Please note that this match has been rescheduled from the date originally advertised. This is due to TV scheduling. .
Gloucester scored two tries in the game, one in each half, and showed very resilient defence in the final 10 minutes to secure their top four position and leave Irish still in fifth place.
Irish made a solid start to the game looking strong in defence and assured in attack. They played out the first 10 minutes without any cause for concern and at the same time kept the famous shed stand at Gloucester quiet with a little help from a couple of huge Mapusua tackles.
Gloucester scored the first points of the game just after 10 minutes. Irish gave away a penalty at the breakdown and Gloucester fly half Nicky Robinson stepped up from just inside the Irish half to put his side on the board.
Irish came straight back at the cherry and whites from the kick off when Jamie Gibson charged down an attempted Nicky Robinson kick to touch. This resulted in Adam Thompstone coming very close to scoring off it. From the resulting lineout the Exiles won a penalty which was slotted by Chris Malone.
Gloucester came storming straight back at London Irish, with their huge pack of forwards flying into rucks, presenting quick ball for their outside backs, causing the Exiles to step offside giving away a penalty. Nicky Robinson was presented with a much easier kick at goal a stepped up to make it 6-3.
Gloucester scored their first try of the game after 24 minutes. It was the first time in the game that they had pressured the Irish line. They kept the ball tight with their big front five forwards before number 8 and Captain Luke Narraway went over the line. Nicky Robinson added the conversion.
Gloucester began at this stage to grab a foothold in the game and were gaining in confidence in attack but were thwarted by last line Irish defence.
With just over 10 minutes to go in the half Irish lost Clarke Dermody to the sin bin for slowing the ball down at the ruck. Robinson added the penalty to increase Gloucester’s lead to 16-3.
Irish got their first series of sustained possession and pressure in Gloucester territory just before the break. Faan Rautenbach, George Stowers and Nick Kennedy made real inroads into the Gloucester half before the home side conceded a penalty. Tom Homer stepped up from half way and kicked his first penalty of the game after a three and a half month absence through injury. The score at half time was 16-6 to the home side and Homer’s penalty meant London Irish were still well in contention.
Irish started the second half very brightly. Jamie Gibson claimed the ball from an over thrown line out and trampled his way into the Gloucester half. The forwards drove forward sucking in the Gloucester defenders, creating space for Tom Homer to glide through the defence. Topsy Ojo was tackled before receiving the pass from Tom Homer to give Chris Malone a shot at the posts. Chris cut the deficit to 16-9 three minutes into the half.
Gloucester scored what turned out to be the match winning try after 47 minutes through replacement Akapusi Qera, although a pass during the build up to the try looked to be forward. Nicky Robinson added the conversion to make it 23-9 to Gloucester.
The Gloucester try seemed to stop the game for ten minutes or so. Nicky Robinson put up a few high kicks but otherwise the game was played in the middle of the park.
London Irish created another great scoring opportunity with just over 10 minutes to go in the game. The Irish pack were camped on the Gloucester line for 15 phases but were unable to get the ball over the line. Gloucester turned the ball over and kicked up field to relieve the pressure.
Irish still had two chances to score in the final minutes but a mixture of strong defence and poor decision making at crucial times meant London Irish left with no points. The home defence was in determined mood and Irish were unable to find any way through.
The home side held out to win the game 23-9. Next up for London Irish is a home fixture against Harlequins next Saturday at the Madejski Stadium.
Score sequence: (London Irish first) 0-3, 3-3, 3-6, 3-13, 3-6,6-16, 9-16,23-9
Scorers: London Irish Penalties: Malone 2, Homer
Gloucester: Tries: Narraway (24), Qera (47): Conversions: Robinson 2: Penalties: Robinson 3
London Irish team
15. Topsy Ojo; 14. Adam Thompstone; 13. Dan Bowden; 12. Seilala Mapusua; 11. Tom Homer; 10. Chris Malone; 9. Darren Allinson; 1. Clarke Dermody (sin bin 29-39, rep: Alex Corbisiero, 55); 2. James Buckland; 3. Faan Rautenbach (rep: Paulica Ion, 55); 4. Nick Kennedy; 5. Kieran Low (rep: Gary Johnson, 61); 6. Kieran Roche (rep: Richard Thorpe, 61); 7. Jamie Gibson; 8. George Stowers
15. Olly Morgan; 14. Charlie Sharples; 13. Tim Molenaar; 12. Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu; 11. Tom Voyce; 10. Nicky Robinson; 9. Rory Lawson (rep: Dave Lewis, 69 sin binned 75-80); 1. Nick Wood; 2. Scott Lawson (rep: Olivier Azam, 69); 3. Paul Doran-Jones (rep: Rupert Harden,69); 4.Willl James (rep: Alasdair Strokosch,63); 5. Jim Hamilton; 6. Peter Buxton; 7. Andy Hazell (rep: Akapusi Qera, 25); 8. Luke Narraway
Referee: David Rose