LONDON Irish back row Mike Coman spoke of his relief after Exiles returned to the Aviva Premiership with a stunning 39-29 victory against Harlequins.

Nick Kennedy’s men ran in four tries – scored by Topsy Ojo, Tommy Bell, Ofisa Treviranus and Brendan McKibbin – while Bell also added 19 points with the boot in a heartening display from Irish. Quins did hit back after Exiles had raced into a 29-10 lead, and Coman admitted: “The last 10 minutes seemed to last forever and I was keeping an eye on the clock, but thankfully we got that try at the end to make sure of the win.

“We used last season as a way to set some goals and based ourselves on performance rather than results, which has stood us in good stead.

“The win is a good starting point for us and we’ve just got to keep progressing as a team.”

Coman and fellow back row Blair Cowan made 18 and 17 tackles respectively, the duo the catalyst for a memorable triumph at HQ.

And he said: “We’ve improved our physicality considerably, having worked on that aspect of our game last season.

“Declan Danaher has worked tirelessly on our defence and we certainly won a lot of collisions against Quins, so we’re pretty happy about that outcome.”