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Topsy Ojo keen to reward new and old London Irish fans

With London Irish fans arriving in New York in their droves, Exiles veteran Topsy Ojo admits he is determined to reward them for their support while encouraging a new legion of green in New York City.

The Exiles play host this Saturday in Aviva Premiership Rugby's first ever overseas fixture when they clash with league-leaders Saracens at the 25,000-seater Red Bull Arena.

Playing at the home of MLS side New York Red Bulls, the Exiles are hoping to harness an area rich in Irish heritage, and the spirit of St Patrick's Day, as they look to rectify last weekend's loss to Bath Rugby.

And Ojo – who helped show off the Aviva Premiership Rugby trophy to passersby in Times Square yesterday – insists that whichever fans turn out on Saturday, whether they have been following the side for years or only a week, London Irish are going to put on a show.

“We have a great opportunity out here to touch a lot of people, but from what I’ve heard we have a lot supporters coming over as well,” he said.

“Our team have done a great job to make sure everyone in New Jersey knew we were coming, and hopefully come Saturday the stadium will be full of green.

“We are looking forward to engaging with a host of new fans; rugby is taking off in this country so if we can be at the forefront of that, it’s huge for the club and huge for the game.

“And to see our fans flying over in their droves is amazing. Our fans have been brilliant all year, and the fact that they are prepared to travel across continents to support the boys despite the tough times this year is testament to how strong they are.

“They mean everything to us, play a huge part in what we’re trying to do, and we know they are behind us 100 per cent.”

Meanwhile, with a mixture of down-time and intense training packed into their schedule this week, veteran prop Tom Court believes his side will come into the clash more refreshed than ever.

He said: “Weeks away like this are tricky. But I see this trip as a real positive as it gives the boys a big chance to stick together and discuss what we need to do from here on.

“The main thing is trying to get the perfect balance between getting all the boys to be switched on and focused on the task, but also giving everyone the chance to switch off and not be fried by the end of the week.

“The schedule we’ve had has been perfect this week. There’s been plenty of opportunities for down-time and for the boys to enjoy themselves, but we are so focused on the game tomorrow.

“The senior guys are making sure that filters through to some of the younger guys; for them all this is very exciting being away for a week, but we need to make sure they are focused on getting the job done first.

“Everyone will be able to enjoy themselves after the weekend if we do what we are here for.”

For tickets to this historic match go to londonirishusa.com

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