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Worcester 15:00 Nottingham

LV= Cup: Brian Smith faces selection headache after London Irish defeat Worcester

Last Updated: 27/01/13 6:46pm

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Brian Smith: May field a strong side against Cardiff

Brian Smith: May field a strong side against Cardiff

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Director of rugby Brian Smith could be forced to change his selection plans after London Irish's 46-24 win over Worcester in the LV= Cup.

Marland Yarde was the hero with a hat-trick of tries, while Halani Aulika collected a brace of scores and Tom Homer kicked 16 points to boost the hosts' chances of reaching the semi-finals.

This win left Irish on top of Pool Three and they will reach the next round with a bonus-point win over Cardiff in the final game next Friday.

Smith said: "We intended to take a development squad to Cardiff next weekend for the final group game and concentrate on our vital Premiership game against the Saracens in a fortnight's time.

"But now we will have to sit down and have a rethink as we have got a real chance of playing in the knockout stages of a tournament."

Reflecting on the match, he added: "We were very good in the first half as defensively we gave them nothing putting pressure on their nine and 10," he said.

"We stayed on their tails but we were a bit ropey in defence when we made our changes and there are no excuses for that."

Yarde's treble earned him particular praise from his coach, who has pushed his claims for an England call-up.

"Marland's performance was electric," Smith added. "I have spoken to (England head coach) Stuart Lancaster about him as there is not another winger in the country who would have scored that try. It was as if his hair was on fire."

Worcester coach Richard Hill remained upbeat, despite his side's heavy defeat.

"Parts of our play were very encouraging," he said. "Our set-piece was strong and we scored three tries away from home.

"However, we leaked tries too easily and our defence was a problem. Our defence analyst, Phil Larder, has been away for three weeks and he will be back on Tuesday.

"We missed a lot of ball-carriers today as we kept players back, but we will be fielding a full-strength side against the Saracens next week in readiness for the return to Premiership action."

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