London Irish boss Brian Smith warns of tough times

London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith says his side could be facing a relegation battle, following Saturday's defeat by Exeter.

The Exiles were beaten 23-27 by Chiefs at the weekend and are only five points ahead of bottom-placed Sale.

"It is going to be a testing time and we need to brace ourselves," Smith told BBC Radio Berkshire.

"We've got to understand there is no easy way out of this but we will play it out until the end."

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The easy thing would be cry into our milk and feel sorry for ourselves but nothing is going to be achieved if we do that

London Welsh are four points above the Exiles in the table and the pair face each other on Saturday in what could be a crucial game.

After that there are 12 games to play.

"It's tough days but we've got to look at this like a test," added Smith.

"Provided we keep getting up and maintaining the belief and keep working hard there are still 13 matches in the league and plenty of time to turn it around.

"The easy thing would be cry into our milk and feel sorry for ourselves but nothing is going to be achieved if we do that.

"We are all big boys and we need to front up."