London Irish boss Nick Kennedy insists it is ‘only half-time’ and there is much work to do if his side are to win the Greene King IPA Championship Final.
The Exiles headed back down the M1 last night after a 29-18 first leg victory over Yorkshire, with an 11-point advantage going into the return showdown next Wednesday.
Speaking to the local and national media in his post-match press conference, Kennedy said: “Yorkshire Carnegie had a good first half, but at half-time we told our players to focus on two aspects, which paid dividends in the end.
“I can’t reveal exactly what the plans were as there is another game next week. With the rain all day, we expected them to play a tighter game but both teams missed opportunities and I was very pleased with our set piece in the second half as our experienced bench made a considerable difference.”
Converted tries from Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi and Fergus Mulchrone coupled with five penalties from the impeccable boot of Tommy Bell gives Irish the upper hand in the tie.
“The forwards made the hard yards and Tommy was very accurate with his kicking when the penalties were awarded,” said Kennedy.
“We were tested in lots of areas - mentally, physically and tactically. I thought the boys were strong in areas of our game and we have a few things to work on ahead of next week.
“It’s all about looking after the guys for next Wednesday’s second leg as it will soon come round.”
Exiles supporters travelled to Leeds in their droves, with Kennedy keen to pay tribute to them, adding: “Our supporters were tremendous once again and I have to tip my hat to them for making the long journey north on a weekday night.
“We could hear them loud and proud all evening and it would be fantastic to have a big crowd for the second leg.”
The Play-off Final, 7.45pm Wednesday 24 May, Madejski Stadium - London Irish v Yorkshire Carnegie. Tickets from only £10 for adults and £1 for children from www.lidirect.co.uk or 0118 968 1016.