Ojo hails morale-boosting late victory for the Exiles

Ojo hails morale-boosting late victory for the Exiles

TOPSY Ojo believes London Irish’s last-gasp win at home to Exeter Chiefs in the Aviva Premiership showed “character from the team”.

Shane Geraghty’s drop-goal in the last minute of the match snatched victory away from the Chiefs as the Exiles won 28-26.

The triumph was only the hosts’ second home league win all season but Ojo believes it can be a catalyst for greater things.

“The win was probably a bit nervier than we would have liked but it was character from the team,” said the former England winger.

“Winning it in that fashion, being ahead then going behind — that might actually be a bigger boost in the long term than winning it easily.

“It was a great kick from Shane but for the team to create that for him to nail the kick was brilliant. We deserved the win, we played really well and fully justified the points.”

The win over Exeter was not the first time, though, that Ojo had experienced last-minute drama in an Exiles jersey.

“I remember we played Leinster in the Heineken Cup in 2010. We went for a kick to win, missed it and drew the match.”

Irish ran in four tries during the win over Exeter, while restricting the visitors to just two tries with Irish-born Gareth Steenson contributing 16 points from the boot for the Chiefs.

It was a marked improvement for the hosts, who have the league’s second-worst defensive record, and Ojo feels it is an area that has developed well recently.

“Our defence was really good. I think across the board our defence has improved, not just yesterday but in the past couple of weeks.

“The tempo and speed we played the game at, it was up there as one of our best performances this year. We simplified things a bit, played to the strengths of the team and it paid dividends.”

The win, which included tries from Blair Cowan (2), Tom Guest and Alex Lewington, was the Exiles’ first bonus-point triumph of the season.

It ensures 20 points now separate Irish in 11th from bottom club London Welsh and Ojo is hopeful the side can kick on in the second half of the season.

“We’re playing catch-up to the rest of the league so if we are to do anything positive, that is the ethos and mentality we need to have.

“We’ve got a big game coming up this weekend in Europe where we can put ourselves in a great place to qualify for the quarter-finals.”

This weekend (January 17) sees London Irish host Grenoble in the European Challenge Cup.

Despite the French side struggling with form in Europe this year, Ojo is aware it will be a tough match.

“They are a big, strong team, we know that from the game earlier this season. They’re going to test us. It’s going to be tough.”

As for where the game will be won and lost, the 29-year-old was not leaving anyone in any doubt.

“Definitely up front.”