It is the bleak midwinter indeed for the London Irish as they sit rooted to the bottom of the Aviva Premiership table as Christmas Day approaches.
In what had been built as the game of the round in the English top flight – for all the wrong reasons for the two teams involved – the Irish barely put up a fight as they were beaten 23-8 by the Worcester Warriors.
It was another defeat in a season that has been full of them for the Exiles, but this one was especially painful as Worcester were the one team within single-digits of the Irish on the table. Now though Worcester has stretched out to a 10 point lead over the bottom side and it is fair to ask if the Exiles are as good as down already.
Is a win coming?
The Irish have won just two games all season and their inability to pick up even a losing bonus point against Worcester really hurts their chances of getting out of the mire.
If you discount their opening day win over Harlequins at Twickenham as something of a fluke result – a fair thing to do given that weird things always happen on opening day – then their one actual merited victory all year was against Stade Francais in the European Challenge Cup.
They have not been competitive in most of their Aviva Premiership matches and in those games where they compete well, they still find a way to be on the losing side of the result. Their two fixtures at the end of November both resulted in four point defeats (to Bath and Wasps) and realistically they needed to steal a victory in at least one of those matches to have any hope in the New Year.
The Exiles now have a pair of Premiership fixures before the league breaks again for Europe and the Anglo Welsh Cup. They host Newcastle just before the New Year, then travel to Leicester on the first Saturday in January. Both are daunting games, but if they fail to register points – and if Worcester can sneak another win – then London Irish will be cast way adrift and written off as relegation fodder.
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