DECLAN Kidney was delighted with London Irish's first-half display as they cruised to a fifth straight RFU Championship Cup victory in a 59-5 triumph at home to Hartpury, writes Richard Ashton.

Exiles raced into a 38-0 lead at the break, and while Hartpury showed determination in the second period, it was a comfortable win for the home side.

And Kidney told the Chronicle: "I thought we started a lot stronger this week than we did last week, and there was a lot better endeavour over a longer period of time.

"You're always trying to look for the bits you can improve in, but it was an improved performance.

"There was an attitude shift as we went out and took it to them, whereas in some other games we've allowed the opposition to take it to us.

"The tries were spread out throughout the team which is a good thing, and if we can present that sort of threat across the park, it will be good for us going forward."

The Director of Rugby has used the competition to integrate youngsters including fly-half Jacob Atkins – who converted seven of nine attempts – and try-scoring centre Matt Williams, and he admitted: "The players who've come in have put themselves in the picture for when the Championship starts again – that was the whole point of bringing them in for the cup, to strengthen the depth of the squad.

"You never know when you're going to get a bang or a knock, and they're often in the same position, so we have to make sure we have a line of two or three for each role. The last couple of weeks has helped us do that."

Hat-trick hero Dave Porecki echoed Kidney's sentiments, adding: "The first 40 minutes last week were a bit energy-less, so to put together nearly an 80 – they scored in the end – is definitely a step forward for us.

"As a forwards pack, it was good to get a couple of maul tries. It was a good game with good conditions and I thought we went pretty well."