PREVIEW: Ben Franks feels quick turnaround will help London Irish

Ben Franks is glad to have another game so quickly (Pic by Dijana Capan)

BEN FRANKS feels the quick turnaround to Friday night’s clash at Newcastle will benefit London Irish.

The Exiles have just four days off between the home defeat to Northampton Saints and the trip to the north east to take on the in-form Falcons (7.45pm).

But Franks, a World Cup winner with New Zealand, feels it is ideal for an Exiles side seeking a first win in four matches.

Napolioni Nalaga is set for another start tonight (Pic by Pete Bloodworth)

“I think it’s a good week for us,” he said.

“Short turnarounds are good after a performance like we had against Saints.

“We’ll just get straight back into it. There’s not a lot of training time so it’s more mental.

“The travel is talked about a lot over here but I’m used to going to South Africa, so Newcastle isn’t really a long trip!

“I think it’s just a good time to get tight.

“We’ll spend two days together and it will be a good challenge.”

After the euphoria of an opening day win over Harlequins at Twickenham, it has been a tough welcome back to the Aviva Premiership for the Exiles.

Three heavy defeats have followed, leaving Irish second from bottom of the table and still seeking a first point on the road.

And things are not set to get any easier against a Newcastle side performing above

Alex Lewington scored a brilliant try against Northampton (Pic by Pete Bloodworth)

expectation, sitting fourth with three wins from four so far.

“I’ve watched a bit of Newcastle and they’re playing great attacking rugby,” said Franks.

“I will be another good challenge for us. It’s a great opportunity.

“This season was never going to be perfect but it’s more about the consistency.

“I think we just need to show improvement at the moment.

“I think the players know that we need to put our hands up individually because some of the tries are just one-on-one tackles.”

And Exiles director of rugby Nick Kennedy, in his second season in charge, has also been impressed with the Falcons so far.

“Newcastle have been brilliant,” he said.

London Irish have had troubles defensively

“I watched their game against Bath (a 33-32 win) last week and they’ve got a really good attack under head coach Dave Walder, John Wells doing the defence and they’ve got a good set piece.

“They thoroughly deserve their league position. They’ve been playing some good rugby.”

Irish have made three changes for the game tonight with Scott Steele, Ofisa Treviranus and David Paice replacing Brendan McKibbin, Conor Gilsenan and Dave Porecki.

New signings Saia Fainga’a and Ben Meehan could debut from the bench.

LONDON IRISH XV: Bell, Lewington, Tikoirotuma, Williams, Nalaga, Marshall, Steele, Franks, Paice (c), Du Plessis, van der Merwe, De Chaves, McNally, Cowan, Treviranus.
Reps: Fainga’a, Elrington, Hoskins, Paulo, Gilsenan, Meehan, Tonks, Fowlie.


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