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Tom Court wants a more conservative London Irish


London Irish currently find themselves at the foot of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table and prop Tom Court believes a more conservative gameplan may be required to get out of danger.

The Exiles have won just two league games from ten this term and suffered a 38-10 defeat away to Sale Sharks last time out.

London Irish were only 12-10 behind at the break but Sale pulled away in the second half as Irish once again failed to gain a losing bonus point, meaning they are still seeking their first of the season.

That lack of losing bonus points has ensured Tom Coventry’s troops trail Newcastle Falcons and Worcester Warriors in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table, despite accruing the same number of victories.

And as they prepare for a home clash with Worcester this weekend, Court insists his side must stop letting games slip away late on as they try to put the disappointing Sale loss behind them

“Against Sale, half-time was where it all started going wrong for us. It seemed to give them an opportunity to get revved up, which it didn’t for us,” said Court.

“They scored quickly after half-time and it was a bit of a capitulation from us in the last 20 minutes or so to be honest.

“Games like that and with that scoreline are a bit embarrassing but we need to be honest with ourselves and realise that second half was not good enough.

“Sale were doing what we thought they would and what we had game-planned for but we weren’t good enough to execute it. We didn’t have the hunger we needed.

“With the situation we find ourselves in at the bottom of the league, we probably need to be a bit more conservative in our gameplan, especially away from home.

“We haven’t got any bonus points yet this season and we need to go into games looking for a losing bonus point at least rather than letting the game get away from us late on like we have so far.

“For us, and the situation we’re in, we need to just worry about it week by week. Each game needs to be our cup final if we want to stay up. So we’ve just got to focus on Worcester for the time being.”

The job of dragging themselves up the table became that much harder for London Irish this week with news that All Blacks prop Ben Franks will be out for three months with a ruptured bicep tendon.

But as a prop himself, Court knows what is needed to succeed in the front row and is convinced the Exiles have players capable of doing just that.

“Ben’s experience and ability means it’s a big loss for us but we’ve got guys like Hal [Halani Aulika] and Leo [Halavatau] who great players and more than capable of stepping in,” explained Court.

“Hal has the ability to be one of the best tightheads in the league on his day. He’s got the ability, it’s just about finding that consistency.

“Leo has shown his ability as well, so while it will be tough to replace Ben, I believe we’ve got the players to do it.”


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