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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 30th November|
|Newcastle Falcons 13 - 18 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 14 - 43 Northampton|
|London Irish 9 - 21 Gloucester|
|Saturday 29th November|
|Exeter 27 - 19 Saracens|
|Leicester Tigers 18 - 16 Wasps|
|Friday 28th November|
|Bath 25 - 6 Harlequins|
|Sunday 23rd November|
|London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester Tigers|
|Saracens 24 - 31 Northampton|
|Saturday 22nd November|
|London Irish 23 - 33 Bath|
|Exeter 31 - 15 Wasps|
|Friday 21st November|
|Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 Gloucester|
|Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Sunday 16th November|
|Wasps 71 - 7 London Welsh|
|Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 Saracens|
|Saturday 15th November|
|Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle Falcons|
|Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London Irish|
|Friday 14th November|
|Gloucester 15 - 22 Harlequins|
|Northampton 18 - 24 Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com