Challenge Cup: London Irish coach Les Kiss delighted with dominant win over Castres

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 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

London Irish coach Les Kiss was thrilled with his side’s big win in the Challenge Cup as they moved one step closer to the final in Marseille.

Kiss’s men scored 10 tries en route to a massive 64-27 victory over Castres Olympique in Brentford on Friday and will now face French side Toulon in the quarter-finals.

Always looking to improve

The 57-year-old was clearly delighted with his side’s performance after the game but noted there are still areas to work on after they made some basic mistakes during the second half.

“You’ve got to enjoy your wins, particularly in Europe and particularly at home,” Kiss said.

“In the first-half we were really clinical, we put the things into play that we had planned for and they came off and we just didn’t take our foot off the throat.

“I thought the second-half, we had some simple errors and a bit of focus went out the window.

“We gave them what they wanted, they wanted a slow game to apply their set-piece pressure on us and we let them do it, which is the disappointing part about it.

“However, I love the courage we showed at the end of the game, we just thought, ‘Let’s back ourselves’ and we put some points on the board.

“We won the first-half well, and the second-half was 24-all so we still have a little bit to work on.”

London Irish notched up a point per minute in the first half thanks to several tries, including an Agustin Creevy brace but Kiss was disappointed that his side did not execute the possession-based game they had planned for the second half.

“At half-time, we talked about keeping the pressure on them by possession football but we just didn’t do that,” he added.

“They had all the time in the world to play how they wanted to play, and it wasn’t just about possession, it was how they slowed the game up.

“They walked to things, they kept the tempo in the way they like to play whereas we like to play quick and uptempo and we didn’t get to that.

“We either dropped the ball and made a silly penalty error, which gave them exactly what they wanted, but I am disappointed about that 20-25 minutes, it’s a really tough feeling to have.”

Kiss used a string of youngsters late on to try to work his team back towards their game plan and believes that worked well.

“However, it’s nice to see a couple of young guys get on and do a good job at the end as we backed other parts of our game plan, and it worked well,” he said.

“We know we are a good team when we play at a good tempo; we play with good possession, pressurise and kick wisely.

“Those things we went away from but we have to respect what Castres are about as well, when they got into that place they were very deadly and clinical at our try line.

“Without a doubt, we have to take some learnings away from that but we have to understand that in Europe, 64 points is not too bad!”

READ MORE: Leinster’s Leo Cullen expects tough clash with Leicester Tigers at Welford Road in the quarter-final

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