Buckalnd joins Irish

London Irish have signed hooker James Buckland from their Guinness Premiership rivals Wasps.

Buckland will leave Wasps after just one season. He quit Leicester to join the Londoners last year. Buckland, who has played for England A and England Under-21s, moves to Heineken Cup semi-finalists Irish in July after agreeing a two-year contract.

Exiles rugby director Brian Smith said: “The demands on our front row are such that it is essential we have strength in depth in each position.

“We have to plan for international call-ups and injury, and are pleased to have been able to recruit a player like James who has invaluable experience of competing at the highest level in this country and Europe.”

Buckland’s challengers for the Irish number two shirt include the highly-rated David Paice, who could tour New Zealand with England this summer.