TOP BAR - Fixtures

Ojo gearing up for five ‘cup finals’

It is a phrase which is often used by sportsmen but you suspect Topsy Ojo really means it when he states London Irish’s remaining games all feel like cup finals.

And the stats back it up. Irish are currently bottom of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table, five points below Newcastle Falcons and 13 from Worcester Warriors with only five matches remaining.

And with Worcester the opponents tomorrow and Newcastle in three weeks – not to mention title-chasing Wasps and Harlequins still to come – Irish have no room for error if they are to retain their Aviva Premiership Rugby status.

Ojo is part of the furniture at Irish, having first joined the club’s academy 13 years ago, and is yet to play outside of the top flight.

And if the club’s record try scorer can add to his tally of 45 Aviva Premiership scores in the final weeks of the campaign, then few could have been more important.

Sunday’s 23-18 victory over Gloucester was massive for the club but it will count for little if Tom Coventry’s men are unable to secure the required points required before the season ends in May.

Ojo said: “Sunday was a great step forward but it is only the start and there is still a lot of work to do.

“This Sunday is the next one and all of these games are like huge cup finals now and we need to turn up and be prepared.

“It has been a normal week because we knew in previous weeks that every game from here on it would be huge and there would be a lot riding on it and we have to put a lot of work in to get out of this hole.

“Sunday was huge because we got over the line having been closing in on that in the previous weeks. So that gives us a bit of momentum and there has been more positivity.

“Sunday will be a huge target but we will be prepared and up for the fight.”

The Exiles travel to Sixways this weekend well aware of their torrid away record; they have not won successive encounters in the Aviva Premiership since February 2014 and their solitary away victory in all competitions this season came at Agen in the European Challenge Cup.

It is something which is not lost on Ojo and the former England winger believes the players will use the unwanted record to fire themselves up against Worcester.

The 30-year-old said: “We know our away form has not been good and that we need to address it – and quickly. It would be a good record to get rid of and everyone prioritises their home form but you have to pick up points away from home, especially in the position we are in.

“We know how important it is and we can use that as a motivating factor to go to Sixways this weekend and get a result.”

If you want to be at the world's biggest club rugby final, this year's Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on 28 May, tickets are still available from premiershiprugby.com/final.
 

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