THE EXILES are looking forward to a doubleheader against RC Toulon this weekend and next.
Back row ace Matt Rogerson said that the fixtures against their French rival in the European Challenge Cup is very exciting for the squad.
“We’re happy to play in this game,” he said. “I’ve never been drawn against them before, it’s exciting to play them and to go over and experience it.”
The two teams meet first on Saturday in Toulon’s Stade Mayol (kick-off 2pm), before the home fixture at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday, December 14 at 3pm.
The last time the two teams met was back in 2010, in the same competition and Toulon won both fixtures. And the Exiles French opposition currently top their group.
However, the Exiles have scored more tries, made more tackles and conceded fewer penalties.
“It’s very positive when you look at it,” Matt says. “But it’s on paper. We have to go to their place and anything could happen. It’ll be a battle.”
He continues: “100% they will push us for every point. We’re physical side, they’re a physical side. They have a pretty good game.”
And Matt is also looking forward to the challenge of playing them first away and then back at home.
“It’s always challenging to play games back to back,” he says, adding that Saturday’s fixture ahead of the home leg will be “a good learning curve”.
With the temperatures dropping, Matt says that the team might be into the winter period, but “all the boys are fit and raring to go”.
“We’re going into the game with a positive approach and we’re really pleased with how the preparations are going.”
He adds: “The Challenge Cup is great. You get drawn against anyone from Wales to France, you go to new places and different environments than what you are used to.”
The team will be flying out tomorrow (Friday) to give them time to make their final preparations.
London Irish welcome Toulon to the Madejski Stadium on Saturday, December 14 and Bath the following week in the Gallagher Premiership. For tickets, visit www.london-irish.com, or call the ticket office on 0118 968 1016.