London Irish: Nick Kennedy backs squad to peak in Championship play-offs

Nick Kennedy wants to give positive performances in the Championship play-offs

London Irish director of rugby Nick Kennedy feels his decision to rotate his squad will allow them to peak in the Championship play-offs.

The Exiles face Doncaster Knights in the semi-final as they bid for an immediate return to the top flight.

Irish lost just one game in the regular Championship season to finish top of the table.

"Here we are at the business end and we feel we're in a good place," Kennedy told BBC Sport.

Irish face Doncaster, who finished fourth and 33 points behind them, over two legs with the first meeting at Castle Park on Sunday before the return at the Madejski Stadium on 6 May.

With the promotion play-offs being scrapped next season and replaced by first-past-the-post promotion, there are no feelings of animosity among the squad towards having to potentially play four more games.

"We knew the layout of the league from day one when we started working here," Kennedy, whose side wrapped up top spot by mid-March, said.

"The players have been fantastic in their work-rate and we've been really careful with their game time in making sure everyone peaks at this moment."

Winger Joe Cokanasiga, 19, one of 15 uncapped players named in England's squad to tour Argentina in June, is expected to feature prominently for the Exiles.

"He's got an exciting couple of months ahead," Kennedy said. "Joe works extremely hard on his game and wants to get better every day and it's not just a case that he's big and fast.

"We wish him all the best with England but we know he's really focused on Doncaster at this time."

The other Championship semi-final between Ealing Trailfinders and Yorkshire Carnegie starts on Friday with the two-legged final set for 17 and 24 May.

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