BEN Loader said the hard work he has put it on the training ground proved key in his man-of-the-match display against Yorkshire Carnegie, writes Richard Ashton.

The 20-year-old wing scored two stunning tries as he inspired Exiles to a 22-8 RFU Championship Cup semi-final win at Madejski Stadium, setting up a final against Ealing Trailfinders.

His first try saw Loader sail highest to win a Jacob Atkins up-and-under before sprinting clear, while his second followed another superb take under a Yorkshire clearance kick.

And Loader told the Chronicle: "I've been doing a lot of high-ball work on the training ground so it was nice to see it pay off. For me to reap the rewards is good.

"We're delighted to be in a cup final and it's nice we'll have a shot to get some silverware."

Loader now has six tries this season and believes the club's faith in youth has seen him develop as a player, stating: "We're very integrated into the team and the coaches back us. We (the youngsters) push each other in training and my game's kicked on.

"You get better by playing and to have the opportunity to get a lot of game time has helped me come on a lot, and I think you can say the same with some of the other young guys like Jacob (Atkins)."

Defence coach Declan Danaher admitted his side had underperformed in the opening 40 minutes despite leading 12-8 at half-time, but was pleased and relieved to have got through to the final.

He commented: "We said at half-time we're better than that and we needed to come out and show that.

"We needed to put our bodies on the line both in attack and defence because they were doing that and we weren't."

Carnegie put up considerably more of a fight than when they were thumped 72-5 in the league back in October, and Danaher paid tribute to the visitors.

He said: "They came out firing and they've signed a couple of lads from New Zealand.

"They've made massive improvements and were incredibly physical, but they also wanted to throw it around and play rugby."

Reflecting on his side's chances of a league-and-cup double, Danaher concluded: "The challenge at the start of the year was to win the league and the cup and we're into the final, so it's a credit to the players.

"It would be massive to do the double – we didn't do it the last time. I don't look beyond the next game, all our focus is on the team we have next.

"We need to keep improving and challenging ourselves as we're not quite where we want to get to yet."