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Newport Gwent Dragons
Fixture Type: Friendly
Match Date: Sat 21 Aug 2010
Kick Off: 14:30
Venue: Rodney Parade
Referee: Phil Fear
Assistant Referee: David Williams
Assistant Referee: Alan Sheppard
<1r>Despite some pre-season rustiness, it was yet another solid performance from Toby Booth's side in, at times, difficult conditions as heavy rain lashed down at Rodney Parade.
The back three of Armitage, Ojo and Tom Homer all showed glimpses of their attacking prowess with ball in hand. Kieran Roche and Bob Casey excelled in the second row, Steffon Armitage buzzed around the breakdown looking to attack at every opportunity and Dan Bowden and Elvis Seveali’i dovetailed well in midfield.
But the real star performer was Ryan Lamb who lead the line excellently with an all round performance at number 10 that saw him finish with 18 points.
The two sides exchanged penalties in a tight first quarter, but it was the Dragons that nearly opened the scoring with a piece of typical Welsh attacking flare.
The ball sped through the hands of the Newport midfield as first Wayne Evans and Aled Brew powered forward only to be denied yards out by some composed and combative defence.
Exiles cleared their lines after a school yard scramble and were soon firmly on the front foot as the returning Paul Hodgson made a scything dart upfield leaving the heavy breathing Dragons defence in his wake.
They finally caught up with him but not before he had advanced inside his opponents' 22. The attacking foundations were set and five phase later Lamb threw one of his trademark long passes out to Delon Armitage, who casually flicked the ball into the hands of Ojo who powered over the line for his first try in London Irish colours since February 2009.
Lamb then kicked a superb conversion from right on the touchline to give Irish a 10-3 lead.
However that lead had been extinguished by half-time as Welsh referee Phil Fear took centre stage with some baffling officiating that checked the Exiles attacking momentum.
To give the Dragons their due, they took full advantage of the referees over zealous penalising with a try from Nicky Griffiths and five points from the boot of Tovey, who also manage to miss a routine penalty kick directly in front of the posts.
That miss proved costly as at the other end Lamb was having a perfect day with the boot adding a hat-trick of penalties early in the second half to give Irish a 19-13 lead.
And it was Lamb who provided the champagne moment of the match with just under a quarter of a hour to go when he spotted a gap and executed and then collected a deft chip kick on the half way line before feeding substitute Jonathon Joseph, who shrugged off a couple of challenges before sending George Stowers clear for the Exiles' second try of the match.
Dragons hit back with a David Bishop try in the final minutes, but Irish had the last laugh as George Stowers crashed over with the help of his fellow forwards.
Scorers. Newport: Tries: Griffiths (36), Bishop (77); Conversions: Tovey (37), Jones (78); . Penalty goals: Tovey (5, 40).
London Irish: Tries: Ojo (25), Stowers (66, 80); Conversion: Lamb (26, 67, 80). Penalty goals: (18, 43, 60, 63).
Scoring sequence (London Irish first): 0-3, 3-3, 10-3, 10-10, 10-13 (half-time). 13-13, 16-13, 19-13, 26-13, 26-20, 33-20
Dragons: M Evans, M Pewtner, T Riley, R Gomer Davies, A Brew, J Tovey, W Evans; H Gustafson, S Jones, B Castle, S Morgan, L Charteris, J Bearman, H Ellis, R Sowden-Taylor.
Replacements: A Hughes, D Bishop, M Jones, N Griffiths, N Hall, P Price, P Palmer, T Willis, L Burns, A Jones, J Groves, L Evans.
London Irish: D Armitage, T Ojo, E Seveal’i, D Bowden, T Horner, R Lamb, P Hodgson, C Dermody, J Buckland, A Corbisiero, K Roche, B Casey, D Danaher, C Halu’ufia, S Armitage.
Replacements: D Paice, M Lahiff, F Rautenbach, M Garvey, R Thorpe, J Joseph, C Malone, D Allinson, G Stowers, M Yarde.