Aviva Premiership
London Irish closing in on fly-half
ESPNscrum Staff
April 13, 2012
England attack coach Brian Smith in relaxed mood, England training session, Penny Hill Park, Bagshot, Surrey, England, October 28, 2009
Exiles boss Brian Smith claims the side are closing in on a new fly-half © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Demetri Catrakilis | Tom Homer | Brian Smith
Tournaments/Tours: Aviva Premiership

London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith has claimed that his side are on the verge of recruiting a new fly-half ahead of next season.

Current half-back Dan Bowden is set to sign for the Leicester Tigers and Smith has moved to replace the former-Crusaders fly-half. Smith claims that he wants to bring in "world-class players" to support his promising crop of youngsters with Stormers fly-half Demetri Catrakilis just one name to be linked with the Exiles.

"We're close to sorting the number 10 spot. We've looked at 15-or-so fly-halfs and prioritised the guys that we want," Smith told getreading.co.uk. "We're making sure we're not buying someone with a tendency for injuries. We don't want journeyman players. We have some really talented young players so we want to bring in world-class players around them to help them shine."

London Irish were linked with Scarlets fly-half Stephen Jones but he has signed for Aviva Premiership rivals London Wasps. And Smith has said that the veteran half-back was never in the reckoning to replace Bowden.

Smith said: "Stephen is a wonderful player with fantastic experience but he's not for us. We want an English qualified or Irish player or someone with a younger profile who can grow with our team - because we're looking at rebuilding."

One option for the Exiles would be to try out versatile back Tom Homer in the fly-half spot, but the hugely talented youngster claims he will remain at fullback for the time being.

"I played No.10 a bit at school," Homer said. "It's a position I enjoy, but I'm not sure I've got the attributes to play there at the moment. I need to learn game management, and how to control the game a bit more.

"It's something I'd have to work on hugely if I wanted to play fly-half, but it's always a possibility. I'm enjoying myself at 15 so we'll just wait and see."

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