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Hodgson says Exiles to face 'monumental' task head-on

LONDON IRISH scrum-half Paul Hodgson has admitted his side face a "monumental" task to qualify for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals when they take on champions Leinster at Twickenham this weekend.

The Exiles were cruising at 22-10 against the Scarlets in Wales last Sunday but a second-half capitulation allowed Nigel Davies' men to come roaring back to claim a 31-22 victory, denying Irish the consolation of a bonus point when Jonathan Davies bagged his second try at the death.

It means Hodgson and his team-mates have to take a maximum five points -- and deny Leinster anything -- to top Pool Six and earn automatic qualification.

"It's a massive challenge for us," said Hodgson. "Leinster are flying at the moment and they are a formidable side. They will be coming for the win and we are in no doubt as to how tough it will be. It will be one of the toughest games this team has faced, a truly monumental task.


"We're definitely disappointed by the Scarlets result -- it is probably one of the most gutting feelings we've had as a team for a long time. It was a game we should have been in control of but we let it slip away.

"A lot of what we did was what we set out to do as far as the game plan was concerned but there was an inability to hold on to the ball, we weren't as efficient as we should have been at ruck time and we sometimes gave away penalties in the wrong positions.

"There were some home truths spoken in the changing room, so hopefully we can have a reaction, not just next week but for the rest of our season in general."

London Irish stunned Leinster to win 12-9 at the RDS in round one to kick-off their campaign in style.

"Leinster probably played a little bit below par when we played them over there," said Hodgson. "We will just be looking to put in a performance that will give us a chance to win and then what will be will be after that.

"London Irish is still a special group of players. We've got guys from all over the world and we've got some great personalities. We'll embrace the challenge."

Irish Independent