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Fixture Type: Aviva Premiership
Match Date: Sat 02 Oct 2010
Kick Off: 15:00
Venue: Madejski Stadium
Assistant Referee: Andrew Pearce
Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant Referee: Nigel Carrick
The Samoan flyer was on the scoresheet with a try with his very first touch as the Exiles retained top spot in the Aviva Premiership with a convincing 40-24 win.
Before Tagicakibau’s introduction, Irish had been made to work hard for a 19-10 lead but three second half tries in 18 minutes put an emphatic end to Leeds’ challenge.
Much was made pre-match about the battle between the two packs and Irish was able to test the visitors’ scrum in the very first minute after Ryan Lamb’s kick off had gone straight into touch.
After a couple of resets referee Greg Garner, officiating for the first time at Madejski Stadium, penalised the Leeds scrum, one of five penalties he would award against Carnegie in the opening 15 minutes.
During that time, Lamb had two opportunities to give his side the lead but had to wait until the 17th minute to put his team on the board.
Despite their heavy penalty count, Leeds dominated the territory and their pressure paid off when fly half Ceiron Thomas dinked through a gap and managed to stretch his arm over the line for the opening try of the match.
Thomas then converted his own try to edge Leeds ahead 7-3.
An injury to Carnegie number 8 Danny Paul in the build up to the try then held up the match for a number of minutes but despite having time to regroup the Exiles struggled to gain a firm footing in the match.
The hosts needed a spark and one eventually came in the all action form of Paul Hodgson who spotted a gap and sprinted upfield before being enveloped by the Leeds defence.
But his forage had given the Exiles some momentum and for the first time in the afternoon they managed to play the brand of rugby that has propelled them to the top of the league this season.
Despite some very dogged defence the pressure told and Lamb reduced the deficit to a single point with a penalty directly in front of the post.
Leeds indiscipline was again evident five minutes later when flanker Hendre Fourie was sinbinned for diving on the ball and with a one man advantage Irish was able to raise its game.
Phase after phase crashed into the Leeds defensive wall, but it was one of the smallest men on the pitch, Irish hooker James Buckland, who found the line with a burrowing drive 15 metres to the right of the posts.
Lamb added the extras and needed to be at his most accurate to slot a tricky touchline penalty in the final minute of the half to give Irish a solid 16-7 lead at half-time.
The only thing Carnegie led going into break was the penalty count, a remarkable 12-2, and if they were to claw their way back into the contest then their discipline would have to improve.
Ironically it was Irish who was penalised first in the new half and Thomas did the rest with a kick that reduced the Irish lead to six points.
Irish hit straight back, and with the crowd momentarily distracted by a raft of Exiles substitutions, the excellent George Stowers made sure everyone’s attention returned to the match with an exhilarating break from half way.
He popped up to the ever athletic Nick Kennedy in support, who used his long legs to good effect and charged towards the line.
It looked set to be a carbon copy of his try against Harlequins last season but the scrambled Leeds defence managed to bring him down 10 metres out.
However, the platform was set and a few phases later Irish had their second try with substitute Tagicakibau powering over.
Fellow countryman Stowers then added a third with a pick and drive that ended with the ball touching the base of the post. Lamb again added the extras.
Fourie grabbed a try with 12 minutes left before Tagicakibau once more showed his unbelievable power to earn his side a valuable four try bonus point.
Leeds centre Luther Burrell added another late consolation to reduce the Exiles’ lead to 40-24 before referee Garner bought the action to a close.
Tries: Buckland (37), Tagicakibau (59, 76), Stowers (64)
Conversion: Lamb (37, 59, 64), Malone (76)
Penalty goals: Lamb (17, 28, 40, 55)
Tries: Thomas (20), Fourie (68), Burrell (79).
Conversion: Thomas (20, 68), Lewis-Pratt (79)
Penalty Goals: Thomas (44)
Scoring sequence(LI first): 3-0, 3-7, 6-7, 13-7, 16-7. HT. 16-10, 19-10, 26-10, 33-10, 33-17, 40-17, 40-24.
London Irish: 15. Delon Armitage; 14. Topsy Ojo; 13. Seilala Mapusua; 12. Daniel Bowden (Seveali’i, 52); 11. Jonathon Joseph (Tagicakibau, 52); 10. Ryan Lamb (Malone, 68); 9. Paul Hodgson; 1. Clarke Dermody (captain) (Lahiff, 73); 2. James Buckland (Paice, 52); 3. Alex Corbisiero (Rautenbach, 59); 4. Nick Kennedy; 5. Bob Casey; 6. Kieran Roche (Fisher, 68); 7. Declan Danaher (Garvey, 51); 8. George Stowers.
15. Leigh Hinton; 14. Michael Stephenson; 13. James Tincknell; 12. Luther Burrell; 11; Semi Tadulala (Fa'afili 72); 10. Ceiron Thomas (Lewis Pratt 76); 9. Scott Mathie (Fury 60); 1. Mike MacDonald (Hardy); 2 Andy Titterrell (Thomspon 52); 3. Juan Gomez (Alonson HT); 4. Sean Hohneck (Denton 60); 5. Marco Wentzel; 6. Kearnan Myall; 7. Hendre Fourie; 8. Danny Paul (Oakley, 20).