Exiles host floundering Leeds
September 30, 2010
London Irish wing Topsy Ojo races away to score © Getty Images
After a big win over Newcastle on the road last weekend, London Irish are out for more of the same when they take on struggling Leeds at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.
Leeds suffered a mauling at the hands of Leicester Tigers last weekend and have been left behind in the early season rush. Andy Key and Neil Back will be desperate for their first win of the season after the positive strides made by Exeter Chiefs, but the Madejski may not be the most hospitable of places to play given the fact that the Exiles are looking to consolidate top spot in the table.
London Irish - Player to Watch: Samoan centre Seilala Mapusua will win his 100th cap for the Exiles and has been in irresistable form so far this season.
London Irish - Team News: Prop Alex Corbisiero is named in the starting line-up in place of Faan Rautenback, while Sailosi Tagicakibau makes do with a place on the bench thanks to Jonathan Joseph's good form.
Leeds - Player to Watch: Leeds skipper Marco Wentzel. A good performer aroudn the park and in the lineout, his team genuinely need a captain's knock from him this weekend.
Leeds - Team News: There are six changes to the Leeds side, with Andy Titterrell, Sean Hohneck, Kearnan Myall and Danny Paul all strating in the pack. Luther Burrell and Semi Tadulala are recalled in the backline.
Key Battle: So much of the Exiles' good work comes from the classy centre pairing of Mapusua and Dan Bowden, meaning that the Leeds midfield must be completely watertight in defence.
Trivia: London Irish's biggest win in Premiership history came against Leeds in 2009, 56 - 7.
Stats: Leeds are returning to the site of their last away victory this weekend, having taken the points away from the Madejski in April.
Quote Unquote: "Last week's win over Newcastle counts for nothing if we don't get a positive result on Saturday and we are very focused on making sure that we continue our good form." - London Irish boss Toby Booth
"We have quality players and quality leadership here now within the squad. They will not let people splinter and will keep everything together. The spirit is still high. We have a lot of pride and we'll come out fighting." - Leeds coach Neil Back talking to BBC Radio Leeds.
Fantasy: Exiles fly-half Ryan Lamb has been piling up the assists and penalties so far this season and is a safe pair of hands in the ESPN Premiership Rugby Fantasy Game.
Prediction: The Exiles are at the top of the pile for a reason and conversely, Leeds aren't at the bottom by coincidence. A big home win.
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