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Preview: London Irish v Gloucester

Preview: London Irish v Gloucester

Blair Cowan insists London Irish can turn their fortunes around this season despite being eight points adrift of 11th placed Newcastle Falcons in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table.

The Exiles are set to host Gloucester Rugby in their annual St Patrick’s Day fixture and Cowan is full of confidence at claiming a positive result.  

This is the 16th St Patrick's Day fixture played at the Madejski Stadium, where London Irish's record is won eight, lost seven.

The Exiles have won three of their last four Premiership encounters at the Madejski Stadium, only losing to Exeter Chiefs in round 10 – a record they will be hoping to improve further against the Cherry and Whites.

Irish fell to a determined Saracens effort last week in Aviva Premiership Rugby’s first ever overseas fixture at the Red Bull Arena, but Scottish international Cowan is confident they will right the ship on Sunday.

 He said: “It is going to be another massive game for us on Sunday. We are under no illusion of the task facing us, we are at the bottom of the table and we need to start winning.

“This is the perfect time to do it – the St Patrick’s Day Game is going to be special. The players are pretty amped and looking forward to it.

“It was a pretty special week in America. As a group we were together for the entire week and were able to do the small prep and had plenty of time to get treatment and we got a full recovery every night.

“The biggest plus would be the fact we became tighter as a group as we built into the week which created a massive buzz. The boys loved it, it was great to try something new and the support was amazing. The atmosphere was something that I will never forget.

“Every week we are improving. If you look at our stats with our set piece, tackle completion and attacking game it has just been building and building.”

Gloucester Rugby's last five fixtures in Aviva Premiership Rugby have all gone with home field advantage. 
Away from home, the Cherry & Whites have won just one of their last seven trips in Aviva Premiership Rugby – 15-11 at Bath in February.

And Gloucester scrum-half Callum Braley insists the Cherry and Whites must respond in style against Irish after last weekend’s disappointing loss against Worcester Warriors. 

"Obviously, it was a disappointing performance and result from us on the weekend but, ultimately, the test now is how we are going to bounce back to get a result this week against an Irish side who are playing well,” he said.

"It's going to be a big challenge for us. They will be full of excitement playing at home and they will be right up for it in a relegation battle where every game counts and you need to win every game.

"That's important for them but we have to concentrate on ourselves."

(Madejski Stadium, 3pm)
Matthew Carley (41st Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell & Paul Dix. TMO: Trevor Fisher.

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