London Irish geared up for Newcastle clash after honourable European exit

London Irish geared up for Newcastle clash after honourable European exit

LONDON IRISH can take heart from their honourable exit from the European Rugby Challenge Cup ahead of their crucial trip to Newcastle Falcons this Sunday.

Irish suffered a 38-30 defeat to Harlequins in the quarter-final at the Twickenham Stoop at the weekend but put in a commendable performance against a side bursting with international stars.

The visiting supporters applauded their men off the field of play and there’s no time to dwell on the defeat as the all-important league campaign resumes this weekend, with Aviva Premiership survival at stake.

The Exiles travel to Newcastle four points adrift from their opponents at the foot of the table with three games to play and even though head coach Tom Coventry made changes for the Quins defeat, his assistant Clark Laidlaw insists the whole squad have been buoyed by their latest performance.

“We’ve tried not to be too up and down about wins and losses, but the players are in a good place,” he said.

“They’re working hard and they’re enthusiastic at training every day. That hasn’t changed throughout the year, we just have to try and play with that freedom to try and match this performance.”

Irish’s best moment of the match undoubtedly came from Sean Maitland, who exploited several gaps to sprint 40 metres and cross the whitewash in the second-half, and Laidlaw admits the Scotland international could be a key player in the Newcastle trip.

He said: “Sean’s a class finisher, we just need to keep him on the front foot and get him the ball in space, because that’s what he can do.”