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Topsy Ojo staying positive despite latest London Irish defeat

Topsy Ojo believes London Irish have made huge strides despite losing to Exeter Chiefs last time out, and the wing is adamant the Exiles can begin to thrive if they cut their penalties and build on an excellent defensive display.   

Veteran winger Ojo crossed against the run of play to give Irish hope against the title-chasing Chiefs, but it wasn't enough as Exeter left the Madejski Stadium with a 22-15 victory.

But he believes London Irish laid out a blueprint to future Aviva Premiership Rugby success, even if the result did not go their way.

The Exiles outscored the normally free-flowing Chiefs and restricted them to a solitary try, but Gareth Steenson kicked five penalties and a conversion to cut down Irish, and Ojo insists his side's ill-discipline was decisive.

“We were disappointed, that was a massive opportunity missed, but if you look at where we were against Northampton, that was a massive turnaround,” he said.  

“We have made massive strides. We created enough opportunities to win and win well, but when you’re playing a team of Exeter’s form, then you have to take those chances.

“Set piece is a hard one for the referee, never mind the players, but you have to look at the amount of penalties we gave away.

“We released the pressure on them by missing kicks and coming in from the side, we can’t afford to give way that many penalties against a team with Exeter’s kickers.”

With Worcester buoyant at Sixways against Sale Sharks and Andy Goode again inspiring a Newcastle Falcons win over Northampton at Kingston Park, Irish gave up valuable ground in their relegation dog-fight.

Ojo though insists all the motivation they need is internal and they are concentrated on improving their own performances, not taking note of others.    

He added: “I would hope that we were motivated before they won. We’re in a scrap but I think if we can turn up and continue to work on our performance in defence from the week end, we will be fine.  

“From a personal perspective it is about standing up. That is a point we have stressed and there is enough in that game against Exeter, our defence in particular stood up well.  

“If we can turn in that kind of performance we will be OK, but we must maintain those targets.

“It is about working hard, getting us up for these games and getting ourselves out of the hole that we are currently in. It is about the 15 guys on the pitch, no one else.”  


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