London Irish winger Hassell-Collins to join Leicester

London Irish’s England international winger Ollie Hassell-Collins will leave the club at the end of the season to join Leicester.

The 24-year-old academy product made his England debut in this year’s Six Nations and admitted leaving Irish was a difficult decision but the chance to join the Tigers was too great an opportunity to miss.

“It’s the biggest club in England and hard to say no, when they want to come and chat with you,” Hassell-Collins told the Leicester website.

“It excites me a lot, being a part of Leicester Tigers.

“I know some of the guys and am looking forward to being a part of the young group and what is a pretty crazy potential line-up in the backline.

“It’s a hell of a ground, Welford Road, and when you think about Leicester Tigers, you think about the stadium and crowd, how hostile it is, and it’s exciting to know I’ll be on the home side of that.

“But there is still a lot to play for this season, and rest assured, I will do my utmost to repay the work put in and play my part in the really important games coming up for London Irish.”

Irish’s director of rugby Declan Kidney paid tribute to Hassell-Collins but said the club was disappointed to lose him.

“I know that alongside his contributions for London Irish, Ollie as a person will always be remembered fondly by everyone at the club and our supporters too,” Kidney said.

I have learned a lot from Ollie as a person.

“That is down to his personality and the hard work he has put in through the years to become the player that he is today, Leicester have gained a very valuable man on and off the field.”