Exiles eye final flourish as season nears climax

London Irish star Topsy Ojo wants five from five, starting against Leicester

Q.WHAT HAPPENED LAST TIME YOU PLAYED LEICESTER IN THE AVIVA PREMIERSHIP?

A. We drew 24-24, scoring a charge-down kick late in the game. I went off injured, so that wasn’t great. We started well, Leicester came back but we picked up a bit more and got a draw, so we were pretty happy. It’s a tough place to go and our record there is terrible so it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

Q.WHAT TYPE OF GAME CAN SUPPORTERS EXPECT TO SEE?

A. We’ll try to move the ball when we can, attack when we can and defend aggressively. Those are the hallmarks we have tried to set out for this club and, having had some time to recharge our batteries, it’s what we’ll be looking to do against Leicester.

Q.WHAT DO YOU PERCEIVE TO BE THEIR MAIN THREATS?

A. Leicester are a powerful side; you have to stop their scrum and lineout. A lot of momentum comes from their forward power, but they have dangerous runners out wide too. They have an international squad so we know it’ll be tough. But we have too; it’s up to us to match them.

Q.WHICH INDIVIDUAL MATCH UP ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING?

A. Off the back of the Six Nations, especially, it will be good to see Alex Corbisiero up against Dan Cole. Facing each other first game back, especially after the Ireland game, it will be one to look out for.

Q.HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP YOUR SEASON SINCE THAT MEETING?

A. The season hasn’t gone as we would have liked since then. We had ambitions to kick on and cement a top half, or top-four, spot. It hasn’t quite worked out that way but we still have five games. If we win them the picture suddenly looks a lot brighter.

Q.WHICH ACADEMY PLAYER CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE BIG THINGS FROM IN THE FUTURE?

A. Anthony Watson has had some rave reviews coming back from the Under-20s and in training he definitely looks like a prospect. He’ll come on full-time next season I think, so it will be interesting to see how quickly he develops, but he’s got the talent.
Q.WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR HIGHLIGHT OF THE SEASON?

A. The big result we have had was the win away at Racing-Metro. It’s never easy travelling away in the Heineken Cup, so to go to Metro and get the result we did is great. French teams are renowned for their home form, and their intimidation of opposition. The first half was a struggle but we turned it around and blitzed them in the second half.

Q.WHO HAS BEEN THE UNSUNG HERO OF YOUR SEASON?

A. I’d probably say Jonathan Spratt. Centre is a tough position, with Jonathan Joseph, Shontayne Hape and Joe Ansbro, so there is international talent there, but he’s been quality every time he’s played. He’s a good solid player who probably doesn’t get the plaudits he deserves.

London Irish play Leicester on Sunday in their St Patrick’s Day game. To buy a ticket see www.london-irish.com