London Irish: Brian Smith reveals players' drinking ban

Brian Smith

London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith has revealed his players imposed a drinking ban upon themselves for the opening stages of the campaign.

The Exiles' 18-13 win over Harlequins on Saturday was the second victory in their opening five league fixtures.

"The boys have had a self-imposed drinking ban for the past six weeks," Smith told BBC Radio Berkshire after the Madejski Stadium victory.

"That is how much it means to the boys to do well."

He continued: "They made a commitment to each other. It was nothing to do with the coaches - it was led by the senior players.

"But that curfew has ended so the boys will have a couple of beers and deservedly so before our next game on Friday night [against Cavalieri Prato]."

Tries from Blair Cowan and Alex Lewington put the Exiles ahead against Quins, and their side were able to hold on despite a late Danny Care try which set up a nervy finish.

And Smith said he was especially proud of the way his side defended their lead, having thrown away a similar advantage against Exeter last month.

"These are the sorts of wins you really like," he commented. "When you have to fight to the death, they are the wins that are special. It's nice for our fans to be rewarded for their loyalty and sticking by us.

"We promised them [the supporters] we would be a group that would fight to the death. We did it and came out on top.

"It was a very gutsy performance. Quins are an outstanding side and threw the kitchen sink at us. We pride ourselves on the amount of fight we have in the squad and we showed that in spades.

"We were in a leading position a fortnight ago but didn't have the maturity to get across the line, but today we managed to dig deep.

"We will get a lot of belief from this win and it will fuel the fire for our next run of fixtures."