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Rovigo no walk in park - Geraghty

Shane Geraghty insists that London Irish cannot expect a "walk in the park" against European Challenge Cup opponents Rovigo on Saturday.

A bonus point victory for Irish at Stadio Mario Battaglini will mean they reach the quarter-finals as Pool One winners, and they face a Rovigo side that was crushed 104-12 by Cardiff Blues just seven

days ago.

At home in the tournament, though, Rovigo conceded a total of 53 points when they lost to the Blues and Grenoble - the French side only beat them 20-17 - while on their travels, it has been a mammoth 242 points leaked, including 70 at Irish three months ago.

"If you look at their home games, they lost to a last-minute try to Grenoble, and Cardiff only beat them by 15 points in the end," Irish fly-half Geraghty said.

"It's not going to be a walk in the park. They have got a good forward pack and they play some good rugby.

"We are not buying too much into their result away at Cardiff. It would be silly to read too much into that.

"The prospect of a trophy is massive motivation for us.

"We have perhaps not been involved in knockout rugby for quite a while now, and that is certainly one of our motivating factors."

Three Challenge Cup quarter-finalists have already been confirmed - Gloucester, Exeter and Newport Gwent Dragons - while Newcastle will also progress if they claim a bonus point win against Bucharest in Romania on Saturday.

Exeter, meanwhile, are chasing a home quarter-final, which will be guaranteed if they beat Sandy Park visitors Bayonne on Saturday.

"The guys will be very aware that playing well this weekend gives you the opportunity to have a home quarter-final," Exeter head coach Rob Baxter said.

"We will make it clear about what we need, and how the draw can go, but then we've got to expect our leaders and senior players to lead the way about what we expect on Saturday.

"It may appear they (Bayonne) have not got a lot to play for in Europe, but at the same time I've seen how we have played in Europe when it's supposedly been a dead rubber for us.

"We have played several teams in that situation, yet have won games, simply because if you are a good team you have proud players who want to achieve things and do well, and the values that exist across the team of how they play for each other are very important.

"I don't know how strong those values are in Bayonne, but I would imagine they are pretty strong because they are a Top 14 side and when you have those values, every game is worth playing."


From Belfast Telegraph