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Match reaction: London Irish 16 Leicester Tigers 17

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London Irish forward’s coach Glenn Delaney was left disappointed after his side failed to turn possession into points in their narrow LV= Cup defeat to Leicester Tigers.

In a tight first-half London Irish chose not to kick penalties, and instead chose to go for touch, hoping they could score from the line-outs that followed, however they had nothing to show for it at half-time.

Leicester capitalised and Miles Benjamin and Robert Barbieri both scored tries to secure a 17-16 victory.

Delaney was however not critical of his sides choices and said: “We had the ascendency in the driving passage that led to the yellow card.

“In my view we were close to getting the penalty try, in hindsight maybe we should have taken the three but we looked at that at half-time and looked to regain those points in the second-half and I thought we achieved that.

“Certainly in the second-half there was a five metre scrum we could have taken that could have ended in a score but we took the penalty and it’s just part and parcel of the game.

“The boys are disappointed that we lost a match which in hindsight we had more possession in.

“We had complete dominance up-front and our platform in defence was very good but when you have that much possession and you are not maintaining it through phases you can be turned over and we were today.”

Tigers boss Richard Cockerill was happy with the positive performance of his young players.

He said: “I thought we got selection right, it was a great defensive effort from the team, we had two well taken tries, and probably our defence won the game for us.

“There is a lot of competition for places and the four or five really young lads who were making their debuts did not look out of place in this company.

“Their young players who have never played at this level and to come in to this Leicester side and do themselves justice is credit to them all.

“It’s been a difficult week in some ways after the performance we put out last week, but the performance was good for everyone today.

“We’ll approach next week exactly the same, we will put young lads out there to go and develop again.

“You want a good performance to develop the side, of course you want to win but this tournament helps the young players to develop in a high pressure environment.”

Be part of the rugby family at the LV= Cup Final at Franklin's Gardens, Northampton on Sunday 22 March. Visit www.northamptonsaints.co.uk for tickets
 
London Irish: Ojo; Armitage, Sheridan (Neal 54), Griffin, Cowell (Lightfoot-Brown 54); Dorrian, Allinson (Murphy 72); Hagan, Stevens, Halavatau (Mayhew 50), Lyons (Leo 50), Low, Narraway, Gilsenan (Curry 72), Sinclair (Smallbone 60)

Leicester Tigers: Bell; Thompstone, Smith, Pohe (Roberts 40), Benjamin; Bryant, Harrison (Mele 50); Bristow, Farnworth (H Thacker 45), Pasquali (Maksymiw 60), Wells (Balmain 60), De Chaves, Beckett Brugnara 50), (Milne 58), Barbieri, Grant
 
Scorers
 
London Irish:
Tries: Armitage
Conversions: Dorrian
Penalties: Dorrian 3
 
Leicester:
Tries: Benjamin, Barbieri
Conversions: Bell 2
Penalties: Bell
 
Referee: Steve Lee   
Attendance: 5134

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