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Smith: Ref not to blame for loss

London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith refused to blame any refereeing decisions for his side's 20-15 defeat at the hands of Leicester.

Logovi'i Mulipola's second try for the visitors was awarded on the advice of the television match official and late on Irish crossed the line for what would have been a winning try only for the TMO to rule it out for an earlier knock-on.

Smith said: "We weren't at our best and that's the reason why we lost. If we had played to our best I might have been jumping up and down about a couple of matters. From the screen I saw, George Skivington seemed to get under Mulipola and I didn't think it was a knock-on at the end as there was an involvement from their player."

Irish had to rely on penalties for their points with four successes from James O'Connor and one from Ian Humphreys. However, O'Connor missed with three crucial kicks, before being replaced as kicker by Humphreys.

"We did miss kickable chances, James thought that one of them went through the poles and wanted it reviewed by the TMO but his kicking tee was more affected by the wind and ultimately it was my decision to change the kicker," added Smith.

His Leicester counterpart Richard Cockerill felt his team were deserved winners.

"I thought we were good value for the win as we scored three tries to zip and we stopped a side, which are very dangerous, from scoring," he said.

Leicester were always the more likely tryscorers, picking up three through Ben Youngs, Mulipola and Vereniki Goneva with Owen Williams, playing instead of club captain, Toby Flood, adding a penalty and conversion.

"I thought it was right to give Owen an opportunity - if a guy is playing better than the other guy, he deserves to be picked. I'm delighted for Owen, he's only 21 and he kicked well today to obtain some good field positions," Cockerill added.

Cockerill also confirmed that England centre, Manu Tuilagi, will soon be fit.

"Manu is progressing and hopefully he will play some part against Newcastle next week."


From Belfast Telegraph