This weekend London Irish welcome Rovigo Delta in The Exiles’ first Pool 1 clash of this year’s European Rugby Challenge Cup.
Irish, coming off the back of a 44 – 24 loss at the hands of Exeter Chiefs will be hoping to kick-off their European campaign with a victory. But the Italian side, who beat Tbilisi in the FIRA qualifying play-off, will be no walk over and London Irish winger Topsy Ojo is expecting a tough game.
“We know they are going to be very physical,” Ojo Said. “They will enjoy an away trip to London but it is a good opportunity for us to focus on ourselves.”
Irish have had a decent start to their Aviva premiership campaign, picking up twelve points from six games. Despite the points Ojo admits there is still along way to go.
“There is definitely room for improvement. We have been competitive, especially against the likes of Northampton and Saracens but if you really look at those games we should have won both of them and picked up a few more points.”
“In terms of progression as a club, we are getting there slowly but there is still a long way to go for us.”
“We’ve put the Exeter game to bed now and we are just focusing on putting on a really good display in front of our supporters this Sunday.”
Following the reports of a virus that hit the camp ahead of the Exeter game it appears this is wearing off and the boys should be fighting fit come Sunday.
“Hopefully no more issues this week,” Ojo said of the virus. “I think there is a couple more that have been knocked down but hopefully by Wednesday, Thursday we should have a clean bill of health across the squad and we can go into this Sunday with no issues.”
Despite the challenge Rovigo pose, Irish are looking for a good win on Sunday to set them up for the rest of the pool stages.
“You want to win your home games and it is a great one to start with on Sunday.”
“We have quite a short turn around then to face Grenoble who are a tough team as we saw in pre-season when they played Harlequins and they were really impressive.”
“It is a tough two games in terms of the time frame but we want to start really well and put ourselves in a commanding position in the group and come Cardiff in December we will know exactly where we stand.”
London Irish face Rovigo at the Madejski on Sunday 19 October with a kick-off time of 15:00.