Planet Rugby

Booze ban helped Irish

08th October 2013 16:37

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brian smith marland yarde london irish

Content: Brian Smith

London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith has revealed how a self-imposed drinking ban by his squad has helped their form.

Irish lie 8th in the Aviva Premiership after two wins from their first five matches, over Worcester away and surprisingly against Harlequins.

The Exiles have been tipped for relegation but have shown some promising early form, picking up a losing bonus point at home to Exeter.

Revealing how the senior players in his squad introduced a drinking ban for the start of the season, Smith was pleased to see his players committed to keeping themselves fresh.

"The boys have had a self-imposed drinking ban for the past six weeks," Smith told BBC Radio Berkshire.

"That is how much it means to the boys to do well."

"They made a commitment to each other. It was nothing to do with the coaches - it was led by the senior players.

"But that curfew has ended so the boys will have a couple of beers and deservedly so before our next game on Friday night [against Cavalieri Prato]."

Smith said the win over Harlequins typified Irish's new battling style, having recruited from the Championship and elsewhere following the departure of several star names after last season. Two of those new recruits, Blair Cowan and Alex Lewington, both scored tries against Harlequins.

"These are the sorts of wins you really like. When you have to fight to the death, they are the wins that are special," added Smith.

"It's nice for our fans to be rewarded for their loyalty and sticking by us.

"We promised them [the supporters] we would be a group that would fight to the death. We did it and came out on top.

"It was a very gutsy performance. Quins are an outstanding side and threw the kitchen sink at us. We pride ourselves on the amount of fight we have in the squad and we showed that in spades.

"We were in a leading position a fortnight ago but didn't have the maturity to get across the line, but today we managed to dig deep.

"We will get a lot of belief from this win and it will fuel the fire for our next run of fixtures."

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