DECLAN Kidney was pleased with London Irish's performance despite their gut-wrenching 16-13 Gallagher Premiership defeat at champions Saracens on Saturday.

It was a second consecutive loss for Exiles, but it took a last-minute Manu Vunipola penalty to rescue the win for Sarries.

Kidney said: “I think anytime you lose a game in this manner, you are always going to be extremely disappointed. Saracens are a club that is used to winning and congratulations to them.

“What we are trying to do is be the best team that we can be, every time we take to the pitch. There were lots of lessons that we learnt from the Sale match and we put some of those to good use against Saracens.

"Everyone knows Saracens are missing a fair few players due to the Rugby World Cup, but we will learn lessons from this and be better for the next match."

Stephen Myler put Exiles in front with a penalty, only for Alex Lozowski to reply in kind before Titi Lamositele went over for the hosts' first try.

A second Myler penalty cut the gap to 8-6 at half-time, and Irish hit the front on 54 minutes when Fijian international Albert Tuisue crashed over from close range.

The visitors led up until the 74th minute, at which point they lost Allan Dell to the sin-bin for bringing down a maul illegally.

Sarries went back to the corner and this time powered over with Ben Earl claiming the try.

Vunipola missed the conversion, but the young fly-half had the final say when he landed a penalty with the last kick of the game to snatch the victory.

Reflecting on the defeat, Kidney commented: “We were in a good field position for a lot of the first half. We probably didn’t convert that to points when we needed to, especially with the type of weather.

“I thought, when we came out in the second half, we played a lot smarter.

"The forwards gave us good control up front and the half-backs managed to control things around the pitch. We took our points when the opportunities came our way, but obviously coughing up eight points at the end of the game cost us."

London Irish welcome Leicester Tigers to Madejski Stadium this Sunday (2.30pm) and Kidney says his team must step up again.

He concluded: “Every team presents a different type of challenge, so it’s very hard to compare one with the other.

“We need to improve a few steps to make sure we stay at the same pace as everyone else."