London Irish Rugby

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London Irish will travel to Harlequins on Saturday for a vital Aviva Premiership encounter full of confidence after a morale-boosting victory over defending champions Gloucester in the LV= Cup.

Irish were condemned to second place in the pool despite the win as Leicester won elsewhere, but Toby Booth’s side will be happy to be hitting form ahead of a crucial period in the Premiership.

Saturday’s clash at Twickenham Stoop, home of league leaders Harlequins, represents a huge opportunity for fifth-placed Irish to force their way above Northampton or Leicester into a play-off position.

It is also a mouth-watering repeat of the season opener at Twickenham, this time the home of English rugby as opposed to the Stoop, when Nick Evans inspired Harlequins to a narrow victory in front of over 55,000 fans.

Irish will be hoping their own kicking maestro Tom Homer will be able to repeat the fine form he showed against Gloucester in the LV=Cup, as his 18 points propelled his side to a 23-15 win at the Madejski Stadium.

Brian Blaney showed fine strength to score in the corner for the rest of the home side’s points, and despite a brace of tries from Ian Clark the Cherry and Whites travelled back to the West Country without even a bonus point.

Irish coach Toby Booth has revealed that troubled full-back Delon Armitage, who was kept out of the spotlight against Gloucester, may well be included in his squad for the Harlequins game.

The England international recently courted controversy once again after being arrested for an alleged assault in a nightclub following an England Saxons game.

He was subsequently dropped by England’s new hard-line regime and has been linked with a summer move to Toulon, but Booth looks set to pick Armitage for Saturday’s pivotal clash.