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Coventry set for early start

New head coach Tom Coventry will join London Irish for the Aviva Premiership club's full pre-season - four months earlier than first planned.

Irish's new boss Coventry will leave Super Rugby franchise the Chiefs this summer, now linking up with The Exiles in July as opposed to following the autumn's World Cup.

Next term's Premiership faces a delayed start on October 17, once the England-based World Cup hits the knockout phase.

Coventry's assistants Grant Doorey and Craig Laidlaw will also join Irish in July, while interim head coach Glenn Delaney will become head of rugby operations.

"We are pleased that Tom Coventry and his team will now be available for the start of pre-season as we originally planned for his arrival after the Rugby World Cup," said operations director Bob Casey.

"With an earlier start date now confirmed, we can build towards the start of the Aviva Premiership on October 17th with a full coaching complement.

"Glenn Delaney has demonstrated that he has the skills, character and capabilities required to succeed in the role of head of rugby operations and we're pleased he is moving in to that demanding position."

Coventry will replace former rugby director Brian Smith, who left Irish in January.

Powerday boss Mick Crossan led a London-based consortium that assumed control of Irish in December 2013, since securing the club's financial footing.

Coventry's arrival represents the latest step in a wide-reaching overhaul as Irish look to reassert their Premiership authority.

Current backs coach Richard Whiffin will remain in the backroom staff as an assistant coach, while Rob Palmer has been promoted to head of strength and conditioning.

"Richard and Rob have both worked extremely hard during their time at the club and have always been valued members of their respective departments," said Casey.

"They thoroughly deserve to progress and will continue to drive the club forward.

"We are excited about the new rugby structure at London Irish and are confident that it is the right model to move the club forward and achieve our long-term goals."

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