Irish won’t blame defeat on illness

Date published: October 11 2014

457053946_3215633

London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith refused to blame his side’s first-half capitulation at Exeter Chiefs on a viral bug.

London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith refused to blame his side’s first-half capitulation at Exeter Chiefs on a viral bug.

The Exiles’ defence was non-existent for the first 60 minutes at Sandy Park, as the hosts built up a 44-3 lead.

Three late tries, including two from replacement Blair Cowan, gave Irish a measure of respectability but it was all in vain.

Suffering their first away loss of the season after wins at Newcastle and Leicester, Smith was naturally disappointed but refused to take away anything from Exeter’s performance.

“Last night we had two boys go down with viral type stuff and by kick off we had five blokes down,” explained Smith.

“But I don’t want to take anything away from Exeter. They fully deserved their win. We are not making excuses.”

“We were then playing for pride; we ran everything and opened ourselves up to two more counter-attacks from our half. We were playing catch-up and we got burnt.

“‘Fair play to Exeter because they are a very good team and they played the conditions brilliantly.

“They have an outstanding defence and we weren’t at the office in the first half defensively – that is disappointing.

“It was a disappointing changing room after the game; the captain is unhappy and I’m unhappy but we will have to look at the tape of the game.”

Exeter coach Ali Hepher meanwhile was pleased to his young side convert their chances into tries after three in the last two weeks.

“Our mental approach and preparation for the game was excellent and they have turned it round very quickly in a week,” said Hepher.

“If that is what we learnt last week, then that’s great because there were a lot of positives out there.

“Every man stood up and got themselves in the right frame of mind and we know that we are capable of beating a lot of sides if we do that. It was pleasing to get the bonus point because we have been on three tries for the past two weeks.

“That has been a little frustrating because we always want to target as many points as we can get – and we took advantage of that. We applied pressure in the second half and didn’t give them a sniff back into the game until the final 10 minutes.”

COMMENTS