Tonga’uiha: Saints have to take attack to Irish

Soane Tonga'uiha
Soane Tonga'uiha

Soane Tonga’uiha has urged Saints not to let London Irish get up a head of steam when the two sides meet at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

Irish currently sit second-from-bottom in the Aviva Premiership, claiming just one victory in their fives games to date.

In contrast, Saints can still boast a 100 per cent record after winning all of their fixtures this season.

But Tonga’uiha, who has played a big role in the early-season success, has warned his team-mates not to get complacent.

And the Tongan titan has emphasised how much strength Irish, though somewhat flaky defensively, possess in attack.

“They have got a lot of great individuals in their team,” said the 30 year-old. “They have the likes of [Sailosi] Tagicakibau, [Topsy] Ojo, [Jonathan] Joseph so if you give them a chance to get their tails up, it will be hard work.

“We need to go down there and have the mentality of winning the game, putting them under pressure and not being complacent. If we can do that then we will come up with another win but it is not going to be easy.

“I don’t think the results from the first five games demonstrate what type of team they are and they’ve been unlucky on a couple of occasions to have not turned a loss into a victory.”

Tonga’uiha may have started all five games this season, but there’s no shortage of competition for the loosehead role.

Last season’s young player of the year Alex Waller has been given his chance as a replacement in recent weeks and Tonga’uiha is relishing the competition.

“It helps to have options as the Premiership is a long season and with the LV= and the Heineken Cups it makes it longer,” he said. “You can’t be starting every game and obviously it’s a sign of how good the squad is if someone slots in and nothing changes.

“I’ve got Alex Waller snapping at my heels and he’s been keeping me on my toes for the last two years. I’ve always said he’s got a great future ahead of him, he’s only 22.

“We’re working together but he takes his chances when they come to him. If he was to slot in nothing would change. He knows what’s required of him and that’s a sign of a good squad.

“Hopefully that will bring success come the end of the season.”