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London Irish's Ollie Hassell-Collins is ready for the challenges ahead

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The former St Barts pupil has featured a lot for Irish this season

Ollie Hassell-Collins in action against Gloucester PIC: LONDON IRISH
Ollie Hassell-Collins in action against Gloucester PIC: LONDON IRISH

OLLIE Hassell-Collins believes that he and his London Irish teammates have done well to deal with the challenges they’ve faced this season.

Before Sunday’s 27-27 draw at Harlequins, Irish had not played since their European Challenge Cup win over Pau on December 20, due to having a number of positive coronavirus cases at the club.

As a result of this, they missed out on league games against Bath and Northampton and Hassell-Collins feels they have dealt well with the situation.

The 21-year-old winger said: "It’s been very strange and has been for most teams. We’ve done well to cope with it, everyone has come in very energised and ready to go.

"We all knew it would be challenging, but it’ll show our character of how we overcome the challenges.

"We’ve been spending a little more time on the pitch so that our preparation is as good as it can be."

Irish are playing at the Brentford Community Stadium – their new home after leaving Reading Football Club’s Madejski Stadium last season.

Although fans are unable to attend matches once again, Hassell-Collins has explained how good it feels to play at their new home.

He said: "It’s amazing, I feel very lucky to be part of the history and very honoured.

"It doesn’t impact my game [playing behind-closed-doors] hugely, but the fans make a huge difference to the stadium – when they came to the Sale game it just transformed the stadium."

The former St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury, pupil has represented England at younger level, but his main focus for now is his career with Irish.

"I am going to focus on playing well for Irish and keep improving and what happens after that happens,” he said. “But I’m just thinking about playing for Irish right now."

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