Exiles look to maintain winning momentum

Maintaining the winning momentum that they generated in last Saturday’s Heineken Cup quarter-final victory is vital as London Irish travels north for Sunday’s Guinness Premiership match with Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park, Newcastle (kick-off 3.00pm).

 

With four Premiership rounds to go London Irish needs as many league points as possible to enhance its chances of qualification for next season’s leading European club rugby tournament.

The Exiles make six personnel and one positional change to the stating line-up of the team that played Perpignan in last weekend’s quarter-final. Among the backs Seilala Mapusua switches midfield roles and that enables Shane Geraghty to start at inside centre. Eoghan Hickey replaces the injured Mike Catt at out half.


Danie Coetzee makes his first start at hooker since the 22nd February having recovered from a facial injury.

 

He is joined by Tonga Lea’aetoa in an experienced, all international front row that has Faan Rautenbach continuing at tight head prop. James Hudson comes in to partner captain Bob Casey at lock with Richard Thorpe starting at openside flanker.

 

“Having experienced the exceptional atmosphere of last Saturday’s Heineken Cup quarter-final we’re more determined than ever to ensure we qualify for next year’s tournament,” said Brian Smith, London Irish Director of Rugby.

 

“With four Premiership games to play we believe we can secure a sufficiently high league position to be among the qualifiers.

“We need to retain the positive momentum of last week’s good performance and maintain a winning culture as we go into these last games. Sunday’s game is very important if we are to succeed in reaching our objective.


“We’ve freshened up the starting XV and expect the new faces to bring great energy to the contest,” Smith continued. “The Falcons squad is full of talent with a backline that is truly world class. There are always plenty of points scored when we visit Kingston Park and I’m sure this Sunday will be no different.”


London Irish Team:


15. Peter Hewat; 14. Topsy Ojo; 13. Seilala Mapusua *; 12. Shane Geraghty*; 11. Sailosi Tagicakibau*; 10. Eoghan Hickey; 9. Paul Hodgson*; 1. Tonga Lea’aetoa*; 2. Danie Coetzee*, 3. Faan Rautenbach*; 4. James Hudson; 5. Bob Casey* (captain); 6. Declan Danaher; 7. Richard Thorpe; 8. Phil Murphy*.

Replacements:
16. Dan Murphy; 17. David Paice; 18. Nick Kennedy; 19. Juan Leguizamon*; 20. Steffon Armitage; 21. Warren Fury; 22. Tomas De Vedia*.


* Denotes international
Director of Rugby: Brian Smith; Forwards Coach: Toby Booth; Backs Coach: Mike Catt.

 

Rugbyweek.com   

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