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'I'm not sure I'm a fan of a golden point to tell you the truth'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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London Irish head coach Les Kiss wouldn’t back the introduction of a golden point in the Gallagher Premiership to prevent matches in the English top-flight from ending in draws. The Exiles have become draw specialists in the 2021/22 campaign, remarkably drawing five of the 22 matches they have got to play. 

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With a Premiership draw worth just two points compared to a win being worth four, the Irish have left ten points behind them because of their draws against Sale (twice), Gloucester, Saracens and Wasps. The NRL in Australia has permanently used a golden point system since 2003 to ensure that its drawn matches ultimately end with an extra-time winner.

If that system was adopted in England, the Irish could potentially have picked up the additional points that would have them challenging hard to make the end-of-season playoffs rather than occupying eighth place on the table, seven points behind the fourth-place Northampton and out of contention with just one game remaining. 

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However, while the 57-year-old Kiss used to play in the NRL before crossing over into union coaching, he did so before the golden point was introduced and he wouldn’t want it brought into the Premiership. 

“I’m not sure I’m a fan of a golden point to tell you the truth,” said Kiss to RugbyPass when asked if an NRL-style tiebreaker would be welcome in the English top-flight. “I would probably accept what it [the result] is and accept that we have control over a couple of those end-games that we didn’t manage as well.

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“There is enough on our plate with 80 minutes in this competition, particularly as it is bloody tough. If you put in a golden point you don’t know where that is going to end, it then becomes a kick fest. The players are loaded enough. I wouldn’t be a fan of it to tell you the truth, so we just need to live with it and grow with it and be better.

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“We need to make sure if we put two of those results into a win we are right on the edge of the top four, there is no doubt about it and that is not to be this year. If I am answering your question correctly, I wouldn’t go to those (golden) points. I’d say we have just got to be better at managing what we do at the back-end or in the game to make sure it doesn’t get to that [a draw].”

London Irish came from 25 points down late in last Sunday’s game with Wasps to dramatically grab a share of the spoils on a 42-all scoreline, but are draws really a cause for celebration? “It’s the old saying, it’s like kissing your sister,” continued Kiss, who has been head coach at the Exiles since Declan Kidney was appointed director of rugby in March 2018. 

“I do think there was a sense of frustration. We have really worked hard and got some real direction about ourselves and we are still not getting that edge where we knock off certain parts of the game. To come back in that way (against Wasps), there was that sense of joy and relief but it was tempered by a lot of frustration and disappointment. It was a really strange feeling. 

“There is no doubt that the excitement of that result comes from what we know we are growing in the club as well, some youngsters coming on as well and all those things, but it was a really mixed sort of feeling. In the end, we accept that we are good enough to do that at the end but we also accept there are things we have to work on. 

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“If I go back to the previous draws, all of them I’d say there would be a similar feeling. We want more basically. We do definitely accept sometimes a draw will happen but we have let too many happen this year to ourselves and we are in control of most of those outcomes.”

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