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Preview: London Irish v Worcester Warriors

Preview: London Irish v Worcester Warriors

Tom Court claims there is plenty London Irish can learn from Worcester Warriors, but knows they must put in a considerably better performance than last weekend if they are to find any success come Sunday.

Despite only trailing 12-10 at the break, Irish let another game slip away from them in the second half last time out as Sale Sharks cruised to a 38-10 triumph.

That means the Exiles are still yet to register a losing bonus point this term and that – combined with just two league wins – has them at the foot of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table.

Worcester also have just two Aviva Premiership Rugby victories this season, and have lost their last 11 games in all competitions, but three losing bonus points have them lying tenth.

Warriors have only ever recorded one win at the Madejski Stadium – which came back in September 2005 – but prop Court insists there is no danger of London Irish underestimating their visitors.

“Worcester have been very competitive in every game, even pushing the top teams in the league, and are unlucky to only have two wins really,” said Court.

“They have picked up a lot of losing bonus points though which is something we need to do more of.

“They have a strong, strong pack and they are very dangerous off the back of the scrum.

“They know what it takes to hang in there as a team, which is why they have so many losing bonus points.

“They had to hang in there last year to get promoted to the Premiership, and keeping games close is something we could learn from them.

“I hope we will be a different side this week. We have talked a lot about what went wrong against Sale and had some very constructive meetings on how to improve and what we need to do to move up the table.

“Games have been getting away from us in the second half but we know how we want to play to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

History is on London Irish’s side heading into Sunday’s clash with Court and co having lost just one of their last eight fixtures against Worcester, while their previous five Aviva Premiership Rugby matches have all been won by the home side on the day.

Meanwhile Warriors have triumphed once on the road in Aviva Premiership Rugby since January 1 2012 – a 17-12 win at Newcastle Falcons in March 2014.

But prop James Johnston is relishing the prospect of an attritional war at the Madejski Stadium.

“It’s going to be a massive battle, but it’s something we are excited about,” said Johnston.

“It will be a great match with London Irish, they’ve got some very good players but we are looking forward to taking the challenge on.

“We want to get the big win this weekend but we are not really talking about the league position. The main thing is to take it one step at a time.

“It will be a big battle up front. We have been working really hard on our scrummaging and it has been paying off so hopefully we can get on top again.”

Madejski Stadium, 1pm

Referee: Wayne Barnes (162nd Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Ian Tempest & Ashley Rowden. TMO: David Sainsbury.

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