London Irish: Tom Coventry says 'steps back will allow steps forward'

London Irish head coach Tom Coventry
Tom Coventry was previously assistant coach at Waikato Chiefs before joining London Irish

London Irish head coach Tom Coventry believes the club will still be "a good place to be" even if they are relegated from the Premiership.

A 13-6 defeat at fellow strugglers Newcastle on Sunday left the Exiles seven points adrift at the bottom.

"Sometimes you go back a couple of steps to go forward," he told BBC Sport. "I know it's a cliche, but sometimes it actually helps."

Irish face Harlequins at home and Wasps away in their remaining two games.

Coventry's side will have to win both games to have any chance of surviving the drop to the Championship, in what would be the club's first relegation since 1994.

London Irish players after the final whistle at Newcastle
London Irish have won just four games all season in the Premiership

Coventry, who took charge at the start of the season after being assistant coach at Super Rugby franchise Waikato Chiefs, admitted Irish's plight has been a tough coaching experience.

"Losing rugby, particularly the amount of losses we've had this year, has been pretty tough to take," he said.

"But, as a coach, you need to learn from those experiences and look at the things you could've done better.

"We need to look at what we're offering as a club from a playing perspective, but also as a development process."

The New Zealander pointed to the performances of 19-year-olds Johnny Williams and Theo Brophy Clews at senior level and the club's academy winning this season's Premiership Shield as reasons for optimism.

"Right at this very moment, people will be thinking 'is London Irish the place to be?' Well, I'd like to say yes, it's going to be a good place to be."

Meanwhile, Irish's injury woes deepened after winger Topsy Ojo confirmed he faces around four months out following a dislocated shoulder.

Ojo, 30, had surgery last week after sustaining the injury against Worcester in March.