Worcester Warriors have not won on the road in the Aviva Premiership since New Year’s Day 2012 but as they head to the Madejski Stadium this weekend – second row Dean Schofield is determined to end that run and in the process ruin London Irish’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations.
A possible point’s deduction for London Welsh coupled with some recent fine form for London Irish mean the Exiles are not so anxiously peering over their shoulders presently.
But in front of an expectant bumper crowd in Reading, Worcester, who ended a Premiership five-game losing streak last-time out against London Wasps, are determined to play the role of unwanted party poopers.
Worcester won 35-11 when the two clubs met in round five of the Premiership, and the Warriors are going for a first ever league double over the Exiles.
The West Midlanders have already been defeated at Madejski Stadium this season: 46-24 in the LV= Cup on 27 January, whilst the Warriors' only previous win at the venue came way back in September 2005.
Schofield said: “It’s a party day for them and it is their biggest day of the season because of the celebrations. That will put even more pressure on them and it won’t be a party atmosphere on the pitch.
“We’re looking forward to playing in front of 20,000 fans and we’re desperate to come away with a win. It’s going to be a great match against London Irish.
“We will go there, pull our socks up and hopefully come away with a victory.
“They’re a dangerous team and have a lot of excellent strike-runners. They’ve been in good form recently and are still fighting to avoid relegation so it’s a massive game for them.”
London Irish have won their last four matches at the Madejski Stadium in all competitions – their best home run since April 2011, but have won just one of their last three Aviva Premiership Rugby contests.
Rocked by the news England international Jonathan Joseph will be departing the Madejski Stadium this season for Bath – London Irish are desperate to put the feel-good factor into the club.
And with reluctant travellers Worcester in town – London Irish are determined to take another giant stride towards Aviva Premiership safety.
"Growing up, St Patrick's Day was the day when the schools cup finals were always played, so it's always been a big sporting day for me," said London Irish flanker Ian Humphreys.
"Obviously over here London Irish have a big tradition of having this game every year, I think it's the 13th or 14th season of it, so it's a game that's been in the back of my mind for a few weeks.
"We know it's going to be a big crowd, hopefully the weather will be good and it should be an exciting game. It'll be great for us as well it'll be a bumper crowd, a big atmosphere and a great day out.
"Our crowd has been brilliant all year, but playing in front of a sell-out, or close to one, can give you a massive lift.
"It'll be a real party atmosphere and it gives the players that extra bit of energy, it's something that I'm really excited about playing in and hopefully it can be a good game and great for those who have come to watch.
"We've played Worcester twice this year, once they hammered us and the other we won, so we know it's not going to be an easy game.
"But we want to win all our home games, and the least our fans deserve is us going out with the mindset that we're going to win.
“With Worcester being just above us in the table it would be nice to go and win and get closer to them in the league."
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(Madejski Stadium, 3pm)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (118th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Pearce & Peter Huckle.