Roche believes win is more important than rivalry
February 26, 2010
Kieran Roche insists he will treat Sunday’s home match with fierce rivals Harlequins the same as any other game.
For fans of both sides the match will have greater importance due to local bragging rights, but the 30-year-old lock is adamant that, for the players at least, the rivalry is not as important as getting a win.
London Irish have not won since they beat Saracens 23-19 back on December 27 and Roche knows how important a win over Quins would be for Exiles.
He said: “You target wins and we need one to get back on track. It will be a tough game and we have to treat it as any other match.
“Geographically it is the nearest game and we are right on their doorstep, but the way the league is this year then every game is a big one in terms of us putting emphasis on it.
“It’s a big game for the fans, but I would like to think that any game we play at home is like that.
“They are great fans and always make it hard for any opposition.
“We have tried to put things in place this week to beat Quins and we are in a good position in the league, but we could probably do with a win regardless of the opposition.”
Due to the proximity of the clubs many of the Irish and Quins players know each other well, none more so than Nick Kennedy and former Exiles centre Nils Mordt.
Roche explained: “We see a few of them around, we all live in similar areas.
“I don’t know any of them that well, but a few of our guys are quite good friends with them.
“Nils Mordt lives with Nick Kennedy and I know Nils from when he was here.
“Some of the boys know them from internationals and it always a bit more interesting when you know the opposition, but I still don’t think there will be any love lost at the weekend.”
Exiles had to settle for a draw at Newcastle last time out, despite leading 12-0 in the first half.
But Roche believes that the two points gained could help get the club’s season back on track.
He said: “You get 12 points up in what was tough conditions and you would want to close it out, but if you had offered us two points at the start of the day then we would have probably taken it.
“Ultimately it gets us back on track and we took some positives away from it.
“Line-outs were an aspect we looked at last weekend because of the playing conditions.
“You try to put things in your favour and that’s what we did in the first half. You have to do the right thing at the right time.”
THE President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, will be the guest of honour at the game against Quins.
The President will be meeting both sets of players on the pitch before kick-off and will be presented with the newly-launched 2010 London Irish St Patrick’s Party Shirt by skipper Bob Casey.
After the match President McAleese will attend a function at the Reading Irish Centre, Chatham Street.