London Irish boss Toby Booth boosted as players return

Toby Booth
Booth's side have won three and lost three of their opening six Premiership games

London Irish coach Toby Booth says competition for places will further strengthen the Exiles' challenge on three fronts this season.

Irish welcome back their World Cup contingent ahead of Sunday's LV= Cup clash against Newcastle.

Booth also declared himself happy with their start to the season following three wins and three defeats so far.

"From my perspective it is fantastic to have all these players back and available," Booth told BBC Berkshire.

The Exiles welcome back Joe Ansbro (Scotland), Sailosi Tagicakibau (Samoa), Jebb Sinclair (Canada) and Paulica Ion (Romania) from their World Cup commitments.

"As a coach, the one thing you want is competition for places and the more you have got that, the more people strive individually and collectively to be in that shirt and that is great," said Booth.

"If we can keep competition for places then everyone will push each other to improve and the chances of winning will increase."

Booth's side turn their attention to the LV= Cup this weekend and the Exiles boss says he hopes his side will give a good account of themselves in the competition this season.

"We've got some good momentum, which is great and we'll try and continue that in the LV= Cup and we'll be competitive in that and then it is back to the Premiership and the start of the Heineken Cup," said Booth.

"The one thing about this is that is is unrelenting and you need to stay fit and healthy.

"In some positions we are going to have no choice but to pick certain players. Historically we might not have done that. We've got some players returning this week, some more next week and we've got some decisions to make.

"There are some people who have played 80 minutes every week and you have to be pragmatic about it because you will have players becoming physically and mentally tired."

And on his side's start to the season he added: "We would like to have had four or five wins, but we haven't. We've been close in the games we have lost and weren't just hanging in. We've been good enough to go out and win them."