20 February 2023
London Irish captain Matt Rogerson has relayed the “brilliant buzz” from within the Exiles’ camp at present, following on from a 25-10 victory over Bath Rugby.
Rogerson played a physical and crucial role in picking up four points for his team in his 73 minutes at the Recreation Ground on Saturday, Irish’s first win there since 2009.
Tries from half-back duo Paddy Jackson and Ben White, as well as Benhard Janse van Rensburg’s score, brought Irish ahead in the West Country for the headline win.
A determination to end Irish’s barren run away from home against Bath was a key energiser for Declan Kidney’s travelling party in Round 17 of the Gallagher Premiership, Rogerson explicated.
“We hadn’t won there in a long time, which was a big motivator for us going into the game,” he told.
“We wanted to come and get a result but we know how difficult a place it is to do that, so the me and the boys are very pleased.”
The Club skipper maintains that taking a lead into the break, despite it being just a two-point advantage at 12-10, played a prominent part in the psychology of both teams for the game’s remainder.
“We had to work very hard for that lead at half-time, Bath put an awful lot of pressure on us in our own 22 and we thought by half-time that we didn’t exit as well as we could.
“A couple of times we might have been able to put the ball out to the lads to relieve some pressure and allow them to bring it back to us, or we made some errors and they got the turnover from that.
“We did invite pressure onto ourselves, but equally we defended brilliantly to keep them out and score some points of our own.
“To go in at half-time with the lead would have taken the wind out of their sails a bit after they took the lead themselves, and it gave us confidence.”
With Bath players being sent to the sin bin on three occasions, those in Blue, Black and White were tasked with facing an onrushing Irish side looking to end their 14-year hoodoo at the Rec.
Rogerson explains the Exiles’ thought process in making sure their numerical advantage counted in the absence of two opposing players for Janse van Rensburg’s fourth try of the season on the hour.
“There was a lot of conversations going on between myself and the other leadership group; Rob Simmons at the lineout, Paddy [Jackson] moving the backline and we’re always talking about where the spaces are and where opportunities might open up.
“We look at areas where they might be a man short and we still played very tactically in terms of playing territory and not rushing things.
“Eventually avenues open up to exploit, and the boys worked really hard to drive us around the park to help us to a brilliant win.”
As a matchday regular this term, Rogerson went on to corroborate his coach Brad Davis’ recent evaluation of elevated standards throughout the squad this season.
“There’s been a brilliant buzz, and what I think is really amazing about our squad currently is that everyone is pushing each other.
“You can see that by how well we have done in the cup, lads aren’t playing in the Premiership week in, week out are playing brilliantly and putting their hands up for spaces in the Prem.
“It really lifts standards of all the boys playing in Prem, knowing we have to go out and win on the weekends to keep our place in the team.
“I think the competitive nature around the Club is really positive, the lads have been fantastic even if they have not been playing and have helped prep the boys well.
“They’re really buying into that, we’re building something really nice so we’ll keep chipping away and see where that takes us.”