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Smith won't target Cipriani

20th December 2013 10:17

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danny cipriani

In-form: Danny Cipriani

London Irish boss Brian Smith insists his backline boasts enough finesse to counter that of in-form Sale Sharks pivot, Danny Cipriani.

Cipriani has been tipped by many to add to his seven England caps, the last of which came in 2008, after impressing in the opening exchanges of the Premiership season.

But Smith, who previously worked as England attack coach, knows the play-maker can be combated when the sides meet on Friday.

In addition, the Director of Rugby states that his Exiles squad, complete with the talents of Wallaby James O'Connor, will not be focusing especially on the fly-half.

"We've got some very talented ball players at our club as well," Smith told Press Association Sport.

"Danny is a big talent, there's no doubt about that.

"But we've got some great talent as well in our backline.

"Ian Humphreys, James O'Connor, Shane Geraghty: there's a lot of playing ability and finesse there.

"So he's a good player but we won't be focusing on him as much as focusing on how we impose ourselves on them.

"We certainly need to have our defensive plan together, but we can shut down his options and certainly our backfield will be set up to cover his kicking game.

"But as I say in your preparation, part of it's about looking at opposition threats, but it's also about looking at the opportunities you see in the fixture and making sure you capitalise on those."

The Irish scrum has faltered badly in the early stages of the Premiership, but with Smith adding set-piece guru Phil Keith-Roach and World Cup-winning former Springbok prop CJ van der Linde to the mix, he is confident there will be no more wobbles.

"We've got some artillery there that we've been holding back for the last two weeks, with good reason," confirmed Smith.

"These next three league games are massive for us, and I think we're a good enough rugby team to win all three.

"But we've definitely got to step up to the plate.

"If we execute the game-plan then we can put in a big performance and get the result."

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Saturday , May 3
Sale vs Leicester15:00
Saturday , May 10
London Irish vs Sale15:15
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Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Exeter 12 - 55 SaleExeter vs Sale Report
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Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
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Sale Sharks 14 - 28 Northampton
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Bath 11 - 12 Sale Sharks
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Sale Sharks 19 - 6 Northampton
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PosTeamPPts
4Leicester Tigers2064
5Harlequins2058
6Sale Sharks2056
7London Wasps2044
8Exeter2040