‘It’s a huge game’: London Irish face tough match against Newcastle Falcons says James Hudson

It is crunch time for London Irish this weekend as they travel to Newcastle Falcons, knowing they must win to have any realistic chance of retaining their Aviva Premiership status.

But former Irish and Falcons star James Hudson believes the Exiles will struggle to leave Kingston Park victorious and that their Aviva Premiership journey may soon be at an end.

Current Gloucester lock Hudson played for London Irish from 2006 to 2009 — a period that saw them excel, reaching a European semi-final in 2008 and the Aviva Premiership final in 2009.

That success stands in stark contrast to this season — as they currently lie bottom of the table, four points adrift of Newcastle with three games remaining.

And despite now plying his trade in the West Country, Hudson admits he has found it upsetting to see Irish’s struggles.

“It’s a bit sad to see London Irish where they are because the time I had there, we were at the other end of the table,” said Hudson, who was speaking at an Aviva Tackling Numbers event in Gloucester.

“It was a great three years I had there – we had European semi-finals and my last game for them was a Premiership final.

“With how far the club had come to get to there, it’s sad to see them now. I think it will be a tough ask for them to go up to Newcastle and win.

“I’ve been in that sort of position before with Newcastle and you can’t underestimate the desperation of a group of blokes who are essentially fighting for their jobs.

“It’s a huge game and I don’t want to see either club being in that position but unfortunately that’s the nature of the Aviva Premiership and how competitive it is.”

Aviva Tackling Numbers is an innovative programme for 7-9 year olds which makes learning about numbers and financial education fun and engaging.

The programme is delivered by Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs and Hudson joined Gloucester teammates Billy Burns and England star Jonny May at Abbeymead Primary School to take part in the session with the kids.

If Irish were to get relegated to the Championship this term they would be one of the favourites to bounce straight back up but having experienced the second tier himself, Hudson is quick to point out that there are no guarantees.

“You just never know with the way things have gone in the Championships over the past few years,” added the 34-year-old.

“You look this year at how well Leeds have done, Doncaster as well and how much London Welsh have struggled to almost be competitive – it shows it is not a given to get straight back into the Premiership.

“Both teams have got the squad, so hopefully they can keep hold of key player and be competitive but having had that year I had with Newcastle, I know it’s not an easy ride to come back up.”

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Hudson was speaking at an Aviva Tackling Numbers session. In partnership with Premiership Rugby, #AvivaTacklingNumbers helps 7-9 year olds put foundations in place for better financial skills later in life through the power of rugby. To find out more and take a maths test, visit

Image courtesy of The Rugby Paper via YouTube, with thanks

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