Rory Jennings has disclosed that the London Irish team have elevated their in-game communication to overcome challenging moments in recent games.

Jennings has played a crucial role in the Exiles’ recent outings; putting in a crunching tackle on Sale Sharks’ Cobus Wiese on Sunday in his eighth game for Irish since the turn of the year.

The 27-year-old would play out 72 minutes of Irish’s bonus point win against Alex Sanderson’s side, with tries from Hugh O’Sullivan, Agustín Creevy, Lucio Cinti, Tarek Haffar, James Stokes leading the charge to victory.

The flexible back credits the mental endurance of the side in taking the five points in Round 20 of the Gallagher Premiership.

“It was a tough game, as expected, we were playing a formidable team that are still second in the league,” Jennings commented.

“Like last week, we started really well and that helped bring momentum to the game.

“We’ve grown as a team, in years gone by or maybe even last season we may have let them in, and the game would have got away from us.

“We’re really happy we got that swing of momentum and put the pressure back on them.”

As Sale remained just a converted score behind Irish with 13 minutes to go, Jennings’ tackle on a 6 ft 5 ½ Wiese was unquestionably decisive in the game’s outcome.

Given the South African lock could no longer continue and Sale had used all available replacements, the home side went on to add two more scores through Senior Academy prop Haffar and Stokes.

“I saw he [Cobus Wiese] had a pretty clean run-in, so I thought that I might as well hit him with everything I have!

“Luckily it worked out, on another day he might have scored that so I just chucked myself in and put my shoulder and arms on him with all my force.

“I felt pretty sore afterwards, but luckily, I’ve got a week to recover for a big game on Sunday.”

Exeter Chiefs stand as the next hurdle for Irish to overcome this weekend in the Premiership Rugby Cup final, a tournament Jennings will hope to continue his influence come Sunday after playing in four of five available tournament matches.

Having already eclipsed his appearance haul from last season by seven games, it’s plain to see Jennings is enjoying his pitch time in Irish green.

Against Sharks, Jennings amassed 31 metres from seven carries, seven tackles, one try assist, and beat two defenders in a solid outing on home soil.

“I’m dead chuffed to be playing regularly, I’m loving my time at the Club and it’s great playing with the likes of Paddy [Jackson] and BV [Benhard Janse van Rensburg] in midfield.

“There’s others too, the likes of Will Joseph, Ollie [Hassell-Collins]; I have so much talent around me that makes it really easy for me to slot in to try and express myself.

“We have got a good balance, I think, in terms of how we play.

“We have a great attacking mentality, but we know when to put pressure on other teams and that’s the balance that we’re striving to get right.

“We scored some good tries today, but that’s off the foundation of good defence and some smart rugby players.”

Irish’s clinical execution on the field is being married with a more resolute mindset, in the eyes of Jennings, with the squad structuring a more cohesive approach.

“We’ve got a lot better at connecting in the game, when there are breaks in play we get together and reinforce the messages we’ve gone into the game with.

“In times gone by, we might have let those moments slip and lost focus, so in terms of mentality, we are a lot stronger and focused.

“The leaders in the group are pivotal in that, but our Club Psychologist Mike Roberts is a massive driving force in that.

“It’s made us realise the value in connecting with each other in tight games and socially day-to-day outside too, and such, not letting the game go by.

“It gives us confidence knowing we can do it every week when we do it against teams like Sale.”

With Irish avoiding defeat in all but two games throughout 2023, the experienced fly-half is currently hesitant to read too much into any post-season prospects for the Exiles.

A chance of silverware this Sunday against Chiefs at the Gtech remains the optimum focus amongst a run-in stacked with glamour fixtures for Jennings and the squad.

“We’re not really talking about top four chances or anything like that, as cliché as it sounds, it’s always about the next game with us.

“If we’re too busy looking at the table, are too bothered about that and we lose our games, top four won’t be a possibility.

“Next week we’re not in the Premiership, we have the Premiership Cup final so we’re thinking solely on that.

“It’s coming towards the end of the season now, those wins are extra important but it’s always that next-game mentality.

“We just treat it as the next task coming up, hopefully we do well in those games and we find ourselves contending later on into the season, which would be fantastic.”

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