Humphreys keen to make up for last term’s struggles with Chiefs
With both sides having suffered heavy opening day defeats followed by a win, there are obvious similarities between Exeter Chiefs and London Irish so far this season.
As both have earned three Premiership victories apiece in their six top-flight meetings so far, there is also little to choose between them in recent history.
But look a little closer and the parallels between the clubs could run even deeper, at least if Exiles fly-half Ian Humphreys has anything to do with it.
The former Ulster star insists it is the Chiefs that the Reading outfit are basing their approach on this season as they look to re-establish themselves in the top half of the table.
Fantastic offer at Swanson Ford, Newton Abbot. 3 Years FREE Servicing and 5 Years Warranty available on your BRAND NEW FORD FIESTA with the AWARD WINNING ECOBOOST ENGINE!!!
Terms: Limited stock available. Only whilst stock lasts
Contact: 01626 240583
Valid until: Tuesday, December 24 2013
“It will be difficult against Exeter Chiefs, I think they beat us twice last season, home and away,” the 31-year-old admitted. “They are the kind of team that we want to base ourselves on, they don’t have any superstars and they work very hard.
“Exeter are very effective at what they do, and they stick to their structures. So we know they are going to be difficult but we’re unbeaten at the Madejski Stadium in 2013 and we want to keep it that way.”
Last season the Exiles only managed one win on the road in the Premiership, so last Saturday’s 20-18 victory at Worcester will have boosted confidence in the Irish camp.
Humphreys was at the heart of the action – keeping his nerve to kick the winning points with four minutes remaining – but believes his side’s improvement on the road is down to an increased focus on fitness and discipline in pre-season.
“You can’t underestimate how well our forwards did to get us in that position from a scrum in our own 22,” he said.
“They won a penalty there, then a second penalty from the line-out on halfway and another in the Worcester 22, and if it wasn’t for their hard work I wouldn’t have been in position to take on that kick. It’s really important to get that first away win under our belts.
“We’ve put a big emphasis on fitness and we think we were the first team back in pre-season.
“There’s also been a big drive on our discipline, we gave away too many penalties last season and that let us down.”
Every match in the Aviva Premiership season is crucial. To be there to support your team, buy your ticket from http://www.premiershiprugby.com/tickets