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Smith rues poor start

London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith blamed his side's poor start for the defeat which still left them without a win in this season's LV= Cup competition.

Irish trailed 19-5 after 25 minutes as Wasps scored three excellent tries through Charlie Davies, Ed Jackson and Josh Bassett - with the visitors not being able to recover.

"I am very disappointed with our start; they were much more physical and more urgent than us as we lacked any intensity. After that our fighting qualities showed through and if we had kicked our goals it would have been an even game," said Smith.

Irish did rally as they scored three tries through Chris Hala'ufia, Sailosi Tagicakibau and Jamie Hagan, but all three tries went unconverted which meant Joe Carlisle's seven points with the boot proved crucial.

Irish fielded the stronger side on paper as they were keen to maintain momentum but Smith chose to take some of his leading players off at half-time when the Irish only trailed 19-10 and the second-half conditions were soon to be in their favour.

Smith added: "It was always our plan to take off some of our key players at half-time as we have to look after them in r eadiness for the big games that lie ahead. The conditions became a lottery, but in the end we turned the ball over very easily and weren't good enough."

Wasps coach Brad Davis was far happier with his side's performance, and he said: " Conditions weren't great but we controlled the first 40 minutes really well.

"We knew we would be under the cosh in the second half but we dug in at the end to see the game out.

"The Irish had some pretty big names in their line-up and we knew it was going to be a test for us.

"We need to show that we want to be a top-six side and therefore it is important to rotate your squad."

The game was marred by an injury to Irish centre Guy Armitage, who left the field on a stretcher, but Smith reported: "Fortunately it only appears to be a cartilage problem and hopefully there is no ligament damage.

"His knee locked and it has done this twice before, but hopefully he will be okay."


From Belfast Telegraph