Irish slump has Smith in bother
BRIAN SMITH admitted “the buck stops with me” after his London Irish side fell to a fifth consecutive Aviva Premiership defeat, writes Alan Manicom.
Exiles have lost all five of their league games at home so far this season and after a 9-21 reverse against Gloucester, their director of rugby is under huge pressure to turn the club’s fortunes around.
Smith, whose contract is up for renewal in the summer, said: “The effort was there but we were inaccurate. It is hard to say why.
“You have to look at each incident. We had big opportunities inside their 22 and could not convert pressure into points. Most were lineout shots close to the line. I might have to look at my own doorstep first because I decided to bring six players back from international duty.
“We were clearly under pressure and weren’t accurate. I have to ask whether that was because I made so many changes or was it just an inaccurate throw or whatever?
“I am the guy who made the calls so the buck stops with me.”
Gloucester captain Greig Laidlaw broke the deadlock with a penalty to give his side a 3-0 half-time advantage and added another early in the second half.
Henry Purdy then sprinted down the left touchline to finish off a well-worked move for the first try of the game.
Shane Geraghty got the Exiles on the scoresheet with the first of three penalties, while Laidlaw slotted his third of the game.
Irish piled on the pressure in the final 15 minutes, but their failure to turn their possession into territory proved costly as Gloucester full-back Steve McColl pounced on James Hook’s chip to score his side’s second try with just over five minutes remaining.
Gloucester had Tom Savage sinbinned for a late hit on Geraghty four minutes from time, but Irish were unable to make the extra man count.
Smith said: “Our issues were of our own making. We have no complaints. We just have to cop it on the chin. We have had no traction in November which is massively disappointing.”
Irish remain second from bottom in the Premiership and it is only the poor form of basement club London Welsh that is protecting them from the spectre of relegation.
Exiles now take a break from the Premiership to play pool games against Cardiff Blues in the European Challenge Cup in Wales on Saturday and then at Madejski Stadium a week later.
Smith said: “Probably the best thing about November is that it is over and we can move onto Europe where we are going well.
“We have to shake this off pretty quickly.”
Under pressure: London Irish director of rugby
Brian Smith admits he is feeling the heat.