Kennedy hails London Irish squad for return to Premiership

London Irish Director of Rugby Nick Kennedy says securing promotion to the Aviva Premiership has been a squad effort.

Irish beat Yorkshire Carnegie over a two-leg final, running out comprehensive 88-66 winners on aggregate, and will return to the top flight of English rugby at their first attempt.

"It's the players' hard work that is a testament to this achievement," said Kennedy.

"We've asked them to do an awful lot this season and they've been incredible. I have so much respect for them."

The Exiles took an 11-point lead into Wednesday night's final leg, where they scored six tries en route to cementing their Premiership status.

Throughout their Greene King IPA Championship campaign, Irish registered just one loss, to Jersey at Madejski Stadium.

Reflecting on a hard fought victory against Carnegie on Wednesday night, Kennedy said: "We made it hard for ourselves, but credit to Yorkshire - they came out swinging and have played some incredible rugby all year.

"We're just delighted to be back in the Premiership where I believe this club belongs. We've rotated the squad all year and all the players fully deserve to be up there celebrating.

"The Play-off Final was a big occasion and the pressure is always going to take its toll on certain aspects, but we ultimately got the result that we wanted."

He added: "The crowd were amazing and they really played their part over the two legs with their magnificent support, which has been evident throughout the season and I'm very pleased for them.”