28 February 2023
London Irish Director of Rugby Declan Kidney projected a defiant outlook for the season’s remainder following on from a defeat to Leicester Tigers at the Gtech Community Stadium.
The East Midlands Club walked away from west London with a 25-22 win to conclude Irish’s run of four wins in the Gallagher Premiership.
Kidney believes that Tigers were the more clinical team in a game with little separating the sides, and backed the team’s on-field decisions throughout the 80 minutes on Saturday evening.
“It was a good game with lots of ebbs and flows in it,” Kidney said.
“I thought before the game it would be a case of who can take their chances more and it proved that Leicester would get that one more score than we did.
“There was nothing in it other than that, we did have more of the play and they had two or three chances on our line they didn’t take before half-time as well.
“We go after games and we were one play short of a bonus point win.
“We felt we read that on the pitch and the lads know how they feel, and I wouldn’t second guess that.”
With Irish’s back-row stocks shining once more in Round 18 of the Premiership, the Director of Rugby administered deserved praise to youngsters such as Tom Pearson, Chandler Cunningham-South and the squad as a whole.
“Tom [Pearson] went well, as he has done for a number of games now, he always gives it 100%.
“The tendency is to pick out one or two but there were a number of good performances out there also; Facu [Facundo Gigena] wasn’t well throughout the week and still gave a great account of himself, same as James Stokes at full-back.
“Chandler [Cunningham-South] took his try well and played off the nine keeping them occupied, it was a good scrum by the boys.
“Tarek [Haffar] was in there too for his first minutes in the Premiership at home to give them a good platform off the scrum.
“It was a great squad effort throughout, but we came up just short to a very good team.”
As the reigning league champions picked up four points to Kidney’s men, Tigers leapfrogged their hosts on Saturday to sit a place and two points ahead of Irish in a congested Premiership table.
A run-in of six games, including the Premiership Rugby Cup final against Exeter Chiefs, awaits the west Londoners with the Irishman “taking every moment as they come” in the final stretch of the 2022/23 campaign.
He concluded: “We’ve always said that the league table will take care of itself, we’re just going after the games in this journey as best as we can.
“We’ll have to regroup and go again for Newcastle, but there’s plenty more time left in this league.
“We’re taking every moment as it comes.
“There are a number of exciting games coming up, with three home games in March.
“We look forward to pulling on the jersey every time for this Club, but we have some really special games coming up like the cup final and St. Patrick’s Day.
“We want to welcome as many people as possible to join us in the journey; for the rest of this season and beyond.”