London Scottish prop Mark Irish has announced his retirement from professional rugby.
The popular 32-year old, known to friends and colleagues as ‘Iro’, will look to use his 12 years experience as a professional rugby player to pursue a career in coaching at Hartpury College, one of the most successful sporting colleges in the UK.
Mark began his playing career at Bridgwater before moving to Gloucester.
It was from there he made the switch to Bristol, a club that would become his home for eight years.
Mark joined London Scottish from the West Country club in the summer of 2012 and over the past two seasons Scottish have been able to call upon his vast experience on and off the pitch.
A Championship Dream XV representative for two successive seasons, he was also chosen to represent the Championship in a select squad that faced the touring New Zealand Maoris in November 2012.
In total Mark made 41 appearances for London Scottish.
He said: “I would like to thank the coaches, Board of Directors and all the supporters for their great support over the past two seasons.
“I have loved my two years working with James Buckland and also Head of Performance Tim Harper since he came on board last season.
“I have seen the transition from part-time to full-time rugby at the Club and it’s heading in a fantastic direction. Exciting times lie ahead.”
London Scottish head coach James Buckland said: “Iro has made the decision to move into coaching at the rugby hotbed of Hartpury College and he has our full support.
“He is a big loss but we wish him all the best. I think he will do fantastically well at one of the best rugby educational establishments in the country.”
He added: “Last year Iro didn’t play as much rugby as he would have wanted but he has been invaluable to the squad since I have been here.
“I think he should take a lot of credit for the development of Eric Fry and Tomas Francis who will be playing Premiership rugby next season.”
Everyone at London Scottish wish Iro the very best of luck in the future.