18 January 2016
London Irish Head Coach Tom Coventry was disappointed his side were unable to take vital opportunities at crucial times following Saturday’s European Challenge Cup defeat against Grenoble on Saturday.
Irish fought back well in the last 10 minutes but were unable to overturn the visitor’s significant lead as they lost out 18-28.
“We gave up some soft tries early on in the game and, with the lead they had, it was always going to be tough to come back.” Said Coventry.
“I thought we came back well at the end but there were some crucial opportunities before half time that we were unable to take. There were a couple of infringements from Grenoble and a couple of errors from us that led to the pressure being released.”
“I was disappointed with some of the tries we gave up but happy with the way the players fought back, but in the end it was a little too late. If we had taken our chances and been a little better at set piece the outcome may have been different.”
Coventry concluded that chances of progressing in the competition are limited but will be sending a squad to Agen to ensure the Club finishes the group stages strongly.
“The competition has probably slipped away. We will have to go to Agen and score lots of tries and hope things work out mathematically, but the chances of progression are now quite slim.”
The Exiles’ made a number of changes for the match to allow those working hard behind the scenes an opportunity to impress.
“In a season as long as this one, we have to be conscious of managing our squad. We have guys that played on Saturday who are desperate to play. They train hard every week and it is key they are given opportunities to play, so allowing them that chance was what we needed to do. We had an opportunity to succeed, despite the changes so it is disappointing.”
A number of current and former Academy players did impress the Head Coach with their efforts as Coventry goes on to mention.
“We worked hard to get the ball out to the edges and I thought Tom Fowlie did well. Up front young Ollie Curry did well especially in the line-out early on. When we lost Jebb at half time Ollie had to take over the line-out calling which is a big ask for a young man, but I thought he stood up well physically.
“Theo also performed well. Some of the better fly halves in the world have sometimes played in other positions to grow their game and give them confidence on the field and I thought he played well outside Shane. It is always going to be difficult, he’s a good defender, but he still has a long way to go in his development, so getting him on the field and in and around some good players is part of his progress and his development.”
Irish head to France this weekend to take on Agen in the final group match of the European Rugby Challenge Cup.