Tries have been at a premium for London Irish in their 2020/21 Gallagher Premiership campaign, but boss Declan Kidney is anticipating some unusual celebrations if the scores start to flow from next Sunday onwards when they resume their stalled campaign. 

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Irish have had two of their five matches cancelled so far this winter in England and but for the points split ensuring that the team at fault for the calls-offs still gets two points per cancellation, the Exiles would be bottom of the Premiership on five points rather than on nine points and sitting in tenth place. 

Kidney’s team have scored just three tries in the three matches they have managed to play and while the latest edict from Premiership officials this week included a clampdown on the face-to-face celebration of tries, the Irish coach is hoping some alternative celebrations can emerge. 

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Goodbye 2020!

“That’s obviously a challenge,” admitted Kidney when asked how Irish might react to scoring a late winning try against Harlequins at the weekend in their first match back following recent cancellations against Bath and Northampton. 

“Lots of things in life are challenges. Rugby is an emotional game where you have to not only bring yourself physically and mentally but emotionally as well. If something like that is to happen at the end of the game, you are looking for best practice.

“That is where somebody within the group, when you talk about it often enough, that it triggers something like, ‘Okay, back off’. You could see some ridiculous celebrations but if they are safer I would prefer to see ridiculous and safe rather than just going for it. 

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“It’s one of the things that we have had to do at a lot of our meetings, to reiterate all these practices that go on about hand sanitation, social distancing, especially when it comes to scores at the end of the game. Some teams can be hit depending on where you get a positive test – that can affect the team to a greater or lesser extent. 

“The front rows and scrum-halves are in a far more vulnerable position if you like and the contract tracing there can have a bigger effect against wingers and 13. But then the wingers and 13s can be the ones scoring the tries, so we just have to watch that close contact. 

“It is a challenge, no doubt about it. The whole thing is a challenge but I have no intention coming on here complaining how tough it is on the basis that is the rugby element. 

“There is also a health element to this too and how lucky we are to be able to get out and about and do our jobs, so sport on general has a job to do for society. There are people sitting at home who need some entertainment and it’s our role to give that to people to the best of our ability.”

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