LONDON Irish head coach Les Kiss believes their positive approach and the options they have in their squad will be crucial to their attempts to survive in the Gallagher Premiership, following a five-try 36-11 victory at home to Leicester Tigers, writes Richard Ashton.

Exiles produced a brilliant display to put their under-par visitors to the sword at Madejski Stadium, with Ollie Hoskins, Ben Loader, Ruan Botha, debutant Waisake Naholo and Tom Parton all crossing the whitewash in a superb victory.

A noticeable feature of the hosts victory was their early intent, with Stephen Myler turning down a kickable penalty in the eighth minute and instead kicking to the corner, a decision which ended with Hoskins going over at the back of a rolling maul to put Irish in front.

Equally, on the stroke of half-time, Exiles repelled a wave of Leicester attacks before going the length of the field and allowing Botha to crash over from close range following some brilliant play among the backs. They could at that point have settled for a 13-6 half-time lead.

Commenting on their decision-making and approach, Kiss said: “If you want to have a way which represents you as a group you have to back it – you can’t say it and then not do it. We constantly challenge them to play the way they want to play and express it.

“The type of people we’ve got in the team, the young guys, Tom, Ben, Waisake, Albert (Tuisue), it’s a game which needs to be expansive, not only in how we play the game, but how we think about the game.

“Before half-time I thought we went into out shell a bit, we exited and gave them the set-piece, but they went to the corner and we said ‘we’ll stand up to it’. The fact we went edge-to-edge-to-edge, is a nice point we’ve grown into. You have to back your skillset and it was nice to see a lock (Ruan Botha) score it after the work of the backs.

“We want to play the game, but we know we need to earn it – we have to have an edge to our game.”

Following Hoskins’ early score, Tigers reduced the deficit courtesy of a Tom Hardwick penalty, only for Irish to push further ahead when Loader cut a beautiful line to score their second try on 20 minutes. Myler added the extras to make it 12-3.

Another Hardwick penalty cut the deficit, but Myler’s 38th-minute equivalent restored the nine-point advantage.

And on the stroke of half-time, Exiles struck a hammer blow. Leicester banged away at their line before losing a turnover, with Irish electing not to kick the ball out and instead racing downfield which ended with Botha crashing over.

The third quarter proved a stop-start affair, but Irish secured their try bonus-point and put the game to bed on 65 minutes thanks to two of their big-name debutants.

Replacement scrum-half, Nick Phipps, put in a beautiful cross-field kick for World Cup-winning All Black Naholo to collect and finish supremely, sending the home fans into raptures.

Parton added further gloss to the scoreline by racing 80 metres for his side’s fifth try following a turnover with two minutes to go, Phipps converting, and while Jonah Holmes scored in the corner with the last play of the game, one of England’s rugby powerhouses had been convincingly beaten.

Reflecting on the efforts of his squad and the potential they have ahead of the rest of the season, Kiss believes different combinations will allow them to thrive.

He concluded: “We’ve got a good blend. If you look through our scrum-halves, we’ve got Scott Steele, Ben Meehan and Nick Phipps, and they give us differences.

“With Paddy (Jackson) and Stephen we can play them at fly-half or full-back. When it gets into the dark days around Christmas and January and February, we’re going to need some variations and how we go about it. Being able to pick and choose and try new combinations out is nice.

“Our forward pack got us up nicely from the Championship last year, and have delivered this year, but we’ve had Ruan come in and he’s struck up a nice relationship with Franco (van der Merwe). We’ve got Barney Maddison sitting there so we’ve got some really good options depending on how we want to play the game.”

Meanwhile Leicester head coach, Geordan Murphy, was gracious in defeat, stating: “London Irish were by far the best team on the field, they wanted it more than us, they were more physical than us. Their defence was exceptional and their physicality was fantastic. They slowed the ball down really well and had some really good turnovers.

“Credit to them, they deserved the win – we were off and they were on.”