London Irish director of rugby Declan Kidney believes a final pre-season win has given his side more opportunities to develop ahead of next week’s Gallagher Premiership curtain-raiser against Worcester Warriors.
The Exiles won the Jack Wakefield Memorial Trophy on Friday night after a 19-14 victory over Graham Rowntree’s Munster Rugby at Musgrave Park.
The Irish never relinquished their lead on the night against Corkbacks James Stokes, Matt Williams and Henry Arundell who all landed to maintain the momentum of another pre-season away win last week against the Jersey Reds.
Returning to his home province where he won two Heineken Cups with the Red Army, Kidney said there was “a lot of work” for his current team ahead of the Warriors’ challenge at Gtech Community Stadium.
“It’s always great to come to a place like Munster and come away with a win,” said the director of rugby.
“But in pre-season there are more important things we can take out of the game.
“It showed us some of the things we need to focus on and work on, we had a number of opportunities that if we exploit next week we will be a better team.
“Defensively we held up well but discipline-wise we gave away some penalties to give them the chance to score.
“Overall, we’re happy with the night’s work, but there’s a lot to do.”
Welcoming new faces to the Club saw Danilo Fischetti and Api Ratuniyarawa make their first appearances in the Irish green in London, having put pen to paper at Hazelwood last off-season.
Of their performances, Kidney praised both, accompanying with admiration for the contributions of more junior players in the last quarter, which included two current senior Academy players and six Academy graduates.
He continued: “Api [Ratuniyarawa] and Danielo [Fischetti] are guys we were looking to bring in at this time last year and they played very well tonight, like all young players.
“Bringing them into the last 20 minutes against the other young Munster players will be a good experience for them.
“They showed a lot of composure to finish the game.”
Looking ahead to next week’s bid against Worcester Warriors, Kidney is wary of the rise in vigor on the pitch heading into the Gallagher Premiership season.
“It’s a whole different ball game, the intensity will double, triple.
“We have finished our pre-season now, we have the rest of this weekend off so we can arrive fully rested in order to have a good working week before next Saturday.”