Exiles star relishing Premiership return
By Anthony Smith • Published 25 Nov 2011 08:30 0 Comments
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Home comforts: Alan Thompstone is looking forward to a return to the Madejski Stadium, and the Aviva Premiership.
London Irish v London Wasps, Saturday, Nov 26, 3pm.
LONDON Irish star Adam Thompstone says success in the Aviva Premiership will help put their recent Euro woes behind them.
Exiles have suffered a disastrous start in the Heineken Cup and sit bottom of Pool Two following defeats to Edinburgh and Cardiff Blues.
But Irish will now be forced to re-focus that frustration into their next two Premiership fixtures.
Toby Booth's men host London Wasps at Madejski Stadium this Saturday (3pm ko) then travel to Saracens a week later before their next Heineken Cup adventure against Racing Metro in Paris on December 10.
And versatile back Thompstone says the chance to strengthen their domestic title bid in the Premiership with back-to-back victories will help ease the pain.
Speaking exclusively to the Chronicle, he said: "The plan is to get to wins from the next two matches and keep our position in the league before we return to the Heineken Cup.
"We're very disappointed to have lost both games in Europe, but we've got to put that behind us now and move on.
"The Premeirship is a massive competition, and all our focus is on that game, not what has gone before it.
"Training has been going well this week, so we're looking forward to the challenge."
Exiles currently sit third in the Premiership table, albeit 10 points behind Saracens in second.
They drew 24-24 at Leicester Tigers in their last league fixture when Thompstone was amongst the tries.
But Exiles have not won in the Premiership since October 8 when they beat a gutsy Worcester Warriors 42-24 at Madejski Stadium, a thrilling match in which Thompstone grabbed another touchdown.
Thompstone declared: "We want to finish in the top four. So far it's going well, but therre is still a long way to go and a lot of hard work ahead.
"But we can't look too far ahead. Wasps is our next game and the aim is to beat them."
Wasps may be languishing in eighth position, but they are only two points adrift of Irish and have won more games.
A victory for Dai Young's side would take them above the Exiles. While they were beaten 24-13 at home by Northampton Saints in their most recent league fixture, their last away game brought a 14-12 win at Worcester.
And Thompstone warned: "They're a good side and we will need to be at our best to get the win.
"These next two games are very important for us now being inbetween the Heineken Cup and it would be great to win them both."
Thompstone, 24, came back from a serious injury earlier this year after a double fracture and ankle dislocation kept him sidelined for 15 months.
He is back to his best form at a time when Irish have been hit hard by suppensions, with Steven Shingler the latest to join a list of banned players that also includes Delon Armitage and Shontayne Hape.
Shingler was red carded for a tip-tackle in the Cardiff defeat resulting in a four week ban, and Thompstone stated: "Steve has been awesome for us so we will miss him. But we have options and someone else needs to step up.
"There was no intention in the tackle. When you are going 100 miles per hour, these things happen. I think the authorities are clamping down, they want to stamp it out so they're making examples of people. But there was no malicious intent in Steve's tackle watsoever, I'm certain of that."