Irish out to extend lead at the top
October 29, 2010
London Irish again turn to the creative Ryan Lamb © Getty Images
Aviva Premiership leaders London Irish welcome Sale to the Madejski Stadium on Sunday with a view to keeping their winning run going.
The struggling Stockport side may have escaped from Leeds with a 6-3 win last time out, but they will need to seriously up their game to have any chance against the early pacesetters in Reading. Toby Booth's charges have been mean defensively and have picked up as many try scoring bonus points as any other team so far.
Top of the pile at this stage, Booth will want to consolidate his position and it's hard to see Sale stopping them from doing so.
London Irish - Player to Watch: Ryan Lamb has scored 80 points so far this season, leaving him in second spot on the charts behind Harlequins' Nick Evans and he'll look to steer his backline into space and attack Sale out wide.
London Irish - Team News: Tom Homer and Jonathan Joseph earn starts in the back-three, with Homer in at fullback due to Delon Armitage's absence on international duty. Jospeh takes over from Sailosi Tagicakibau, who is injured.
Sale - Player to Watch: Neil Briggs has taken over the captaincy from the injured James Gaskell and the 25-year-old hooker will need to lead by example if Sale are to have any hope of success.
Sale - Team News: Dave Syemour returns on the openside flank and is joined in the back-row by Kristian Ormsby, who takes over from Sisa Koyamaibole at No.8.
Key Battle: The Exiles have a powerful, settled pack and Sale will have to stem their flow of quick ball as Lamb will be ready and waiting to unleash a lethal backline.
Trivia: London Irish's mean defence mean they are the only team to have conceded less than 100 points this season.
Stats: Sale Sharks have made 634 carries this season but they are among the league's lowest scorers with 115 points.
"We've scored 16 tries in eight matches so far this season and intend to build on that. Our success in try-scoring depends on quick ball so that is a paramount concern." - London Irish boss Toby Booth.
"The way we play will depend on our supply of ball. Irish have got a very good defensive lineup. We'll have to be smart there, more accurate than we were last week. Our set piece showed 85% success and we can improve on it. Where we have to improve our game is taking the ball into the collision. We were losing the ball too soon, too quickly at the first tackle." - Sale head coach Mike Brewer.
Fantasy:With 37 points Topsy Ojo is a potent option in the London Irish backline. Does the flying England wing make the grade for your ESPN Fantasy Premiership Game team?
Prediction: After their limp showing on the road to Leeds it's hard to see Sale posing too many problems for a well-drilled, dangerous London Irish side.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament