7 March 2023
London Irish back-row forward Josh Basham maintained that the Exiles sticking to their game plan against Newcastle Falcons saw them power through to a 34-19 victory.
Basham returned to Kingston Park for the first time since his arrival back at Hazelwood over the summer in Round 19 of the Gallagher Premiership, dotting down against his former employers as one of five scorers on the day.
The Exiles’ Academy graduate, who spent the previous four seasons of his career amongst Falcons’ Academy and later in the senior set-up, played out 80 minutes and contributed heavily to Irish’s win.
He also recorded 14 tackles, made two clean breaks and made 23 metres from four carries, saying of his outing: “It was a strange feeling coming up here and being part of the away dressing room, but it was really nice to be up here – I loved it.
“I want to put in a good performance every week and this game was no exception, and I’m happy with how it went.”
Basham, alike his Head Coach Les Kiss, was keen to emphasise the importance of Irish’s fast and furious start on Tyneside after three tries from Basham, Tom Pearson and Danilo Fischetti.
“The start of the game was a big focus for us this week, we know how tough it is to come up north and get a result – maybe me more than anyone!
“It was really key for us to make a strong impression to start off with and then carry that momentum forward.
“Falcons are a good team and had a bit of a purple patch in places, but it was about getting back to that disciplined side of things to help us finish off the game.”
Irish would have to battle for their five points accrued on the day, initially taking a 19-point lead that was then equated by their counterparts in the second half through a Carl Fearns try.
The matching of the double figure swing by Dave Walder’s men did not deter the Exiles nor their approach on the game, with further tries from Matt Cornish, Ollie Hassell-Collins and a Paddy Jackson penalty taking Irish to the result.
Basham describes the moments after Falcons’ tries and the determination within the team in the face of adversity, equally recognising the refinement needed in the coming weeks.
“The talk behind the posts after their tries was to keep to what we do and know best, how we have been training and applying that,” he explicated.
“We knew that is what happens in rugby; we didn’t panic and stuck to how we want to approach the game, and we were sure that we would come out on the right side, which we did.
“We didn’t try to force anything, whether that be passes or anything else, and just stuck to how we have been in training in the week.
“We always knew that there was going to be momentum swings in the game, and I think it’s how you come together in those moments that get results.
“Winning those individual moments is what we have been looking at, in terms of how we want to finish the season.
“I feel it was our discipline that let us down in certain areas and let them back gain field position.
“Going forward, we need to do better in not allowing tries in so easily in our 22.”
With more work-ons to address for Basham and co., the squad have nonetheless picked up four wins in their last five Premiership games owed to the “belief” in the team.
“I think there is that sense of momentum with us at the moment, we started the season struggling to close games and I think the recent run we have had has shown the belief we have as a squad.
“It’s winning those moments that were a bit rarer in the first half of the season, moments where we didn’t pull through, but now we are seeing them come to the fore.”