to be named in the Dream Team but, it was a bit disappointing that we couldn’t keep Richmond up.”

Looking forward to his time at Irish, Goodrick-Clarke hopes to be a big hit with the club's fans.

He stated: “I love to get my hands on the ball and to make some big shots. Every prop loves scrummaging and I’m no different.”