Toby Booth relishes do-or-die clash
December 17, 2010
London Irish coach Toby Booth believes London Irish’s game in Toulon tomorrow will be like a cup final for his side.
Exiles’ hopes of qualifying for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals are hanging by a thread and a third defeat in Pool 3 would be a terminal blow.
“It’s hard when you’re playing against a side that have four or five players who cost the same as your whole squad,” said Booth.
“I think the operating budgets are £4million compared to £19m.
“But we know we have to go there and win,” said Booth.
“It’s like a one-off cup final now. We’ve got to embrace it and get on with it.”
After an excellent start to the season that saw Exiles set the pace at the top of the Aviva Premiership, they have lost their last six games in all competitions.
But Booth believes his side will emerge from their poor run of form as stronger players.
“When we get through this patch we’ll look at it as quite important from a learning point of view,” he said.
“You have to go through these things and have the edges knocked off and be roughed up to become more resilient mentally and physically.”
But Booth ackowledges that a change of fortune is long overdue, adding: “We’re desperate to start winning.
“Tactically and technically we’ll pick the best side that will give us the opportunity to do that.”
And Exiles could be strengthened in the New Year by the return of promising youngsters Jamie Gibson and Adam Thompstone, who made their comebacks from long-term injuries in the A team’s 24-17 win over Gloucester United on Monday.
It was Thompstone’s first appearance since suffering a double fracture and dislocation of an ankle against Sale 14 months ago.
And Booth said: “Understandably he was a bit tentative, but as the game went on he got better and better and enjoyed the rough and tumble.
“It’s brilliant to see him playing because it was a horrific injury and he had a couple of setbacks and needed two operations. But he had the single mindedness to push on and get back on the pitch and there are many people who can learn a lot of lessons from Adam Thompstone.
“We have to be realistic about what he’ll achieve but Danny Cipriani had the same injury and after eight weeks suddenly became the player again.”