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REACTION: Kennedy on reaching the final, Cokanasiga injury and facing Yorkshire

NICK KENNEDY admits London Irish weren’t at their best despite cruising into the Championship play-off final with a 39-22 win against Doncaster Knights.

The Exiles brought a 35-3 first leg lead into today’s game at Madejski Stadium but conceded two tries during an even first half.

However, Irish pulled clear after the restart to comfortably book their spot against Yorkshire with a convincing 75-24 aggregate victory.

Joe Cokanasiga came off with a hamstring injury – Pic by Steve Smyth

The only downside was the withdrawal of Joe Cokanasiga due to injury at the end of the first half.

Kennedy spoke to the media after the game.

On the win…

It’s job done and we’re very pleased to be through to the final against Yorkshire. We weren’t at our best but over the two legs to score as many points as we did, we are pleased.

On managing the game…

We went in at half-time and just changed our tact slightly. I thought we came out after half-time firing and playing with the intensity we wanted to play with. Once we thought the back-to-back tie was won, we took our players off that we wanted to keep fresh for the next big game.

On Cokanasiga’s injury…

His glute tightened up in the warm-up and I think that then affected him hamstring throughout that first 20 minutes. He made it slightly worse on a run. It’s too early to say now but we’ll have a good look at him tomorrow in the physio room and assess things from there.

There is a chance he can be fit for the final. It’s not next week, we’ve got a 10 day turnaround. It’s a Wednesday night game up in Yorkshire. Our physio has been excellent all year so I’d back them to turn him around but it depends on how severe it was.

On keeping the same side…

Kennedy praised the likes of fringe players Lovejoy Chawatama
PHOTO: by Kieran Galvin/Pinnacle

That was the first time that we’ve gone with the same squad in back-to-back games all year. We’ve had a great rotation all year and the squad has been excellent. Winning these two games has been the strength of our non-squad.

The likes of Jacob Atkins prepping the attack, Doncaster moves, the likes of Jerry Sexton and Will Lloyd doing all the line-outs, Lovejoy Chawatama in the scrums, doing things the way Doncaster would to give the first team the best possible chance in these two games. It’s a massive squad effort and a huge well done to the guys.

On Yorkshire Carnegie…

The league table doesn’t lie. I think one and two being through to the final is a fair reflection of the season. They’ve been great. We’ve had a couple of very tough games against them. I’ve watched them a lot and they’re a very good side. They’re well coached and we’re really looking forward to the battle now.

 

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