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Page last updated at 10:24 GMT, Thursday, 20 August 2009 11:24 UK

Bishop relishes his Exiles return

Justin Bishop
Bishop made a record 279 appearances for the Exiles before joining Doncaster

Former London Irish wing Justin Bishop says he is glad to be back at the club as assistant academy manager.

Bishop, who returns after two years at Doncaster, said his job, along with the rest of the coaching team, is more than trying to improve players' skills.

He told BBC Berkshire: "Values are a huge thing for this club.

"With Neal Hatley, Toby Booth and Mike Catt you have guys who think a lot of the club and we'll put everything we've learnt back into it."

He added: "The whole ethos as a club up there [Doncaster] and the family atmosphere was similar to London Irish.

"It was a huge learning curve for me, I got thrown in at the deep end as soon as I arrived there. The director of rugby left so I was in charge for three months. It taught me a lot of things about man management.

"If I can bring what I have learnt from Doncaster and what I have learnt over my career towards this academy and teach these players how to play rugby and how to win games, I think that is the most important thing.

"You have academy systems and guys don't play games, they just learn drills. But in the end it is about winning games and that is my most important thing, teaching these guys how to win a game."

Realistic expectations for the club are top four. That is all we are looking for.

Justin Bishop

Bishop joined Irish as a teenager and holds the record for appearances for the club, but he admitted things have changed significantly over the years.

"I would love to be a player again. The professionalism of the club has changed, the science into everything now. If I was 20 again I would take it with both hands," he stated.

The club reached the Guinness Premiership final for the first time last season and Bishop says Irish are aiming for the play-offs once more this time.

"Realistic expectations for the club are top four. That is all we are looking for.

"As Boothy says, we are putting the accelerator down this year. It's not just staying where we are and be happy with what we are doing.

"We have to improve everything we do - just the slightest little things on the pitch we need to improve by another 10%. We will be in the top four if we can do that."



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