London Irish’s director of rugby spoke after the match, following his side going down 28-45 to Exeter Chiefs at the Madejski Stadium.

The visitors crossed for three tries in seven minutes before half-time to leave Irish with plenty of work to do in the second half.

“In the first five minutes, we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be and that put us under pressure with a few defensive sets” said Kidney.

“We did well to get ourselves back into the contest, and for the next 25 minutes we were well in it. Then there were probably one or two things that happened around the 30-minute mark that gave them the momentum where they scored three tries before the break.”

Irish showed tremendous fight in the second half to secure a four-try bonus-point, a point that was fully deserved said Kidney.

“Going in at half-time 28-7 down, I was proud of the way our lads came back into it, our fellas fought in well and got a point out of it, something they deserved.

“There was a lot of big individual efforts going in there and to come away from Christmas with no points at all would have been difficult. It is only one point, but it is one that could make a big difference at the end of the year. To get a point against Exeter is not what you want, we were hoping for four, but it is better than nothing.

“There are lots of learnings in it for us, Exeter are very good at what they do. They have been together a long time and that showed today with their timings and that is something we aspire to.”

Irish are back in European Challenge Cup action this weekend as they head to Bayonne for Round 5 of the competition.

Scarlets are the next team to visit the Madejski for the final pool match of the Challenge Cup on Saturday 18 January, kick-off 8pm. For tickets, please click here.

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