Rugby: Booth has his Cross hairs on Geoff in Edinburgh test

London Irish head coach Toby Booth has pinpointed international prop Geoff Cross as a threat to his side extending their unbeaten pre-season record when visiting Edinburgh Rugby at Murrayfield tonight.

The visitors head north on the back of warm-up wins over London Welsh and Newport Gwent Dragons with Booth insisting it is the perfect test for a side who finished sixth in the English premiership last season.

Also, they who look forward to a European Cup draw that pitches them against two of Edinburgh's Magners League rivals in Ospreys and Munster.

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But, at the same time, Booth tempers his enthusiasm by saying: "Mike Blair is a fantastic player and we were interested in recruiting Geoff Cross before he re-signed with Edinburgh.

"I watched a video of Geoff scoring a tremendous try from about 25 yards out in a pre-season game for Edinburgh against London Wasps a couple of years ago and thought at the time that, coming for a prop, that score should be framed."

In looking for a taste of Celtic opposition Booth revealed that his side had approached Edinburgh for the fixture.

"One of the reasons was that cityjet fly into Edinburgh and we are always keen to demonstrate to supporters the different places they can be taken by our sponsors.

"Also, having had fairly confrontational pre-season matches so far against London Welsh and Dragons, both of which we have managed to win, it was always on the cards that Edinburgh would ask us some different questions.

"I'm aware that not only were Edinburgh the top try scorers in the last Magners League with 40 but Murrayfield has some wide open spaces for runners."

Here, London Irish intend to include all their stars and makes special mention of the international Armitage brothers, Delon and Steffon, the first West Indians to represent England.

"Fortunately the Armitage brothers are playing well as I've seen Edinburgh and expect this to be a step up from our previous two matches," said Booth.

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Others expected to catch the eye are stand off Ryan Lamb, who was once coveted by Scotland on an ancestry connection and who claimed 18 points in the 33-20 win over Dragons as well as former All Black prop Clarke Dermody and sevens ace Topsy Ojo.

"We know that Edinburgh intend to give a run to a lot of their players and it makes sense for us to do the same.

"The result will be irrelevant but there is still the promise of plenty of good rugby and our defence should be well tested."

Meanwhile, Edinburgh coach Rob Moffat, in agreeing that the real prizes lie ahead, has revealed that he has, nevertheless, done some homework on the visitors.

"I was at the Magners League launch in Cardiff this week and took the opportunity to ask Paul Turner (Dragons coach) about London Irish.

"They're a good English side playing quality rugby."We've had a good look at what London Irish have been doing in their other pre-season matches, and there's no doubt that they will present a strong challenge.

"Our game will have to be better than it was at Bath last week but I'd expect a lot of little things to be sharper just by dint of the fact that the guys now have some rugby behind them."