LONDON Irish flanker Conor Gilsenan believes a European Challenge Cup game win against Stade Francais on Saturday could be key to turning season around.

Exiles welcome the French giants and defending champions to Madejski Stadium (3pm), before visiting Worcester for their crunch Aviva Premiership relegation battle the following Friday.

Nick Kennedy’s men enjoyed one of the high points of a difficult campaign with a stunning 44-7 success in Paris back in October, but have since lost seven straight matches including a 50-20 thumping at Edinburgh last Saturday.

Gilsenan said: “Our focus is on one game at a time, but looking at the bigger picture, a good performance on Saturday would give us real confidence going into the Worcester game.

“We’ve shown in recent weeks that we were very competitive against both Bath and Wasps and on another day we could have come away with two wins.

“The most encouraging thing is our performances have been of a good standard and if we can get a result, I feel we could build some momentum which is key at this stage of the season.”

He continued: “Stade are a quality outfit and we’ll need to be at our very best for the full 80 minutes.

“They have a rich tradition in Europe and they will undoubtedly be itching to get their Challenge Cup campaign back on track. If we play like we did against them in Paris, then we will do well.

“Ever since the draw was made in the summer, we’ve been looking forward to going toe to toe with Stade both home and away.”