Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

Smith: Joseph is a class act

Brian Smith, pictured, has described Jonathan Joseph as a 'class act'

London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith backed Jonathan Joseph to star for England in the QBE autumn internationals after his performance in the Exiles' 39-17 win against Northampton.

Joseph touched down for the first try and then played a key role in those scored by David Paice and Topsy Ojo before Jamie Gibson wrapped up the bonus point. The Exiles opened a 33-3 lead before Northampton worked late consolation tries for Ken Pisi and Phil Dowson.

Joseph made his Test debut during England's summer tour of South Africa, and Smith said: "I would like to see JJ get another crack. He is a class act and his talent is well regarded by the English coaches. And with Mike Catt (the former London Irish player and coach) now part of the England set-up, he knows what JJ can do."

London Irish met the Saints forwards head on and set the platform for the likes of Joseph and Steven Shingler to shine.

"It was a big challenge for us because confidence wasn't high," added Smith.

"The boys really fronted up today. They got no change out of us at scrum time and in the line-out drive and we have a lot of class in the back line."

Furious Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder blasted his side's performance as embarrassing and unacceptable.

"There was no intensity there from us, our accuracy in just about everything we did that first 60 minutes was awful," Mallinder said.

"Mentally, if you underestimate any team in the Premiership then you will get turned over, and that is what happened. Mentally we weren't up for today's game and that showed.

"As a group we are all very disappointed. We embarrassed ourselves."

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