Storylines: London Irish
Edinburgh Rugby travel to West London to face English Premiership side London Irish in Round 3 of the EPCR Challenge Cup (15 January, kick-off 3.15pm) - streamed live at epcrugby.tv
There are the storylines to look out for as the capital side continue their European campaign at Brentford Community Stadium.
A chance for Currie
20-year-old centre Matt Currie makes his first European start, capping off a fine week for the Dumfries man. Currie signed his first professional contract with Edinburgh, having impressed on and off the field during his time with the club.
The hard-carrying centre has made five appearances so far, representing the club he grew up supporting while at Merchiston Castle School. This season Currie has made two appearances for the club, starting in the back-to-back bonus-point URC victories against Dragons and Benetton, however this will be the first appearance he has made in European competitions.
The highly rated youngster has caught the eye on the field but has earned plaudits for his level headedness off it, displaying considerable leadership qualities in his short time with the senior squad.
No shortage of points
London Irish have rightly garnered praise for their sparkling attacking rugby, in a similar vein to Edinburgh’s brand of rugby this season. The Exiles’ open style of play has seen them involved in some of the highest scoring matches of the season; in 14 matches their games average 29 points for, and 26 points against, promising for an entertaining spectacle against Edinburgh.
Mike Blair’s side have been similarly industrious going forward, averaging 25 points per match, but have been notably more miserly, giving up just 15 points per game.
First time in Brentford
Tomorrow will be Edinburgh’s first trip to the Brentford Community Stadium – London Irish’s new shared home – with all of the previous clashes down south being held at the Madejski Stadium.
Edinburgh have enjoyed the better of the head-to-head results between the sides, winning six out of seven to date, most recently drubbing the Exiles 50-20 in 2017 at BT Murrayfield. The last time the sides faced in England was a similarly comfortable affair, with Edinburgh claiming a 37-14 win in Reading.
Edinburgh will be facing two former players on Saturday, with the due of Kyle Rowe and Scotland internationalist Allan Dell running out for the Exiles. Kyle Rowe made the switch last summer, and has been in impressive since his move down south, scoring five tries in eight appearances, including a hat-trick against Saracens.
Dell left Edinburgh in 2019 after a five year stint in the capital, and has 25 Scotland caps to his name. The loosehead will hope to make an impact from the bench against his former side, with Rowe getting a crack at his ex-colleagues from the start.
A win for Edinburgh will put them into a commanding position in the pool standings. London Irish currently sit top of the pool, with Edinburgh in third – with a game in hand having been given a bye in round two.
Covid-19 has impacted the competition in the opening rounds. 28-0 results have been awarded when fixtures have been cancelled due to Covid-19 outbreaks or forced isolations affecting player availability with five match points awarded to one club.
Fixtures cancelled due to no clubs being permitted to play have been declared as 0-0, with two match points being awarded to each club.