London Irish will go in search of a sixth game unbeaten in all competitions with a ruthless edge, according to assistant coach Corniel van Zyl.

The Exiles will welcome French side Brive to the Brentford Community Stadium on Sunday having secured victory in their opening Challenge Cup encounter against Pau last week.

Now Irish will take on the side who sit two places below Pau in the Top 14 table but Brive have the advantage of having had a rest week during Round 1. 

Van Zyl said: “European competitions allow you to come up against different styles from the ones that we face in the Gallagher Premiership or Premiership Rugby Cup. 

“It means preparations are a little different, but focusing on ourselves is the key thing. 

“Our confidence is growing. It’s good and winning can become a habit, but we all know that it can be taken away very quickly. 

“We are taking each game as it comes and want to keep our focus and ruthlessness. 

“Sometimes you can get used to the trends in the Premiership, whereas competitions like the Challenge Cup is a unique opportunity to test ourselves against new teams and talents.” 

London Irish got their European campaign off to the perfect start against Pau, earning a bonus point 33-17 win in France, and will face Edinburgh and Saracens in the new year as they look to make their way out of the pool stage. 


“European competitions are all about getting out of the pools,” he added. 

“Whatever points you can collect all matter come the end of the group stage, so it was good to pick up all five on Saturday. 

“Although we were happy with the start, this weekend against Brive presents a different challenge.  

“Brive were rested last weekend, which can be a good or bad thing. I still think that we can expect a good, physical challenge from them.” 

The Exiles’ win in Europe backs up four wins and a draw in their last five matches, stretching back to Irish’s enthralling 34-34 tie with Saracens. 

Reflecting on the performances, van Zyl said: “Our recent results are not just down the 15 or 23 in the matchday squad - it’s a collective group effort that goes in at Hazelwood. 

“The 23 players in a matchday squad can’t prepare for a match by themselves. Every member of our squad is important.  

“Whenever the selected player wears the jersey, they are always looking to give their best.”