London Irish Director of Rugby Nick Kennedy admits his side have much to work on going into the New Year’s Eve showdown against Bedford Blues at the Madejski Stadium (kick-off 2pm).

The Exiles narrowly defeated Richmond 26-20 at the Athletic Ground on Christmas Eve, the club’s 16th straight victory in all competitions. However, Kennedy is looking for a big improvement as the second half of the season looms large.

“We knew it was going to be tough against a physical Richmond outfit as they’ve hit some form of late, winning three out of their last five games,” he said.

“We knew that we were dealing with a very good team despite what their league position suggests and sometimes it just takes a little while to get used to a new league.

“All credit to Richmond, but we were off on a couple of aspects of our game and we will go away, watch the video and work hard on those aspects of our game which weren’t up to scratch,” he added.

Dismissing the two-week British and Irish Cup break as a possible cause for rustiness, Kennedy said: “Our British and Irish Cup team came in and did an excellent job with many of the lads having a fortnight away from playing rugby, but that wouldn’t be giving Richmond the credit they deserve – they play some really good rugby and I’m sure they will be looking to climb the table now.”

Ultimately the unbeaten run continues, but Kennedy acknowledges the campaign is going to get tougher, saying: “We’re on a good run, but at this stage of the season I’m looking for performances to match the result and we will need to improve going into the Bedford game.”

The Exiles’ next home game is against Bedford Blues in the Greene King IPA Championship on New Year’s Eve (kick-off 2pm) with tickets available by calling 0118 968 1016 or click here to purchase online. 

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