After being given a rare weekend off, London Irish fly-half Ian Humphreys insists he feels mentally refreshed and ready to help down his former club Leicester Tigers.
Humphreys will welcome the Tigers to the Madesjski Stadium for Saturday’s Aviva Premiership clash, having been rested to allow some game-time for Shane Geraghty as the Exiles were well-beaten by Gloucester Rugby in the Amlin Challenge Cup last weekend.
The 30-year-old has been a regular at 10 for Brian Smith’s men all season, and had started the club’s previous 12 fixtures, including their last victory back in October against Northampton Saints.
But despite training all week in the build-up to the Gloucester loss, Humphreys believes being given leave from match action will stand him in good stead as he prepares to kick-start his club’s form.
“I had played 12 games in a row and Shane Geraghty needed a run out,” he said. If I am injured, not playing, or playing badly, he needs a bit of time on the field.
“I had a nice weekend off. I took the kids out and it was nice to get away for a weekend. Mentally, having a bit of time off was a good thing.
“I trained all week so physically it hasn’t changed much but mentally the break has been beneficial as you focus on things so much it is good to change that mindset.
“Now though I am looking forward to getting back into the team for a big game against Leicester.
“They are a well-respected team but more importantly we are at home and for our fans we need to put in a performance.”
The Exiles go into the game second-bottom in the Aviva Premiership, having won just twice and losing eight games so far this season.
But Humphreys is adamant he made the right decision to leave Ulster this summer and sign a three-year deal at the Madejski.
“I’d have preferred to have won a few more games but I am enjoying the lifestyle and the rugby,” he said.
“Everyone is disappointed at where we are but we are still confident that between now and the end of the season we will put together enough wins to make a decent finish in the league.”
Another who could face his former club in this fixture is Tigers wing Adam Thompstone.
The 25-year-old made the switch from Irish in the summer. He is looking forward to visiting the club he started his career at, but admits there will be no time for sentiment.
“I’m looking forward to going back and seeing all of the guys I used to play with,” he said. “I started my career there and so it’s going to be a nice return but obviously my main focus is on Leicester.
“It’s a good place to go and play rugby and I always enjoyed it in Reading as it’s a great stadium with good fans.
“I had a tough time there with injury but the club was good to me during that time and I am glad I managed to get as many appearances as I did – it started things off well for my career.
“They are going through a tough time but they’ve shown on numerous occasions they can run any side close so we have to be on our guard – complacency is what kills you in this league so we have to be wary.”
Referee: Luke Pearce (10th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Ashley Rowden, Peter Huckle.