Toby Booth looks ahead to vital periodBy Matthew Sadler
December 31, 2009
London Irish head coach Toby Booth insists that the next month will be crucial to his side’s campaign.
Exiles play five times before the Six Nations tournament starts on February 6 and Booth believes it is crucial that Irish have momentum going into that period.
He said: “It is important with the Six Nations coming up, where some of our boys will figure, that you make sure you have momentum going into it because it is always a difficult time for everybody.
“That’s been the case even more so for London Irish over the last few years as we are contributing more and more to the international windows.”
Irish are nearing a return to full strength with Topsy Ojo, Paul Hodgson and Peter Richards close to fitness.
And with Delon Armitage already making a successful comeback from his dislocated shoulder, Booth has plenty of options at his disposal.
He said: “I think Delon and Topsy coming back and Chris Malone playing exceptionally well has been a wake-up call for other players not to rest on their laurels.
“You want everyone to be striving to be the best they can be and if you can create that environment and keep the team spirit aspect then you have a very potent formula for pushing through.
“I think that is where we are at the moment. Topsy and Delon started training the same week and it has been three or four weeks now.
“But it’s the nature of the injury that we need to make sure he is fully ready, because the danger of his injury is that it could be more significant in the long term.
“You make sure he is absolutely 100-per-cent right before he is involved.
“Chris (Malone) has been waiting for an opportunity. Lamby had just started to drift a little bit before we got into the Heineken Cup window, so Chris was given an opportunity and he took it.
“In this side it doesn’t even matter if you are an All Black, as Clarke Dermody was replaced by Alex Corbisiero last year. It doesn’t matter what your reputation is, if you come in and play well then you will stay in the side.”