Topsy Ojo on the verge of making London Irish appearance record

©London Irish

London Irish winger Topsy Ojo is all set to go into the record books on Saturday as he is on course to become the Aviva Premiership club's most capped player.

Ojo, who is already the leading try-scorer for the club with 73 touchdowns has made 280 appearances for the Exiles over a span of 12 seasons and is set to surpass former winger Justin Bishop when the club takes on Stade Francais in the round two of the European Challenge Cup at Stade Jean-Bouin.

“I’m very proud to be on the verge of achieving the record and I’m looking forward to pulling on the London Irish jersey for many more games to come,” said Ojo, 32.

“I feel as good as ever and I’ve got the hunger to keep on going.”

Ojo started to play rugby union at Dartford Grammar School at the age of eleven and joined the London Irish Academy where he was guided by coaches Corin Palmer and Toby Booth. He was also part of the London Irish sides that featured in the 2008 Heineken Cup Semi-Final and the 2009 Premiership Final.

“The calibre of players that we had at the time was incredible and we had guys who had come through the academy system as well as international talent. We did as much as we could to be successful and that’s all you can ask of yourself,” said Ojo.

“More recently, last season’s promotion winning campaign was a great moment for me and it was fantastic to be part of such a spirited team. On a personal note, I've picked up a few awards down the years, and it’s always nice for me and my family to be recognised individually.

“I’ve played under a number of coaches during my time at the club and each one has improved my game in their own unique way. There have been a lot of positive influences on me at Irish.”

Ojo, who has made two appearances for England in 2008 lavished praise on the team culture at the Exiles and believes it was a strong motivating factor for him to continue representing them.

“There is a fantastic feeling here at London Irish, a characteristic which has remained the same ever since I signed for the club.

“If you ask any player, past or present about their time at London Irish, I’m sure they will talk about the positive culture. It’s a very welcoming environment and I think had the club not been as friendly and positive as it has been, then I might not have been here for as long as I have.

“Supporters see the product on the pitch, but behind the scenes, whether it is the kitchen staff, the interns or the off-field offices, it’s very much a team effort.”

Ojo also had positives about Bishop, whose record will come to an end on Saturday and pointed out the 42-year-old as one of his inspiration during his early days with the club.

“I played with Justin in the early stages of my career and I learned a lot from him,” said Ojo.

“He was the most energetic and enthusiastic player that I’ve ever worked with and he definitely made an impression on me when I first joined the club.

“To have broken the record is a very special feeling and I’m sure he will be sending me some abuse this week. Joking aside, he was brilliant for me and he was great to learn from along with Paul Sackey who was on the other wing.”