Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Ollie Hoskins confident of causing an upset against Northampton on Friday evening

Posted on 23 January 2020 by Hamish Percy
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The Exiles currently sit tenth in the Premiership table on 13 points while their opposition are second in the table and a win on Friday night will return the Saints to the top of the table.

The Saints come into this fixture in scintillating form, winning and scoring 30+ points in each of their last four fixtures. Northampton have also won six out of their opening eight Premiership fixtures. Whereas, the Exiles are much the opposite, having lost their last seven matches in all competitions since their 27-all draw at Bristol in round 5 of Gallagher Premiership Rugby. The Exiles solitary away win in Premiership Rugby this season was against Wasps at the Ricoh Arena on the opening weekend.

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George Furbank (left), Dan Biggar (right)

However, Saints will be without eight of their key players including Dan Biggar and George Furbank who will be at training camps for the 6 Nations with Wales and England respectively.

Irish have only won once in fifteen years of playing at Franklin’s Gardens having narrowly lost 25-17 the last time they visited, in 2018, as George North, Rob Horne and Mike Haywood all dotted down for the Saints.

Despite Northampton being unbeaten at home this season London Irish tighthead prop Ollie Hoskins is confident they can get a result.

“It is a big game for the club, especially as we haven’t had the most ideal couple of months over the Christmas period,” Hoskins said.

“Hopefully we can put in a good performance that we can be proud of and we owe our fans a good performance.

“We are going in there with the full intention to cause an upset.”

The Saints have been one of the most exciting sides to watch this season and Hoskins was certainly complimentary of their game.

“They are playing really good expansive rugby and they have a good set-piece, so we are under no illusions that it’s going to be a really hard test for us,” Hoskins said.

“We are up for it; we have had some good sessions and we are ready to rip in.

“We are going there to win.”

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Ollie Hoskins vs Exeter

Dave Porecki, Harry Elrington and Sekope Kepu make up a new London Irish front row as the latter makes his first start for the club.

Whereas the Saints director of rugby Chris Boyd has made eight changes in total to his side which triumphed in Lyon last weekend.

The fixture will also be the first time London Irish fly-half and third all-time Premiership points scorer, Stephen Myler, will be returning to Franklin’s Gardens, where he contributed 2,618 points.

And with a move to Brentford’s New Community Stadium on the Horizon Hoskins is excited for the change.

Reading has been great for the club since for the four seasons I have been here,” Hoskins said.

“We are excited for a change, the stadium is looking awesome and hopefully we can start putting in some performances which will entice some people to get there next season and cheer us on.”