London Irish have named their side for the eagerly anticipated St Patrick’s Party fixture against Cornish Pirates at the Madejski Stadium tomorrow (kick-off 2pm).
Exiles icon Topsy Ojo, who is closing in on 400 points for the club, returns on the wing and is one of six changes to the side that defeated Yorkshire Carnegie in the league earlier this month.
Ben Ransom starts at full-back, the former Saracens man impressing during last week’s British and Irish Cup quarter-final triumph. Brendan McKibbin replaces Scott Steele at scrum-half, while Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi gets the nod in the front row alongside skipper David Paice and this season’s top try scorer Ben Franks.
Luke Narraway and Senitiki Nayalo round off the changes, with the duo starting at blindside flanker and No. 8 respectively.
Tomorrow’s game will be the fourth meeting between the two sides this campaign, including two games in the pool stages of the British and Irish Cup.
Victory this weekend will guarantee Irish top spot in the Greene King IPA Championship as the play-offs loom large.
Exiles Director of Rugby Nick Kennedy is determined for his side to remain relentless in their approach to each game.
“It’s very important that we concentrate on one game at a time and maintain our focus for 80 minutes,” said Kennedy.
“Building momentum is crucial at this stage of the season – we’re on a good winning run and we are aiming to continue this tomorrow.
“With a lot of competition for places, training has been intense this week as players put their hands up for selection.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge that awaits us and Cornish Pirates will be keen to put pressure on the teams above them as they look to break into the top four.
“After playing them on three previous occasions this season, we’re well aware of the threats that they pose and it will be tough test.”
London Irish will be hosting the annual St Patrick's Party at the Madejski Stadium this Saturday 18 March against Cornish Pirates kicking off at 2pm. This is the biggest game of the season with entertainment for all the family, the RBS 6 Nations last day on big screens and the traditional Irish welcome from 11am to 7pm. Tickets are on sale from 0118 968 1016 or www.lidirect.co.uk.
London Irish: 15 Ben Ransom, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Aseli Tikoirotuma, 12 Fergus Mulchrone, 11 Topsy Ojo, 10 James Marshall, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 1 Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, 2 David Paice (c), 3 Ben Franks, 4 George Robson, 5 Sebastian De Chaves, 6 Luke Narraway, 7 Blair Cowan, 8 Senitiki Nayalo
Replacements: 16 Dave Porecki, 17 Harry Elrington, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 Josh McNally, 20 Jerry Sexton, 21 Scott Steele, 22 Jacob Atkins