There have been fits and spurts this season in which London Irish have offered a glimpse of the future imagined by Tom Coventry – but scrum-half Scott Steele admits the players must offer up an 80-minute performance for the new man.
The search goes on for a first win in Aviva Premiership Rugby for the Exiles under Coventry’s management after
a 33-15 defeat to Wasps at the London Double Header.
Wasps are arguably the team to watch at the moment after sweeping aside Leinster and defending champions Toulon in the Champions Cup, but Irish kept pace in the first half.
Jonny Williams went over just before half-time to leave the Exiles trailing by three points but they slipped away in the closing stages after two late Wasps tries.
And while Coventry’s best-laid plans are not quite coming off just yet, Steele is confident that the jigsaw will fall into place long before the season is over.
“We did well in the first half and we thought we were really in the game, but we struggled to execute our skills in the second half,” said the scrum-half. “Our defence is something we really need to focus on, but we scored some good tries as well.
“There’s elements we can take away from the game but we can’t afford to let them control us by letting them have easy ball. We’ve looked at it in the review this week and what we can do to prevent that.
“Wasps are a match for any side in the Premiership and in Europe, so to go in at half-time competing with them all the way is positive.
“Our individual roles we have to play went missing at times in the breakdown and when you’re chasing the game for so long it takes it out of you – the key is to improve our ball retention.
“The feeling in the camp is that it will all come together soon, we have had a few signings come in later after the World Cup and it’s not going to click just straight away.
“But we feel like we’re not that far away from that 80-minute performance and getting the win under our belts.”
Next up on the agenda is a trip to the Stoop and a Harlequins side licking their wounds following their one-point defeat to Exeter Chiefs on Saturday.
And Steele, who made 17 Aviva Premiership Rugby appearances in his first season for Irish last year, believes he is the right fit for Coventry’s revolution.
“(Tom Coventry) is keen on a quick tempo to our play and that’s good news to hear for any scrum-half, so I feel like I’m fitting into what he is asking from us,” added the 22-year-old.
“It’s that southern hemisphere style, making space and speed at the breakdown – that’s what they’re trying to create here with that quality ball and play on top of teams. That is not going to be built overnight but it is exciting.”
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