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Booth relieved to end losing run

Toby Booth paid tribute to the courage and determination of his players after watching them end a wretched run of 10 defeats in all competitions with a 24-12 Heineken Cup win over the Ospreys.

The London Irish rugby director admitted there had been pain and some quiet tears during the worst run in four years, and insisted: "The monkey is off our backs."

Booth added: "What delighted me was the effort, but then I was proud of the effort in the Saracens game and the Quins game. This was a win, but then it was achieved in the Heineken Cup."

He added: "We came under the cosh from the very kick-off, and the graft of the tight five was absolutely outstanding. I am so pleased for the players. It was crucial for us to get the result and we've got it. We are now one from one.

"You have to remember why you play the game. We quoted Spurs boss Harry Redknapp, who says nothing beats winning, and that is so true.

"The monkey is off our backs and we go to Munster to face a team with such a huge tradition, and with a desire to make amends for their defeat in France.

"When you care about what you do, you really hurt when you lose. People outside the club would not know how the guys react when you get into a poor run.

"We were 12 points ahead against Bath only to have the rug pulled from under us with a last minute penalty. It was desperate, yet I was proud of our effort.

"There does come a time when nerves kick in as a run like this grows. Dan Bowden was sitting next to me for the last few minutes after giving a fine display, and he said he'd not felt as nervous watching his team play in his life.

"This is a guy who played Super 15 for Canterbury in New Zealand. That summed it up for me."

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