Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Smith hails Irish pack

Brian Smith says London Irish's victory over Worcester 'was their best of the season'

London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith paid tribute to the efforts of his pack as they dominated Worcester to earn a crucial win in their battle for Aviva Premiership survival.

Irish claimed a 26-6 victory, with all their tries coming from the driving line-out. The win gave the Exiles a 10-point cushion over bottom club London Welsh and a five-point lead over 11th-placed Sale, with Irish still having to play those two clubs at home in their remaining four fixtures.

"I'm delighted with the performance today. For our forwards, it was their best of the season, especially coming after being routed up at Northampton." said Smith. "We've got four games remaining now and we've not been looking over our shoulder all season."

He added: "We are a real handful at home and if we can win those last four games there's no reason why we can't finish as high as eighth."

Irish assistant coach Glenn Delaney was also full of praise for his players.

He said: "We tried to set a platform up front which we did, but I was more pleased with the way we dug in at the end to defend our line. It was disappointing not to get a bonus point but in the final quarter we couldn't get into the right areas to enable us to do."

Worcester director of rugby Richard Hill was less than impressed with the fight his side put up.

"On a cold and wet day like this you need your forwards to take control," he said. "They didn't and we had no answers to their driving maul with their half-backs kicking far more accurately than ours."

Worcester never looked like scoring a try, despite dominating for large periods of the match, which disappointed Hill, who added: "We had numerous opportunities five metres from their try-line but failed to take any of them. They had probably fewer chances than us but were clinical in taking them."

The Warriors are still without an away win in the Premiership this season and Hill added: "At home we are a completely different side but we are working hard to final a solution to the problem with our away form. I'm sorry for our supporters but we've tried almost everything and are finding it a difficult problem to crack."

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