The Kiss praise Michael Dykes for taking his chance with a first hat-trick for the London Irish
Dykes toasted his maiden Premiership appearance with a well-taken hat-trick as the Irish beat capital city rivals Harlequins 42-24 at Gtech Community Stadium.
The 21-year-old winger became just the third player in Premiership history to score on his first appearance with a hat-trick. The previous two to achieve the feat were seasoned professionals and full internationals, however – leaving Dykes alone as the only academy product to claim a first treble.
Lesley Vainikolo was a star in his own right in the New Zealand Rugby League when he ran in five tries for Gloucester against Leeds in 2007, with the ‘Volcano’ quickly representing England in union. Courtnall Skosan already had 12 caps for South Africa on his first hat-trick at Northampton in 2021.
Ireland manager Kiss hailed Dykes for biding his time through two years of hard work to now take his chance in the absence of Ben Loader’s injury and England’s call for Ollie Hassell-Collins.
“I think that’s a brilliant thing, a damn good thing,” Kiss said. “He did a really good job in the middle, Chandler [Cunningham-South] suck in and crumble defenses and find space.
“His us being able to stay where he needs to and not chasing ghosts, those learnings are good so he reaps the rewards of what we do in the middle. So good finishers do that, they reap the rewards and finish. And he did it well.
“I don’t want to inflate his tires too much, but he’s a good boy and he has to keep a cool head now, and it’s going to be difficult in the selection now. Those options are great for us.
Cunningham-South, James Stokes and Tom Pearson all came through to add to Dykes’ hat-trick for an Irish side that emerged from a difficult period in October and November and in good league form.
Quins claimed a try bonus point thanks to scores from Tommy Allan, Josh Bassett, Dino Lamb and a penalty effort, but Tabai Matson’s side were well beaten in truth.
The serious shoulder injury of Australian Irishman Adam Coleman proved the only downside to an otherwise very impressive victory for the Exiles.
“I went out at halftime to see how Adam was doing, but he had gone to the hospital,” Kiss said.
“I’m not sure what the injury was yet, but it didn’t look good. It was a selfless act to dive on a loose ball, but it was all accidental. It’s a blow for us because it makes a big difference when we have him and Rob [Simmons] together.”
Quins suffered their fourth successive Premiership defeat, in a run dating back to early December. Captain Stephan Lewies was sent off for an illegal cleanup during a ruck, with head coach Matson accepting the dismissal – and his team’s need to improve quickly.
“If you connect with the lead in this situation, it’s a red card and it’s a fair call,” Matson said.
“We have work to do in the Premiership, that’s clear. We slipped in the league and had a tough time. And we’re a mid-table team now as it is.
“There will be a few days off just because of how unusual the schedule has been and because of what’s to come. But we have work to do.