London Irish: Franco van der Merwe urges response from Premiership strugglers

Franco van der Merwe tries to tackle Sale scrum-half Faf de Klerk
Franco van der Merwe (right) has been ever-present for London Irish in the Premiership this season

Franco van der Merwe says London Irish cannot "creep into their shells" as their Premiership survival looks increasingly fragile.

The South Africa lock captained the Exiles on Saturday in their narrow league defeat by Sale.

Irish are 12 points adrift at the foot of the table with only eight Premiership games remaining.

"The beauty of this game is another opportunity comes along immediately to put things right," he told BBC Sport.

Irish failed to arrest a run of 13 successive Premiership defeats against Sale and their only victory of the campaign came on the opening day against Harlequins.

A trip to out-of-sorts Northampton awaits Nick Kennedy's side on Saturday, a team who could also be dragged into a relegation fight after Worcester surprisingly beat champions Exeter on Saturday.

That victory for the Warriors cast Irish a further three points adrift at the bottom of the Premiership ahead of the game at Franklin's Gardens.

"We can't be disappointed for too long," former Ulster second row Van der Merwe told BBC Radio Berkshire. "There's no way we can creep into our shells.

"Worcester's or other teams' results are out of our control. We need to focus on what we can do and that's play the way we want to play.

"We're looking forward to putting that right against Northampton."

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