Bring young guys through

London Irish lock George Skivington

The blunt facts of the matter at London Irish are that we simply have to start winning some games soon or we may well run out of time.

The last couple of matches have been frustrating and our predicament is not getting any easier in the Aviva Premiership table as we sit second-from-bottom ahead of Sale.

The 12-6 loss at London Welsh was a tough one after being reduced to just 14 men after 10 minutes when Chris Hala’ufia got sent off.

The week before, we mounted a cracking comeback at Exeter, only to lose late on. We were the better side for 60 of the 80 minutes but that means nothing on the scoreboard.

As the season goes by, we are all getting used to our roles in the squad and, for me as an experienced head, that means helping to bring our younger guys though as quickly as possible.

And the other older heads in the squad are trying to do the same.

George Skivington is one of the more experienced heads in the London Irish team

When I was a youngster breaking through in the Wasps side, the game seemed to fly by and pass me by in about ten minutes.

Now, I take a lot more in and think about the game a lot more.

I remember how Simon Shaw and Lawrence Dallaglio shaped me as a player and asked me questions out on the pitch about what we should do in certain situations.

They asked for my opinion on things that I am sure they didn’t need my opinion on. But it made me feel part of the team, it increased my confidence and I learned a hell of a lot from them.

At the time, I thought nothing of it but later on, I now know that they were just helping me develop.

They wanted me to feel a part of it and to let me grow as a player.

I see it as my job to try and have a similar effect on the younger guys at London Irish to try and help them understand the game a bit better.

I used to get frustrated as a young guy because older guys seemed to be preferred to me in the side, even though we were both playing as well as each other. When the close call was made, it was always the more experienced guy that won though.

Nowadays, I am that experienced player that sometimes gets picked over the younger guys who are champing at the bit. I now realise that you need different cogs in the team to make it work.

The young guys are great for the energy but you have to have some older guys in there for experience purposes.

I am starting to earn a lot of respect for my team mates here with the amount of work they are putting in. We now need to transform that work into results – and in a hurry.


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