Zimbabwe’s Chawatama signs new deal with London Lions
LONDON. — London Irish’s Zimbabwean prop Lovejoy Chawatama has signed a new contract with the Premiership rugby club.
The 30-year-old is entering his seventh calendar year as a resident of Hazelwood, joining from London Welsh in January of 2017. He has made 84 appearances, playing a part in the team’s surge to two Championship title lifts in the 2016/17 and 2018/19 seasons.
This term, Chawatama has re-established himself as a regular matchday squad member upon return from injury, achieving his first appearances in the Heineken Champions Cup amongst his 16 matches this season.
Describing Chawatama as a “great person” to have around the club, London Irish Director of Rugby, Declan Kidney, explains how the prop forward is a positive influence for the team
“We are delighted to be keeping Lovejoy’s services for the foreseeable future, as well as being a great person, he has shown fantastic character this season after returned from his time on the sidelines.
“He has been a solid staple of our pack this year and gives everything to this Club as a player and also as a person, and radiates a great energy which I believe translates into his performances.
Chawatama said that his time as an Exile has been a “pleasure” so far and hopes to continue making a strong impact on and off the field in west London.
“I’d like to thank Declan and the team for showing so much faith in me this season, it’s been great to work my way back into the team alongside my teammates who I really love to play with
“Signing on for this great Club was a decision I didn’t have to give much thought to, it’s been nothing other than a pleasure so far because I am always surrounded by great people “I want to continue giving my all for the team and the supporters for many seasons to come!”
The 30-year-old, who moved to the Exiles in January 2017, has played 84 times for the club and twice helped them win promotion back to the top flight from the Championship.
He was injured for much of last season but has played 16 times this term.
The club have not disclosed the length of Chawatama’s new contract.
Chawatama was named Zimbabwe Sports Personality of the Year in 2017 and is a hugely popular figure in the Exiles squad.
During the 2020/21 season, Chawatama reached the 50-appearance milestone for London Irish as he enjoyed a stellar season in the green jersey, making 18 appearances in all competitions.
He continued his development as an Exile with two more appearances for Irish in the 2021/22 EPCR Challenge Cup pool stages against Edinburgh Rugby and Saracens. — BBC Sport.