Playing for pride

This game is just about pride says London Irish lock Skivington

Saturday’s game against my old club Leicester will be a first for me.

I cannot remember another game in my career where I was playing for nothing but pride.

During my time at Wasps and the Tigers, we were always playing for points to make the play-offs or the Heineken Cup.

But there is nothing riding the game at Welford Road other than trying to finish as high as we can in the table.

We go into the game in ninth place and could drop to 11th if we lose and Sale and Worcester win.

Being honest, ninth, 10th or 11th doesn’t represent a great campaign. But I do feel like we have overcome some serious obstacles at the start of the year to earn our Premiership status next season.

A visit to Leicester is always tough. Tigers need the win to get a home semi-final and there will no doubt be a packed house to support them.

Everyone will be expecting us to come second. But we feel we have nothing to lose and we will be having a pop to see what we can do.

I would have liked to have stayed up and had a chat with some of my old Tigers team mates after the game but, with it being the last game of the season, we have our London Irish end-of-year team social.

I’m not the social secretary but I do know that we will start in a pub on Sunday morning and keep going until it is last man standing.

They are always good occasions and a chance to let your hair down and have a laugh with mates that you have built up good friendships with over the last 10 months.

It will also be a chance to breathe a sigh of relief after some worrying times this year when I had doubts about where we would finish in the table.

It’s much more stressful at the bottom of the table than the top, I can promise you that. You have a good win and you are on a high. But if the teams around you win, it hits you like a bolt. It’s a real emotional roller coaster and we are all relieved that our safety has been secured before the final day of the season.

The challenge next year will be to learn from our mistakes and make sure that we are nowhere near the relegation picture come May 2014.

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