LONDON Irish Director of Rugby Declan Kidney admitted his side were flattered by the score in their 47-12 Greene King IPA Championship victory against Richmond at Madejski Stadium on Sunday, writes Richard Ashton.

Exiles moved nine points clear of Ealing Trailfinders at the top of the table following their seven-try bonus-point victory, although they were only 12-5 in front at the interval after a flaky first-half display.

Ben Meehan's second try straight after half-time proved the catalyst for an improved display, though, and with Irish running in four more tries, it was eventually a comfortable afternoon for the leaders.

But Kidney (pictured) told the Chronicle: "We had to work our way through the match.

"At half-time we were just one score up, and we were very fortunate we got a good start to the second half which obviously alleviated the pressure.

"It was a big turning point because I think if Richmond had got it we could have tightened up and it would have become more difficult."

He continued: "The way rugby goes nowadays, you tag on a try or two at the end and all of a sudden it makes it look a very one-sided game, and it was anything but that."

Exiles' success was again built around a dominant forwards effort, with three tries coming from their rolling maul – two for hooker Dave Porecki and one for his replacement, Saia Fainga'a – but Kidney was also particularly happy with Meehan's second effort.

He said: "The rolling maul is working well, but sides have managed to stop us there, so we have to broaden our game to be able to take the pressure off the pack.

"We don’t expect them to be able to do it all the time which is why I was happy with the try after half-time, because that was a good effort from the backs.

"The challenge for us is not to overly rely on the maul and to mix up our game."

Kidney gave a debut to Fijian full back Alivereti Veitokani, and was encouraged by his display, stating: "By it’s nature it’s a different type of game, there’s more of a defensive emphasis and a set-piece emphasis as opposed to the southern hemisphere where the ball is in play a lot longer, but I thought Alivereti (Veitokani) adapted well and kicked well, and he’ll get better with more game time."

Mean while, man-of-the-match Tom Stephenson, who made one scintillating break which should have led to a Porecki score in the first half, had mixed emotions on his side's display.

He admitted: "The first-half performance was nowhere near up to scratch, but second half we came out and it was much more positive."