London Irish coach impressed with Exeter Chiefs

London Irish coach Toby Booth says that he has been impressed with Aviva Premiership newcomers after the Exiles edged out 9-12 at Sandy Park.

The Exiles victory keeps them on top of the Premiership standings and Booth praised the Exeter Chiefs’ organisation.

“It was a game of two halves – they won the first and we won the second. I was really impressed with Exeter, they were well organised, well coached and very committed.” said Booth.

In the second half the Chiefs line out fell apart and when London Irish lost Delon Armitage to the sin-bin for a high tackle Exeter failed to capitalise on the extra man advantage.

“Our lineout grew much stronger as the game wore on. We used our Premiership experience of previous pressure cookers to get us home.” he told PremiershipRugby.

Booth’s men lead the Premiership standings but Booth says they will not be taking their position for granted and added, “We are still learning – we have a long way to go.

“The last three seasons we’ve been near the top of the Premiership at Christmas but have fallen away so it’s important we maintain the momentum.”

Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter also referred to the team’s struggling line out,”It was comfortably our worst lineout performance of the season but all credit to London Irish as they are very strong in that department.”

However, Baxter was far from despondent, adding: “I was pleased with our overall performance.”

“Our work ethic and endeavour was there in spades but I’m a little disappointed and we learnt a tough lesson today.

“There were too many unforced errors, we let the game slip through our fingers but not many sides will stop Irish from scoring a try in 80 minutes of rugby.”

The Chiefs will be sweating on the fitness of influential fly-half Gareth Steenson who they lost with a leg injury after an hour.

“It’s too early to assess the damage.” said Baxter.

” He seems OK but nothing is certain until he has a scan in the next couple of days.”

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