TOP BAR - Fixtures

Geraghty: Rovigo trip no walk in the park

Rovigo may appear to be the whipping boys of their European Rugby Challenge Cup pool but as London Irish prepare for their trip to Italy, Shane Geraghty won’t tolerate talk of a walkover.

After losing 70-14 to the Exiles in the tournament’s opening round and shipping 104 points at Cardiff Blues last weekend, Rovigo have struggled in Europe this season.

Their final clash sees them host London Irish, with the Aviva Premiership Rugby side knowing a bonus-point win will see them top Pool 1 and secure a home semi-final.

Geraghty is eager to do exactly that, as Irish eye up a run to the final, but the fly-half insists a visit to Rovigo won’t be as easy as many would make it out to be.

“If you look at their home games, they lost to a last-minute try to Grenoble and Cardiff only beat them by 15 points in the end,” he said.

“It’s not going to be a walk in the park. They have got a good forward pack and they play some good rugby. We are not buying too much into their result away at Cardiff. It would be silly to read too much into that.

“The prospect of a trophy is massive motivation. We have perhaps not been involved in knockout rugby for quite a while now and that is certainly one of our motivating factors.”

Irish kept themselves in pole position in the pool with an enthralling bonus-point win against Grenoble on Saturday.

In their first match since the departure of director of rugby Brian Smith – and under the temporary care of Glenn Delaney – Geraghty and co served up a thriller.

Down to 14 men and then trailing by ten points in the dying stages, tries from Andrew Fenby and Myles Dorrian – the latter converted by Tom Homer – secured a 43-41 triumph.

And after his last-gasp drop goal sank Exeter Chiefs the previous weekend, Gergahty insists the Exiles are beginning to show their resolve amid the off-field distractions.

He added: “First of all, Grenoble turned up to play some fantastic rugby. You don’t play many of those games in your career. At the end we were maybe a bit lucky but fair play to the boys in the last ten minutes.

“We clawed it back a few times and it was a massive squad effort. It just shows we are not a bad rugby team – bad teams don’t come back in games like that.

“We are obviously a tight-knit group and London Irish have got a good culture here and there are times, like that, when you need everyone to stick together.

“Glenn has stepped up and everyone has been brilliant really. Training has been good and it always helps when you have had a win.

“It’s the nature of the beast – people move on and people come in. I have been around long enough and been through it before. All you can do is control the rugby side of things.”

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