London Irish can handle the pressure, insists SmithBy Alan Manicom
December 28, 2012
Brian Smith insists his London Irish side are not feeling the pressure of being locked in a battle to avoid relegation from the Aviva Premiership.
Exiles are just five points clear of safety after basement club Sale Sharks picked up a losing bonus point in their 25-18 defeat at London Wasps on Sunday.
Irish’s director of rugby said: “We are concerned, but this is no time to get anxious or nervous. We have a job to do.
“It is a challenging one. The most disappointing thing is when young men, who you are in charge of, toil very hard and work their socks off, but come away with nothing.
“You feel for them, but the boys are very resilient.
“They get over things very quickly and there is always a training day or a match day coming up that you can set your sights on and focus on. That’s what we’ll do.”
Irish are hoping to have second-row forward George Skivington (ribs) and loose-head prop Alex Corbisiero (knee) back from injury for Saturday’s trip to Twickenham to face leaders Harlequins, but back-row forward Ofisa Treviranus may not play again until February.
Smith said: “Hopefully we will have Alex Corbisiero back. We will have to see how his knee is progressing.
“But it looks like Ofisa Treviranus is a month and a bit away.
“The cavalry is not coming over the hill.”
Smith used only half of his eight replacements in last Saturday’s 31-9 home defeat by Leicester Tigers, leaving Shane Geraghty, Kieran Low, Jack Moates and Guy Armitage on the bench.
Exiles’ boss said: “I thought the game was in the balance and it wasn’t appropriate to be making lots of changes when the game was so tight.
“We left the majority of the boys out there to go the distance, so we might need to freshen things up for the next game.
“We will have some tired boys.
“Tuesday is normally a really tough training day so we will have to go a bit lighter this week anyway.”
Marland Yarde made his comeback after being sidelined by injury.
Smith said: “Marland is kicking himself about missing Floody (Toby Flood) on that last play that left the game open, but he did some very good things.
“He is an outstanding prospect and we are lucky to have him.
“That was his first hit out in seven weeks so he will be better next time for it.”