Amlin Challenge Cup: London Irish v Lusitanos preview
Last Updated: 11/01/14 3:13pm
London Irish know only a bonus-point victory will do against Lusitanos as they look to keep pace with Stade Francais in Pool 5 of the Amlin Challenge Cup.
With their rivals recording a 31-3 triumph over Cavalieri Prato on Thursday night, the Exiles find themselves five points back in the battle for top spot.
Yet even a convincing victory on Saturday at the Madejski Stadium may not be enough for the Aviva Premiership side, with Stade facing Lusitanos, who have yet to register a point in this season's campaign, in the final round of fixtures.
Irish won the won the previous fixture against their Portuguese opponents 67-6 back in October so will be confident of scoring the four tries they need to claim a maximum five-point haul.
Director of rugby Brian Smith has recalled Guy Armitage and Setaimata Sa to the starting XV, with the pair forming a new-look centre partnership.
Tom Homer has recovered from a groin injury to be named on a bench that also includes academy prop forward, and England U20 World Cup winner, Tom Smallbone.
Shane Geraghty will captain the side at the end of a week in which he pledged his future to the Exiles by signing a new three-year deal.
"A lot of the team that played against Worcester last weekend are involved in the squad again and we are also giving those that have had limited game time an opportunity to put their case forward to play when the Premiership starts again," Smith told the club's official website.
"We have the chance to build some momentum off the back of our win last weekend and that starts tomorrow against Lusitanos XV."
London Irish: 15 Lewington, 14 Fowlie, 13 Armitage, 12 Sa, 11 Fenby, 10 Geraghty (c), 9 O'Leary; 1 Parr, 2 Mayhew, 3 Halavatau, 4 Evans, 5 Rouse, 6 Danaher, 7 Low, 8 Sinclair.
Replacements: 16 Stevens, 17 Harris, 18 Smallbone, 19 Skivington, 20 Cowan, 21 Homer, 22 Dorrian, 23 Hoadley.
Lusitanos XV: 15 Figueiredo, 14 Miranda, 13 Bettencourt Avila, 12 Miguel Leal, 11 Foro, 10 Salema, 9 Leal; 1 Segurado, 2 Tavares, 3 Rocha, 4 Almeida, 5 D'Orey, 6 Marais, 7 Fragoso Mendes, 8 Uva (c).
Replacements: 16 Correia, 17 Almeida, 18 Domingues, 19 Simoes, 20 Salgueiro, 21 Pinto de Magalhaes, 22 Lucas, 23 Penha e Costa.
Amlin Challenge Cup week five 2013/14
Sale boosted their hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the Amlin Challenge Cup with a 21-3 triumph over Worcester.
Wasps face a crunch Amlin Challenge Cup fixture at Bayonne as the two top teams in Pool 4 go head-to-head.
The Dragons host Bath on Saturday with the visitors targeting a win that will see them confirmed as Pool 2 winners.