Brian Smith: London Irish boss vows to turn around season

Brian Smith
Brian Smith's London Irish are 11th in the Premiership table

London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith says he will not shy away from the challenge of their current plight.

The Exiles lost five consecutive matches in November and are second-bottom in the Premiership.

However, they top their European Challenge Cup pool and face second-placed Cardiff Blues this weekend.

"You feel pressure and responsibility all the time," Smith told BBC Berkshire. "I quite enjoy tough times, I like being pushed to the limit."

He believes the European campaign will give his side welcome relief from domestic action as they look to get their season back on track.

London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith
"We're top of our pool, we're in control of our own destiny. We have high hopes and big ambitions in Europe and this is our chance to turn our season around."

"We found ourselves in a bit of a rut in November but we will dig ourselves out of it," he said. "We've got a good opportunity in Europe and we intend to take it.

"It has been a difficult time for us, we set our targets, we knew what we wanted to achieve. We failed to do that.

"We're top of our pool, we're in control of our own destiny. We have high hopes and big ambitions in Europe and this is our chance to turn our season around."

Smith's side have lost their last five Premiership fixtures, but the Australian believes coaches show their "real value and worth when times are tough" and says he remains positive that results will change.

"At challenging times it's important for the leader to stand up in the playing group and also on the coaching side of things - and that's what we're here for," he said.

"It's easy to ride on the back of a winning team as a coach.

"Coaching one of the top four clubs is a relatively easy ride. When you're trying to build something from the rubble of previous regimes, you've got to dig deep."

Smith added: "It's a testing time, we didn't plan to be where we are but we had a very good start to the season and we had momentum then.

"We've just lost it now and we've got to regain it. We know the keys to doing that."

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