London Irish winger Ollie Hassell-Collins grateful for more Gallagher Premiership opportunities
Ollie Hassell-Collins has admitted how much he has grown as a player as he completed another season in the Gallagher Premiership with London Irish.
The 22-year-old played a key role for the club as they finished ninth and also made it to the quarter-final of the Challenge Cup.
Hassell-Collins made 21 appearances for Irish, in all competitions, and was pleased with how his season went.
“I’m very thankful for the coaches to put their trust in me to play so much,” he said. “I’ve learnt a lot this season from the coaches and the players and can’t wait to kick on next season.
“We’re disappointed with how it ended, but there were some real positives throughout the season that we can look back on and be happy with.
“We’re really starting to gel as a team and really looking forward to what we can do next season.”
The club have already started preparations for the new season and as the former St Bartholomew pupil continues to develop, he believes they can have a solid year.
“I’m really looking forward to next season we’ve announced guys coming into the squad and guys that are staying.
“It’s a really exciting time for the club and I’m really excited to see what we can do next season.”
Hassell-Collins scored nine tries in all competitions this season and ended with the most clean breaks in the league, something he has worked on for his game.
“We got the license from the coaches at the beginning of the season to roam and I feel the more I’ve played the more confident I have been to do that and managed to get as many touches as possible.
“It’s definitely something I’ve been working on and many conversations with coaches gave me the confidence to do that.”
As a result of an impressive season, the winger was called-up to an England training camp last month as Eddie Jones prepared a squad to take part in the upcoming summer series.
Although Hassell-Collins didn’t make the final squad, he was thrilled to gain some valuable experience in the squad.
“I loved every minute of the week, I learnt so much and I now know what is expected to play at that level and can’t wait to get into pre-season and keep working on my game.”
During the campaign, the Exiles left the Madejski Stadium in Reading to return to south west London and play in their new home stadium – the Brentford Community Stadium.
Irish played their first game in the new stadium without supporters, but in the home games to follow they were allowed fans and the winger was delighted to see the back.
“The stadium was crazy, it was so nice to be part of that history with the club and for fans to experience it this season was awesome.
“I can’t wait to have every game next year with fans, it made us all realise how much they were missed.”