Declan Kidney wants to remain at London Irish even if they are relegated

Declan Kidney insists he wants to stay on at London Irish even if the Exiles now suffer a second Aviva Premiership relegation in three years.

League leaders Exeter thumped Irish 45-5 in Reading on Sunday, leaving Kidney's side nine points adrift with just 10 to play for.

Former Ireland boss Kidney and ex-Ulster coach Les Kiss were drafted in to try to save Irish's season, but now the Madejski Stadium outfit appear destined for the drop again.

Kidney has signed a two-year deal at Irish, and wants to stay on next term, even if the Exiles drop back down to the Championship.

"I was asked to come on board as technical director for a period of time and that's what I'm doing now," said Kidney.

"I've enjoyed working here and if we can help the other coaches, players and the club come along then that's what we want to keep doing.

"But we've got a situation where we've got a cup final in two weeks' time, so the short-term goal is the only goal that needs to occupy our mind, and that's what we're fully focused on.

"I've enjoyed being back in rugby, and if it suits the players we can have a chat about it, but that's the plan."

England back-rower Sam Simmonds bagged a hat-trick, with Ben Moon, Mitch Lees and Jack Yeandle all also crossing.

Kidney admitted Irish now face a do-or-die clash with Saracens in Reading on April 28, where defeat would confirm their relegation.

Full-back Tommy Bell suffered a suspected torn Achilles tendon, while Max Northcote-Green and Alex Lewington will be further fitness doubts for that Saracens clash.

"There's nine points in it and 10 points left, so we'll keep fighting, and we'll keep doing that right until the end," said Kidney.

"The Saracens game is an all-or-nothing match, and that's what we must get ready for.

"If I were to start talking about anything else I'd be deflecting from the task in hand."

England star Simmonds now boasts 12 league tries this term, just one behind the Premiership's top-scorer, Worcester wing Josh Adams.

Exeter number eight Thomas Waldrom topped the league's scoring charts in 2015 and 2016, and now Simmonds has the chance to follow suit.

Forwards coach Rob Hunter paid tribute to Simmonds, but not before he admitted Exeter will now strive to top the table at the end of the regular season.

"The last couple of years we've targeted taking momentum into the last few games, not trying to manage your way through it; that's not what we do," said Hunter, with Exeter securing a home semi-final with their win over Irish.

"We'll be flat-out through the next game, because we want to come top.

"We know with Tom (Waldrom) and now Sam (Simmonds) that if it needs a little bit of scoring, so to speak, if it's a yard out and breaking up a bit, they make sure it gets scored.

"But obviously with Sam there he's so quick and elusive as well, it's fantastic to see him getting the ball on the wing there and running that one in."

- PA

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