LONDON Irish have bolstered their front row with the signing of hooker Darren Dawidiuk.

Dawidiuk, 29, joins from Gloucester, having made 145 appearances for the Kingsholm outfit during which time he lifted the European Rugby Challenge Cup and Anglo-Welsh Cup.

The Truro-born forward began his career at Cornish Pirates where he spent three seasons prior to his move to Gloucester in 2009.

Industrious and abrasive with ball in hand, Dawidiuk provides stiff competition for fellow hookers David Paice, Saia Fainga’a Dave Porecki and Todd Gleave as newly-promoted Irish step up their preparations for the Aviva Premiership season.

Dawidiuk said: “I’m extremely grateful to have the opportunity to join London Irish, a club that’s very much on the up at present. The lads have been very welcoming and there is a fantastic atmosphere. I can’t wait to pull on the green jersey and show what I can do.”

Exiles director of rugby Nick Kennedy, added: “Darren is a vastly experienced hooker and significantly augments our options in that department.

“He has an excellent attitude and has fitted in very well with the rest of the squad. I look forward to seeing what he can bring to the team.”

Meanwhile, Irish have named their side for the 2017 Singha Premiership Rugby 7s to be held at Northampton’s Franklin’s Gardens this weekend (live on BT Sport).

The Exiles, winners of the 2012 tournament, join Harlequins and Gloucester in Pool B on Friday, with the top two teams progressing through to the quarter finals.

Rory Brand, part of the triumphant England Under 20s squad that clinched the Six Nations Grand Slam earlier this year, captains the Exiles.

The scrum-half, 19, is one of four former Wellington College pupils in the squad along with wing Ben Loader and back rows Isaac Curtis-Harris and Josh Basham.

Exiles Academy manager Patrick O’Grady said: “It’s the first opportunity for our 2017/18 senior Academy players to pull on the London Irish jersey to mark their first full-time rugby contracts The experience of playing against quality opposition will be invaluable.”

Exiles squad: 1 Josh Basham; 2 Isaac Curtis-Harris; 3 Jack Cooke; 4 Rory Brand; 5 Ollie Hassell-Collins; 6 Jaike Carter; 7 Ben Loader; 8 Samir Kharbouch; 9 Isireli Seva; 10 Dan Barnes; 11 George Simpson; 12 Tom Hanley.