Best yet to come from Irish, says Kidney

Best yet to come from Irish says Kidney
Declan Kidney, director of rugby (Photo: Phil Mingo/PPAUK)

By Damian Dolan

London Irish director of rugby Declan Kidney says we’ve yet to see the best of this Exiles team, after they did their Gallagher Premiership survival hopes no harm by grabbing a dramatic late draw at Bristol Bears.

Stephen Myler’s penalty secured a share of the spoils for Irish at Ashton Gate, 27-27, with Kidney’s charges having played the entire second half with just 14-men following the dismissal of prop Ollie Hoskins for making contact with a Bristol player’s head at the breakdown.

But the Exiles “fought” to the bitter end to take a draw from the game and maintain their sixth-place position in the Premiership table.

With the likes of new recruits Waisake Naholo, Adam Coleman and Allan Dell only bedding into the team, a “delighted” Kidney says Irish can only get better.

“It might be a while before you see the best of us. There’s plenty of scope for us to grow yet,” he said.

 

Bristol thought they’d won it when hooker Harry Thacker went over with three minutes to go, but Irish refused to throw in the towel and came fighting back to win a late penalty which Myler slotted.

It epitomised Irish’s battling second half display after they’d gone in at half-time leading by 7-3.

“The most pleasing thing was the attitude of the players, to fight,” said Kidney.

“When you’re working with a team you can coach of things, you can put structures and shapes in place, but the one thing you can never coach is attitude.

“We showed that in bucket-fulls and that was the most pleasing thing by a long shot.

 

“A lot of what we did you won’t see in coaching manuals, because it was just a case of fellas just filling gaps and holes, doing what they had to, to try and get us that win.

“Even right at the end, when we went down by three points, we fought to get the score.”

Irish return to European Challenge Cup action for the next two weekends and a double-header with Toulon, before they’ll continue their fight for Premiership survival when they welcome Bath to the Madejski Stadium on 22 December.

While some of the club’s exciting new signings have been grabbing the spotlight, Kidney praised the survivors from last season’s Championship winning side, for the team’s positive start to the Premiership.

“They’re driving it and the lads coming in are feeding into it,” he said.

 

“They’ve really set the cornerstone for everything we’ve done. The names that might grab the headlines have only come in in the last game or two. We’ve been building for this for quite some time.”

He added: “We’re a growing side and I’m lucky to be the job I’m in, because of the way they’ve gone about their job to date.

“As long as they do that I think we could have a bit of Craic along the way.”

Kidney confirmed that star winger Waisake Naholo will return to New Zealand for the birth of his first child. Irish will be without the former All Black for “a couple of weeks”.


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