Peter Richards is keen to make full use of Paul Hodgson’s elevation to the England line up by reminding the Exiles coaching staff just what he is capable of at scrum half.
Since re-signing from Gloucester in 2007, Richards has endured a miserable time at the club through a variety of injuries, starting in only seven Premiership matches and rarely at his favoured number nine shirt.
"Yeah – it’s been a while," said the 31 year-old who gained a reputation of playing anywhere on the park during the 2007 World Cup.
"But when the team is playing well and winning all the time and once the team is set it is a tough team to get into, and I’m just pleased to get onto the pitch and contribute.
"Paul Hodgson has done very well for himself and will probably be involved in the match day 22 again for England this week (against Argentina), which is testament that he’s been playing not only very well but consistently very well, and it makes it harder for me and Alfredo Lalanne to get into the team.
"But I have an opportunity now while he’s away with England to stake a claim and I’ll be focussing to put in some good performances to give the coach something to think about."
A rare start in his favoured position against Wasps in the LV= Cup, almost saw the dynamic midfielder score what would have been the winner over Wasps but for being pulled back by his opposite number Joe Simpson a feat that earned the Wasps man a yellow card, but alas no penalty try.
"When London Irish get into their flow there is no better attacking team, and what teams have done is identified us as a top team, our position in the table shows that, and teams are trying to stop us play.
"To beat London Irish you have to stop us at the breakdown and that is what teams like Harlequins and Leicester have done recently in the Premiership when we failed to score a try, and it took the boot of Ryan Lamb and Pete Hewat to score us the points to come away with a win and a draw.
"Against Wasps we didn’t win but we did get back to score tries. It is a bit frustrating when we don’t score a try, but if we get our phase play right we’ve got the space and people to score tries, so it is essential for us to work on getting the ball away from the breakdown."
With Lalanne now also away with Argentina, Richards will get another chance to get his point across for more game time at 9, when the Exiles travel to Cardiff this Sunday, kick off 13.45 in the second round of the revamped LV= Cup (Anglo Welsh).
Meanwhile Paul Hodgson will hope that he too will get a further chance to impress selectors when England take on Argentina at Twickenham this Saturday. The form scrum half in the Guinness Premiership this season, came on in the final quarter of England’s loss to Australia and injected some much need go-forward in an England team that struggled to kick-on after an impressive first half.
"When you are on the bench you are always dying to get on to try and help the (England) cause and try and help as much as you can," said Hodgson.
"I think that Australia were there for the taking but credit to them they’ve had those test matches in the Tri-nations and Bledisloe Cup that have given them a springboard into this game, and maybe that showed in the second half.
"But we’ll comeback and stronger for that game and come next week we’ll be rallying to try and put things right for Argentina this week.
"Me and Danny (Care) are very close, and he’s an exceptional scrum half. But I think the most important thing is for us to keep working as a squad and that whatever fifteen take the field they’ll do as good a job as possible.
"The whole squad will back that fifteen and whoever gets that shirt will be as proud as ever and given everything for it."
"I think generally we were striving for quick ball and that’s definitely a team goal, and the more times we can do that the better it will be for the team. Credit Australia they did very well and it’s our responsibility to get quick ball, and if we can work on that sort of area they’ll be more ball for our exciting backs."