London Irish v Pau

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London Irish v Pau

by OxonRob on Wed Jan 18, 2006 11:05 am

Sex shop’s in Reading
by OxonRob

Section Paloise, dubbed ‘Sex Shop’ by our travelling supporters some years ago, visit us this weekend for the last game in the European Challenge Cup pool stages. All those who have been mugging up on their Italian phrasing need quickly to engage their French equivalents!

Kick-off is an hour early, at 2pm, and a pound to a pint says that some supporters won’t notice!

I shall wear my Section Paloise beret, in honour of our visitors, who have not, in the past, been particularly well-supported. Given that our support has now visited their town three times in four years, I’d have thought they might have cottoned on by now. A weekend away can be fun, even in Reading.

We are already through to the quarter-finals but we need a good win in order to ensure a home draw. The higher we finish the better our draw, since 1 plays 8 and so on.

Parma gave us a bit of a surprise last Saturday. Let’s hope that Pau do not do likewise.

Ten days ago a friend told me that this game was a non-event because Pau have problems in the league, and have been beaten by Parma, let alone by London Irish. In short they won’t be trying. Then, this last weekend, Pau beat Agen by a cricket score and published an injury list that is even longer than ours. Who’d be a betting man where they are concerned?

They have not proved especially easy to beat in their previous two visits to the Madstad, and I’ll keep my powder dry as to which mindset they bring this time. There isn’t a lot we can do about it other than make sure that we don’t slip on the proverbial banana skin.

I have no idea what nationality of referee we will welcome on Saturday, but let’s hope that he is the kind to protect players from the excesses we occasionally see in this competition. I only have to think back to Agen away. I am also looking at our fixture list in the next couple of weeks. Gloucester away next week may prove to be the seminal point in our season in terms of where we finish. Will we be able to welcome back any of our injured senior players?

I have no reason to think of Brian Smith as a wantonly cruel man, so I imagine that, if possible, he will want to give at least some game time to anyone thought likely to feature at Castle Grim. Dropping someone in it down there for their first game in a month would hardly be ‘nice’ would it? Well, not unless he has to. I have a funny feeling we might get our first sight of our mystery Samoan wing down at Gloucester, even as a sub.

We are of course limited by the registration situation. Danie cannot play but Faan can. In the forwards I’d expect to see some of our big guns, so Bob will probably start, along with Olivier and Juan in the back row.

Dodge was carrying a hand injury on Saturday evening, not to mention 1,000 bumps and bruises, but he was making light of them, so he’ll have to start, unless Willis has recovered, in which case I’d expect him to give Paul a well-deserved break.

Well as Barry and Ross have played at 10, I’d expect to see at least half a game from Riki and Catty, with Penney outside. Given the injuries to the two Doms and to Bish I guess it’ll be Delon, Topsy and Mike H at the back.

By Saturday evening we could look like a prize set of mugs, or we could have played exciting running rugby and scored four or more tries. My bet is on the latter and a game worth the ticket money.
Last edited by OxonRob on Wed Jan 18, 2006 11:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by dom_pedro on Wed Jan 18, 2006 11:25 am

Good preview Rob, thanks.
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by Kerrygold on Wed Jan 18, 2006 11:51 am

I hope the ref doesn't expect a welcome on Sunday Rob, there will be nobody there :lol:
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by OxonRob on Wed Jan 18, 2006 11:53 am

Thank you, KG. I just hope I had sufficient Saturdays in there not to fool anyone.
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by Brendan on Wed Jan 18, 2006 4:17 pm

Well said Rob
There are no strangers, only friends you haven't met.
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by PGT on Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:33 pm

An excellent, as always, preview.

The man in the middle is Peter Allen and his two touch judges are John Steele (hopefully not the same one that is was at London Irish and Northampton Saints, and who left us 'under a bit of a cloud' if I remember correctly!) and Peter Carruthers from Scotland, with Brian Campsell as assessor and Geraint Jones as match commissioner.

A nearly complete European gathering (English assessor, French and Irish teams, Scots officials and Welsh match commissioner), apart from the Italians. :)
Last edited by PGT on Wed Jan 18, 2006 11:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by peezee on Wed Jan 18, 2006 9:02 pm

As its before my time supporting Irish but don't think its the Northampton John Steele as there was something on their sports network site about their JS having throat cancer some months back
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by dom_pedro on Wed Jan 18, 2006 9:24 pm

Aye, different John Steele ( http://www.northamptonsaints.co.uk/32_3126.php - proper London Scottish rather than post merger London Irish Scottish Richmond?) to the touch judge John Steele (looks to have run the line during the Agen match at the Madejski in December).
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by OxonRob on Thu Jan 19, 2006 6:23 pm

Blimey, we seem to have got selection right again!

Well, apart from Nils. But 13 really isn't his normal spot.
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by PGT on Thu Jan 19, 2006 6:57 pm

Don't be so modest Rob, we all know full well BS and TB look to your previews before picking the team! :wink:
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by whoseyourdaddy on Fri Jan 20, 2006 11:14 am

I think it will be good to see Nils at 13 and see what he has to offer there. Especially as he has two talented runners inside him to give him more space.
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