England rugby star tips Chichester youngster for breakthrough season

ENGLAND rugby international Nick Kennedy believes ex-Chichester youngster Kieran Low is on the brink of a breakthrough season for London Irish.

The academy prospect Low made six senior appearances for Toby Booth’s team last season and is set for an even bigger involvement in the first team in the coming campaign.

Able to play in both the second and back rows, former Chichester High School for Boys pupil Low’s versatility is sure to be prized by director of rugby Booth after several high-profile departures from the Madejski Stadium.

And having recovered from an ankle injury that ruled him out of the recent Junior World Championships, Kennedy is convinced Low – who took up rugby at Chichester RFC – is on the standing on the brink of bigger and better things.

“I think he made his debut against Gloucester and what struck me was his work-rate,” said Kennedy speaking ahead of the opening round of the JP Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s Series.

“He was very disappointed not to go to the Junior World Championships through injury because otherwise he would have gone.

“He works very hard on his game and he gets through a huge amount of tackles. I think you will be seeing a lot more of him this season.

“This will be a big year for him because he needs to not just maintain their standards but improve on them.”

Standing at 6ft 6in and weighing 16st 11lb, Low can cover a surprising amount of ground that may well suit his longer-term development as a flanker rather than lock.

There’s plenty more talent bubbling on the surface in addition to Low and Kennedy believes academy players like Low have a vital role to play after the exit of several experienced heads.

He said: “The academy does have a very important role to play because we don’t have the biggest squad in the world. There’s a fresh feel about the place although we have lost an awful lot of players.”

* Tickets for the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s Series are available through Ticketmaster - visit www.ticketmaster.co.uk or call 0844 847 2492.