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Booth: 'No sacred cows'
Exiles rejoice in squad depth as Falcons lament growing injury list
London Irish coach Toby Booth believes that his side's convincing 24-8 victory over Newcastle is the result of a cut-throat selection policy.
Booth was forced to contend with losing five players for the tie, but hopes that his decision to still leave out Steffon Armitage from the starters will send a message to his regulars that there are strong players throughout the squad.
"There are no sacred cows at London Irish," he declared.
"Steffon was omitted because he's dipped a bit in form and I felt others warranted an inclusion after how they've performed.
"Gone are the days when there were automatic choices for us.
"But if a player comes to me at the end of a game and says 'I told you so', then I've probably got it right."
The international ties over the weekend meant that the Exiles were without some of their star players for the clash with Newcastle, and Booth expects that as his side progresses he will have to deal with more and more of this type of disruption.
"It's a new thing having blocks of England players and other internationals
away. We're in unfamiliar territory," he added.
"I'm a big believer that it's a 22-man game. I know that other coaches don't necessarily agree with that.
"I want everyone to know it's a conscious decision that everyone has a part to play at some point in the game."
Newcastle have been presented with selection problems of their own.
Knee trouble ruled out prop Carl Hayman from the tie, while injuries picked up during the game by several other players have worsened the situation for Falcons director of rugby Steve Bates.
"We missed Carl Hayman today and that was a massive problem we could have done without," said Bates, a colleague of Booth at England Saxons level.
"Ed Williamson's shoulder has been a bit sore and now he's twisted his ankle. Russell Winter has pulled his hamstring so we may well be forced into changes.
"That in itself is frustrating because along with Brent Wilson, they were two of our better performing forwards of late."
|Sunday 11th January|
|London Irish 28 - 26 Exeter|
|Newcastle Falcons 38 - 7 London Welsh|
|Saturday 10th January|
|Harlequins 32 - 12 Leicester Tigers|
|Bath 39 - 26 Wasps|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 7 Northampton|
|Friday 9th January|
|Gloucester 24 - 23 Saracens|
|Sunday 4th January|
|London Welsh 13 - 24 Harlequins|
|Wasps 41 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Leicester Tigers 17 - 8 Bath|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|Exeter 25 - 26 Gloucester|
|Saracens 22 - 6 London Irish|
|Friday 2nd January|
|Northampton 39 - 31 Newcastle Falcons|
|Sunday 28th December|
|Gloucester 23 - 30 Wasps|
|Saturday 27th December|
|Harlequins 25 - 30 Northampton|
|Newcastle Falcons 23 - 25 Saracens|
|Bath 31 - 14 Exeter|
|Sale Sharks 30 - 32 Leicester Tigers|
|Friday 26th December|
|London Irish 24 - 9 London Welsh|
|Sunday 21st December|
|Wasps 48 - 16 London Irish|
|Saturday 20th December|
|Gloucester 16 - 39 Bath|
|Northampton 23 - 19 Leicester Tigers|
|Saracens 78 - 7 London Welsh|
|Harlequins 15 - 7 Newcastle Falcons|
|Friday 19th December|
|Sale Sharks 18 - 11 Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com