Exiles secure England trio
England internationals Nick Kennedy, Topsy Ojo and Paul Hodgson have all agreed new three-year deals with London Irish.
Last Updated: 16/12/08 9:14am
London Irish have secured the services of England internationals Nick Kennedy, Topsy Ojo and Paul Hodgson until the end of the 2011-12 season.
The trio have all signed new three-year deals at the Madejski Stadium, providing a boost for the Exiles' Guinness Premiership title hopes.
Lock Kennedy, 27, broke into the England side during the autumn internationals, while Ojo and Hodgson are both looking to force their way back into Martin Johnson's plans.
Kennedy, who was out of contract with London Irish at the end of the season, believes the current league leaders have a genuine title shot.
"We have first-class coaches and are playing rugby that is enjoyable to be part of," said Kennedy.
"We are going in the right direction, and I believe we are credible Premiership contenders.
"This was a big decision for me and was one that I didn't take lightly.
"The club gave me an opportunity to play seven years ago and have looked after me since. It is good to see more and more talented players coming through."
Kennedy made a try-scoring England debut against the Pacific Islanders in the first match of the November campaign and produced an impressive performance on his return to the side against New Zealand.
Winger Ojo, 23, won two caps on the summer tour of New Zealand - while scrum-half Hodgson, 26, made his Test debut off the bench during last season's RBS 6 Nations victory over Ireland.
Hodgson, who joined the Exiles from Bristol in 2004, is behind Danny Care, Harry Ellis and Peter Richards in the England pecking order but is confident he can further his international career at London Irish.
"Continuing my career at London Irish is very important to me for two reasons," said Hodgson.
"I believe this club can help me fulfil my international ambitions and I'm confident we can win silverware soon."
Ojo, who joined London Irish in 2003, commented: "All my success is due to the players and coaches at the club, and I'm sure there's more to come."
London Irish face second-placed Gloucester at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.