Will Greenwood backs London Irish to escape relegation
Last Updated: 25/02/13 10:20am
Chris Hala'ufia: Sensational form against Wasps
Sky Sports' Will Greenwood expects London Irish to finish well clear of the relegation fight following their victory over Wasps on Sunday.
Irish boosted their chances of Aviva Premiership survival with a 30-19 victory over the in-form Wasps that took them up to 10th in the table - five points clear of bottom-placed Sale Sharks.
Tom Homer kicked 20 points for the hosts while Shane Geraghty and Marland Yarde both touched down at the Madejski Stadium. Of their six remaining fixtures, three of the Exiles' matches are against fellow strugglers Sale, London Welsh and Worcester - all of which are at home.
"If they continue to play like this they are not going to make Heineken Cup but I expect them to finish eighth or ninth and a long way away from the fight at the bottom," Greenwood told Sky Sports.
"It is very easy in a relegation battle to become a bit inward looking, to become a bit defensive, to kick the corners, and focus on slowing the ball down and stopping the opposition. Irish have said no that is not how we are going to get out of trouble; we are going to get out of trouble by playing.
"They started the game and with front five carriers. I thought Bryn Evans was outstanding, Chris Hala'ufia was man of the match - and rightly so, every time he gets the ball something happens. (Ian) Humphreys is zipping, (Patrick) Phibbs has come in at nine to add a little bit.
"They are just looking to play themselves out of trouble. They put Wasps on the back foot and strangely - given Wasps' run of form - they just did not seem to have the answers."
Fly-half Stephen Jones kicked 14 points for Wasps while Christian Wade produced another fine finish to score their only try. But Wasps and England lock Tom Palmer, who was working for Sky as he recovers from injury, admitted his side's inability to put the London Irish pack on the back foot cost them dearly.
"Upfront was the problem for us. We did not manage to create much good, quick, go-forward ball . We did not have many guys carrying and getting Wasps on the front foot to allow the space for our quick guys outside to really cause some damage.
"As you can see when we do get the ball out wide how dangerous the likes of Wade and Varndell are."