London Irish keep faith with Sisi and GrayBy Alan Manicom
January 20, 2012
London Irish coach Toby Booth has no qualms about continuing to pin his faith on exciting young forwards David Sisi and Alex Gray in the Heineken Cup.
Samoa World Cup star Ofisa Treviranus had been expected to be back from paternity leave yesterday to strengthen Exiles’squad for their final Pool 2 clash against Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Sunday. But his return has been delayed following complications over the birth of his child.
And Exiles are without injured back-row forwards Jamie Gibson, Declan Danaher, Chris Hala’Ufia, Richard Thorpe and Jebb Sinclair.
But Booth insists that 18-year-old Sisi and 20-year-old Gray showed they are more than ready for first-team action in last Saturday’s 22-15 home defeat by Cardiff Blues.
The Exiles boss said: “Sisi was excellent considering it was his first outing in the Heineken Cup and he was up against people like Sam Warburton. He was fantastic for effort and in contact, while Alex Gray showed some really nice touches too. It is just about teaching them the finer points of game understanding.”
Booth’s options are limited because of Irish’s injury problems and he said: “Clubs can only register 32 players and make one change. We have already done that with Ofisa so even people coming back from injury can’t figure if they were not registered. It will be a case of reshuffling the deck.”
Paul Hodgson, who starts for Exiles on Sunday, has been linked with a move to Worcester when his contract expires at the end of the season.
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London Irish team to face Edinburgh:
15. Delon Armitage; 14. Topsy Ojo; 13. Jonathan Spratt; 12. Shontayne Hape; 11. Adam Thompstone; 10. Adrian Jarvis; 9. Paul Hodgson; 1. Alex Corbisiero; 2. James Buckland; 3. Leo Halavatau; 4. James Sandford; 5. Bob Casey (Captain); 6. Matt Garvey; 7. David Sisi; 8. Alex Gray
Replacements: 16. Brian Blaney; 17. Max Lahiff; 18. Faan Rautenbach; 19. Nick Kennedy; 20. Bryn Evans; 21. Jonathan Joseph; 22. Steven Shingler; 23. Ross Samson