LONDON Irish have appointed former England fly half Charlie Hodgson as their kicking coach, writes Phil Brennan.

The Aviva Premiership's all-time top point-scorer is joined by new scrum coach Matthew Ferguson and psychologist Mike Roberts in being added to Director of Rugby Nick Kennedy's back-room staff.

Kennedy has retained the rest of his staff – technical director Brendan Venter, forwards coach George Skivington, defence coach Declan Danaher and attack coach Paul Hodgson – as Exiles gear up for their return to the top flight.

Kennedy commented: ‘We’re really looking forward to the challenge of playing in the Premiership and the lads are working extremely hard to get themselves ready for the start of the season.

“We know how competitive the Premiership will be and are working to be at our very best week in, week out.

“Our supporters were fantastic last season and I know they will be even more vocal with their unwavering support up and down the country this campaign.”

Irish have made 11 new playing signings this summer, including Australian international hooker Saia Fainga’a, European Rugby Champions Cup winner Petrus Du Plessis, and Fijian international winger Napolioni Nalaga.

They begin their campaign against Harlequins as the second part of the London Double Header at Twickenham on Saturday, September 2.