Geordan Murphy says his Leicester Tigers team never recovered from a poor start in Sunday’s 36-11 defeat at London Irish.
Tigers conceded the first try after just eight minutes at the Madejski Stadium and trailed 22-6 at half-time before Irish copleted a bonus-point victory in Round 4 of the Gallagher Premiership season.
“We started really badly,” said head coach Murphy as Tigers ended the first block of league fixtures with one victory from four games.
“There were some early opportunities but ill-discipline cost us and we conceded an early try. Against a really physical outfit who were really up for it, we couldn’t really get a foothold in it. We were beaten to everything all day.
“When you start as badly as that, it is tough to get back in, especially with their defence playing so well. Their physicality was good, they slowed our ball well and they also scored from some of our mistakes.”
With Tigers 15-6 down, there was a contentious and important score for Irish on the stroke of half-time when Tigers missed an attacking chance of their own and their rivals broke free to score which was only confirmed despite TMO Sean Davey bringing referee JP Doyle’s attention to a suspected forward pass during the counter-attack.
Murphy, though, said he did not have major issues with the decision.
“There is a momentum law in the game if the hands go back and the ball goes forward,” he said. “I didn’t have a huge problem with that decision.
"That wasn't the reason we lost the game – though it doesn’t help.
“Irish were the better team, they were more physical, they wanted it more and their defence was brilliant. They did a really good job.
“Things add up against you in the Premiership. We didn’t deserve to win, but I didn’t think the scoreboard was completely reflective of our effort.
“We gave away too many penalties, and a bit of back-chat, that is unacceptable. Maybe it is frustration but I cannot defend that.”
Tigers open their European campaign against French visitors Pau at Welford Road this Saturday and go to Cardiff Blues a week later before resuming the league season with a Round 5 trip to Northampton Saints at the end of November.