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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."
|Friday 27th February|
|19:45||Northampton vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:30||London Welsh vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Newcastle Falcons|
|15:00||Leicester Tigers vs Sale Sharks|
|15:15||Exeter vs Bath|
|Sunday 1st March|
|13:00||Wasps vs Gloucester|
|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Saturday 28th March|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Leicester vs Exeter|
|15:15||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 29th March|
|14:00||Sale vs Gloucester|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Bath|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Bath|
|Saturday 11th April|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Gloucester|
|15:15||Saracens vs Leicester|
|Sunday 12th April|
|14:00||Exeter vs Northampton|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Sale|
|Saturday 25th April|
|14:00||Sale vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|London Irish 6 - 12 Leicester Tigers|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Bath 13 - 21 Northampton|
|Harlequins 21 - 32 Exeter|
|Gloucester 48 - 10 London Welsh|
|Sale Sharks 14 - 10 Saracens|
|Friday 20th February|
|Newcastle 23 - 23 Wasps|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wasps 37 - 6 Harlequins|
|London Welsh 12 - 52 Sale|
|Saracens 34 - 24 Bath|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Exeter 46 - 17 Newcastle|
|Friday 13th February|
|Leicester 18 - 15 Gloucester|
|Northampton 15 - 9 London Irish|
|Sunday 11th January|
|London Irish 28 - 26 Exeter|
|Newcastle 38 - 7 London Welsh|
|Saturday 10th January|
|Harlequins 32 - 12 Leicester|
|Bath 39 - 26 Wasps|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 7 Northampton|
|Friday 9th January|
|Gloucester 24 - 23 Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com