LONDON IRISH head coach Tom Coventry took heart from his side’s showing in the latter stages of Saturday’s 25-17 Aviva Premiership loss at Bath Rugby.
Irish were 25-9 down with just five minutes left on the clock, but a Greig Tonks penalty coupled with Alex Lewington’s score in the corner almost secured a losing bonus point – Tonks’ subsequent conversion striking the near post to deny Coventry a valuable point.
“I was pretty impressed with the last five minutes when we got ourselves in a state of mind to chase a point down, we played some pretty good rugby,” said Coventry. “It’s just a pity that we weren’t able to replicate that throughout the game.”
Semesa Rokoduguni’s try just before the break made the Exiles’ task more difficult, with Coventry admitting that it was a pivotal moment in the contest.
He said: “The try conceded just before half-time was frustrating to see – we talked about making sure we were in the match at half-time and going in 11 points down ended up being too hard to chase down.
“We made defensive errors in midfield, particularly with Kyle Eastmond breaking through. He had a pretty good day out there for them. They seemed to be able to get through us far too easily.”
Irish now gear up for their American adventure as they play host to Saracens in New York this weekend, before returning to face Gloucester in the St Patrick’s Day game at the Madejski on March 20.
Coventry appreciates league leaders Saracens are a top quality outfit, but he’s hoping to capitalise on the favourites being without a handful of Six Nations internationals as they head to the States.
“They’re a good side, obviously the reigning champions,” he said. “They’ve been a pretty clever side for the whole of the competition. They’ve got a few players out with England that may weaken them a little bit. They’re pretty proud, but we’re a proud club too and there’s [positive] signs that we demonstrated that we can take with us to New York.”