London Irish scrum-half Darren Allinson is relishing the chance to welcome some familiar faces for the Exiles’ St Patrick’s Party clash with Bath Rugby – but he’s warned there will be no old pals’ act.
London Irish welcome high-flying Bath to the Madejski Stadium for their annual St Patrick’s Day bonanza and it will mark the return of former Exiles Matt Garvey, Anthony Watson and David Sisi, not to mention coaches Toby Booth and Neal Hatley.
Luck tends to be with Irish when it comes to their St Patrick’s Party clashes – roared on by a bumper home crowd they have won four of the last five fixtures, the only defeat coming in a barn-storming clash with Leicester Tigers two seasons ago, Irish eventually going down 41-32.
With six rounds to go Bath will arrive at the Madejski Stadium looking to cement their place in the top four but Irish’s season is far from over after recent impressive away wins over Saracens and London Wasps.
The top six – London Irish’s target at the start of the season – remains a possibility and as a result Allinson revealed friendships will be put to one side for 80 minutes.
“There will be a lot of old faces coming back, people like Matt Garvey who was a great servant at this club, I expect he’ll get a great reception on and off the field,” said Allinson.
“It should be a fantastic day. The atmosphere is always incredible and that will make us raise our game, I’ve been involved in two St Patrick’s Day matches before and they were both fantastic.
“Bath are right up there, they’re going great at the moment, and they play an exciting brand of rugby so it will be a great game.
“But we’ll be going all out for the win, we’ve had some good results of late but we feel like we’ve been playing really well since January and maybe only now getting the results we wanted.”
At this year's St Patrick's Party, London Irish will take on Bath Rugbyon 22 March. Kick off is at 5.30pm with entertainment, live music and competitions from 1pm. To buy your ticket, please call 0844 249 1871 or visit www.london-irish.com/tickets