19 May 2017
Points machine Tommy Bell says it would mean everything to him to be playing in the Premiership again.
The Exiles are just 80 minutes away from a return to English rugby’s top table and Bell, who made the switch from Leicester Tigers last summer, is determined for his side to reach the Promised Land by seeing off Yorkshire Carnegie on Wednesday night.
“The club deserves to be in the Premiership and everyone has worked extremely hard both on and off the field to put us in a position to go back up,” said Bell, 24.
“Our supporters have been amazing throughout the season and have travelled the length and breadth of the country to watch us play.
“Hopefully we can give them their reward this evening by gaining promotion back to the Premiership.”
Irish lead 29-18 going into the second leg, Bell kicking 19 of those points to add to his handsome tally of 229 for the season.
Reflecting on a tough night at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, the talented full-back said: “It was a real tussle at their place and you could see how much they were up for it right from the off.
“We knew that they would get their fair share of opportunities to test our defensive resolve and vice versa during periods of the game.
“That’s just the nature of rugby and momentum swings happen. The key to it is how well we cope with the pressure that is put on us and I thought we coped with that very well.
“To come back from a tough first half and put ourselves in the position that we are in now was a huge effort from all of the boys.
“We talked before the game about the importance of being able to handle the occasion in the best possible way and the ability to play smart and physical rugby.
“Yorkshire were certainly very much up for the battle and we had to match their physicality early on, which we did.”
You can read the full interview in Wednesday’s edition of ‘The Exile’ programme on Wednesday night.
The Play-off Final, 7.45pm Wednesday 24 May, Madejski Stadium - London Irish v Yorkshire Carnegie. Tickets from only £10 for adults and £1 for children from www.lidirect.co.uk or 0118 968 1016.