French challenge excites London Irish lock Garvey

Matt Garvey
Garvey broke into the Irish first team during the 2010/11 season

London Irish lock Matt Garvey thinks Saturday's Heineken Cup game against Racing Metro in France will be like playing in "a different world".

The Exiles lost their first two pool matches against Edinburgh and Cardiff, and must beat the winless Parisian side to stand a chance of progressing.

He told BBC Berkshire: "It's going to be an eye opener for me but it's a game I'm really excited about.

"It looks phenomenal, the atmosphere in France seems like a different world."

The 24-year-old hopes the opportunity to play a lesser-known opponent will provide a refreshing change from the familiarity of the Premiership.

Garvey expecting open game in France

"You don't get that much homework about the opposition and they don't know too much about you so it's a more open game - and it's nice to play against different people," he added.

"In France you're going to come up against some great talent, playing against people like Lionel Nallet and Sebastien Chabal - it's going to be a huge game."

The academy recruit is in his first full season in the senior squad and has been thrown into the first-team due to injury to Bob Casey.

Garvey believes his fast introduction to the senior ranks has aided his development.

"With the influx of new boys and the amount of game time I'm getting, it's thrust me into being a more mature player now.

"Coming out of the academy I thought I might have been drip-fed. But you're thrown in right at the deep end. It's probably worked out better than I planned."

No team has ever qualified from their Heineken Cup pool with three losses and Garvey recognises the test ahead of his side.

"These are must-win games, they're cup finals for us. We expect it to be a challenge but it's something we relish.

"There's a good feeling around the squad."

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