DECLAN Kidney believes London Irish's trip to Sale Sharks tomorrow (Friday, 8pm) is 'what you get into rugby for', writes Richard Ashton.

Exiles saw their three-match winning run in the Gallagher Premiership ended with a 36-26 defeat at home to Wasps on Sunday, despite leading 14-3 until the brink of half-time.

Second-placed Sharks have been one of the stories of the season to date, and inflicted arguably Irish's most humbling defeat when thumping them 41-7 at Madejski Stadium back in November.

However, Kidney says his side will not use that as extra motivation.

He told the Chronicle: "The players know how disappointing it was the first time, but there'll be no need for any extra message. We'll have our hands full against one of the in-form sides in the Premiership.

"They're in the Premiership Rugby Cup final and they could be top of the league if it weren't for a slip against Saracens, but it's what you get into rugby for – to play against the top teams and test ourselves."

The Wasps defeat was Exiles' fourth in six home league games this season, losses in which they have conceded on average 40 points.

And Kidney has urged his players to improve as their time in Berkshire comes to a close.

He revealed: "This is a fantastic stadium and everyone likes playing here.

"We've got five games left here and I think it's really important for our supporter-base here to give them something to be proud of."

The Wasps defeat leaves Exiles eighth in the Premiership table, but only three points behind fourth-placed Northampton Saints.

And Kidney concluded: "We played well at Wasps in the first game and took the points, so it disappointing not to follow that up at the start of the second half of the season.

"But that shows what the league is like – it's very competitive and no-one wants to finish in the bottom half."