Toby Booth looks forward to ‘eight-pointer’By Alan Manicom
February 25, 2011
Toby Booth believes London Irish’s Aviva Premiership clash against Harlequins tomorrow is an ‘eight-pointer’ for both clubs.
Exiles coach said: “We need to put a run of games together and this is the time of year that you need to be doing that to get yourself in the final shake-up.
“If you can put a string of wins together then you will see yourself accelerate because the middle of the table is so tight.
“At this stage of the season games against people around you almost become eight-point swings.”
Irish have dropped to seventh place and, with only seven games left, rapidly need to make up ground if they are to finish in the top four and book a place in the play-off semi-finals.
At the very least they need to climb back up into the top half of the table to guarantee qualification for the Heineken Cup.
And Booth said: “We will see now how much the players at London Irish want to be in the final shake-up.
“You have a couple of teams at the top and a couple at the bottom. In the middle the teams are vying for top-four places as well as Heineken Cup qualification.
“People will need to get themselves as high as they can, so even if they are not in the final shake-up they are ready for next year.”
But Booth is looking no further than tomorrow’s clash with Harlequins, who are three points clear of Irish in fifth place.
Exiles’ boss said: “If you look too far ahead you trip over. We need to back up a couple of performances. We have gone win, loss, win, loss, win, loss.”
Harlequins, who beat Irish 28-18 at Twickenham in a dull reverse fixture on December 27, have lost just once in their last 11 games.
And Booth said: “They have some good players, but so have we. These London derbies are normally quite exciting. At times they do what you expect them to do and at times there have been a few damp squibs.”