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Playing their first match in Reading for more than five months, Irish finished comfortable victors with George Stowers also touching down and former Shed favourite Ryan Lamb kicking 13 points.
Irish started the stronger in a slightly tepid opening 15 minutes but they only had a solitary Lamb penalty to show for their early superiority and just as Gloucester looked like gaining a foothold in the contest, the hosts made ground through Topsy Ojo who wriggled into space and set the Exiles’ attacking wheels in motion.
The ball must have gone through the hands of all fifteen men in green and white as they advanced, phase after phase, upfield while the visitors desperately scrambled back in defence.
Finally Delon Armitage spotted a gap and darted through before feeding the supporting Declan Danaher who assisted James Buckland for his first Exiles try.
Lamb’s excellent form from the kicking tee pushed the hosts into a 10-3 lead and brought the home crowd to their feet.
Stung by the try, mistakes began to creep into Gloucester’s play but to their credit they regrouped and Robinson reduced the deficit to four points with a penalty in the 28th minute.
That the score remained 10-6 until half-time owed as much to profligacy as to die-hard defending as both sides were guilty of wasting gilt-edged chances.
Firstly the former England pair of Lesley Vainakolo and James Simpson-Daniel made a hash of a quick line out and gave Irish the opportunity of a five metre scrum.
With the perfect platform to score their second try, the Irish scrum went to work and five minutes later they were still there as referee Dean Richards reset the scrum no fewer than seven times.
After Gloucester had again been penalised, they opted for a line out and the new approach nearly worked as a driving maul was held up inches from the line.
Again Richards blew for a scrum, but this time the ball spat out in Gloucester’s hands and Simpson-Daniel kicked long upfield.
The Cherry and Whites chased well upfield, but with a two man overlap on the right flank, skipper Mike Tindall inexplicably opted to kick instead of pass and Jonathon Joseph was forced into a brave, diving interception.
While Irish quelled that particular Gloucester uprising, Robinson’s boot reduced the lead to just a single point three minutes into the second half.
The revival stirred the hosts into action and a string of rolling mauls were held up on the line once again denying the hosts.
However their dominance was beginning to have an effect on Bryan Redpath’s side as mistakes and penalties littered their play.
Lamb added two more penalties and stretched the lead to 16-9, but with 20 minutes to go, the home win was still not guaranteed.
A piece of magic was needed to settle home crowds’ nerves and it came from the Samson-esque figure of Mapusua, back in the starting line up and back with his customary long locks.
The Samoan centre picked up the ball from the ruck and powered forward instantly giving the Exiles attacking momentum and two phases later, a fizzing, arcing pass from Daniel Bowden found Stowers who finished with the composure of a wing with a superb try in the corner.
Lamb again converted to take his match tally to five from five and Irish lead 23-9.
Vainakolo scored a try at the death which substitute Tim Taylor converted to earn them a rather fortuitous bonus point, not that any of the celebrating home fans minded too much.
Tries: Buckland (19), Stowers (65)
Conversion: Lamb (19, 65)
Penalty goals: Lamb (5, 51, 55)
Tries: Vainakolo (80)
Conversion: Taylor (80)
Penalty goals: Robinson (15, 28, 44)
Scoring sequence (LI first): 3-0, 3-3, 10-3, 10-6 HT. 10-9, 13-9, 16-9, 23-9, 23-16.
London Irish: 15. Delon Armitage; 14. Topsy Ojo; 13. Seilala Mapusua; 12. Daniel Bowden ; 11. Jonathon Joseph; 10. Ryan Lamb (Malone, 74); 9. Paul Hodgson (Allinson, 70); 1. Clarke Dermody (captain) (Lahiff, 74); 2. James Buckland (Paice, 74); 3. Faan Rautenbach (Corbisiero, 54); 4. Nick Kennedy; 5. Bob Casey (Garvey, 66); 6. Kieran Roche; 7. Declan Danaher; 8. George Stowers.
Replacements not used: Fisher, Watson
Gloucester: 15. Charlie Sharples; 14. James Simpson-Daniel, 13. Mike Tindall (capt), 12. Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu (Molenaar, 64), 11. Lesley Vainikolo; 10. Nicky Robinson (Taylor, 74), 9. Rory Lawson (Lewis, 75); 1. Alasdair Dickinson (Wood, 52), 2. Scott Lawson, 3. Pierre Capdevielle (Harden, 58); 4. Jim Hamilton (Attwood, 53), 5. Alex Brown; 6. Alasdair Strokosch, 7. Andy Hazell, 8. Brett Deacon (Narraway, 55).
Replacements not used: Dawiduik