Saracens assistant coach Kelly Brown took pride in his side’s performance despite the Men in Black slipping to a 29-20 defeat to London Irish in the Premiership Rugby Cup. 

Sarries’ first trip to the Brentford Community Stadium was ultimately not a fruitful one although Brown’s side did fight back from 21-0 at half-time to come close to stealing a win over their London rivals. 

Ben Harris scored twice in three minutes to move Saracens into a competitive position before Rory Jennings was on hand to slot a penalty through the posts to give Irish the win. 

Brown said: “I have a lot of pride after that game. We had a very young and inexperienced team who were up against it, but we showed immense fight and character.

“The rugby we showed in that second half was very encouraging and it showed us all that the future is bright. 

“We were frustrated in that first half but we learnt a lot of lessons. Irish were very physical and put us under a lot of pressure which is where our discipline let us down, but we have a young team and we will learn.” 

London Irish had raced into a three-try lead through Ollie Hassell-Collins, Terrence Hepetema and Steve Mafi before Rotimi Segun hit back for Saracens after the break. 

Cillian Redmond touched the ball down in the corner to restore the home side’s advantage before Harris’ blitz gave Sarries hope. 

The Men in Black couldn’t find a crucial final score and had to settle for defeat in West London, but the match provided a good experience for Saracens’ young players including centre Brandon Jackson. 

The 20-year-old said: “At half-time, we had a chat about what it meant to be a Saracen and we just gave it our all in that second half, gave it all we could and obviously not the result we wanted but to compare the two halves is a massive difference. 

“We are proud of the second half, just in the first half you can’t wait to get going, you have to go from the off. 

“Once we had all the options and we worked off the ball and worked hard, we had the ability to go wide and play through but in the first half it wasn’t really there it was a bit offbeat, so it wasn’t put together.” 

Saracens return to Gallagher Premiership Rugby action on Sunday as they welcome Sale Sharks having won one and lost one in the Premiership Rugby Cup.