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Fixture Type: Amlin Challenge Cup
Match Date: Sat 11 Jan 2014
Kick Off: 15:00
Venue: Madejski Stadium
Referee: Claudio Blessano
Assistant Referee: Carlo Damasco
Assistant Referee: Matteo Liperini
Andrew Fenby bagged a first half hatrick but it was Guy Armitage, who scored two tries, who was the thorn in the visitor’s side all afternoon and he was rightly awarded Man of the Match.
On a milder January afternoon at Madejski Stadium it was the Exiles that made the perfect start to the game with Guy Armitage leaping in at the corner after only two minutes of play. Tomás O’Leary was orchestrating play well in tandem with Shane Geraghty and, after Irish had created the overlap, Geraghty passed to Bryn Evans who did a neat loop with Armitage who finished well.
The Exiles allowed Lusitanos an easy three points when risky play in their own 22 between Fenby and Geraghty forced a penalty for the visitors. Full back Pedro Leal made no mistake to cut the deficit to two points at 5-3.
Irish hit back immediately with a well worked second try two minutes later with Alex Lewington doing all the damage. The full back received Geraghty’s wide pass before beating his opponent and drawing the Lusitanos full back and allow Andrew Fenby an easy run in.
The Welsh winger was in again moments later, this time demonstrating his power and determination to get across the line. Geraghty added the conversion to put Irish 17-3 ahead.
The visitors showed good resilience for 15 minutes to hold Irish out; however the bonus point try did eventually come and was created by a fantastic flip pass from Guy Armitage. Lewington again drew the last defender and Fenby touched down for his hatrick try.
Brian Smith’s side were dominating the contest upfront and their superior experience and power at scrum time left referee, Claudio Blessano, with no choice but to award the penalty try.
The Exiles scored their sixth just before half time when Tom Fowlie, who has just signed a two year contract extension, caught a Geraghty cross field kick to take his side into half time with a 36-3 lead.
Irish rung the changes at half time but it didn’t slow them down in any way. Ed Hoadley came on for his first appearance at scrum half and his partnership with Myles Dorrian, who came on for Shane Geraghty, clicked immediately. Jebb Sinclair and Bryn Evans crossed for tries within 10 minutes of the re-start to make it 50-3 with half an hour remaining.
The 50 point mark also signalled the arrival of Tom Homer who has faced a significant period on the sideline recovering from a groin injury to rapturous applause from the Irish supporters.
Kieran Low scored one of the more straight forward tries after Andrew Fenby was tackled inches from the line the Scotland International was on hand to finish the job.
The home side’s pressure continued and Lusitanos XV found themselves on the end of another drawing maul and it was Mr London Irish, Declan Danaher who dived over for the tenth try.
Tom Homer was everywhere and as the Portuguese side started to fall off tackles Homer took advantage as he scythed through for the Exiles 11th try.
The game opened up even more in the final 15 minutes and it was fitting that Guy Armitage was the one to score and create the final tries to cap off a superb personal performance by him. Tom Fowlie dived over for the 13th try on full time.
London Irish travel to Italy next weekend as they come up against I Caverlieri Prato.
Score sequence (London Irish first): 5-0, 5-3, 10-3, 17-3, 24-3, 31-3, 36-3, 43-3, 50-3, 55-3, 60-3, 67-3, 74-3, 79-3
Scorers: London Irish: Tries: Armitage (3, 77), Fenby (9, 15, 27, Penalty Try (35), Fowlie (38, 79), Sinclair (45), Evans (47), Low (51), Danaher (56), Homer (65); Conversions: Geraghty (3), Dorrian (4); Lusitanos XV: Penalties: Pedro Leal (7)
15. Alex Lewington (rep: Tom Homer, 50); 14.Tom Fowlie; 13. Guy Armitage; 12. Setaimata Sa (rep: -65); 11. Andrew Fenby; 10. Shane Geraghty (Captain) (rep: Myles Dorrian, 40); 9. Tomás O’Leary (rep: Ed Hoadley, 40); 1. Matt Parr (rep: Johnny Harris, 40); 2. Mike Mayhew (rep: Jimmy Stevens, 40); 3. Leo Halavatau (rep: Tom Smallbone, 40); 4. Bryn Evans; 5. Nic Rouse; 6. Declan Danaher; 7. Kieran Low; 8. Jebb Sinclair (rep: Blair Cowan, 57)
Replacements: 16. Jimmy Stevens; 17. Johnny Harris; 18. Tom Smallbone; 19. George Skivington; 20. Blair Cowan; 21. Tom Homer; 22. Myles Dorrian; 23. Ed Hoadley
15.Pedro Leal;14. Diogo Miranda;13. Pedro Bettencourt Avila;12. Luis Miguel Leal (rep: Rodrigo Figueiredo, 25) ;11. Gonçalo Foro; 10. Luis Salema; 9. Francisco Pinto de M agalhães ; 1. Jorge Segurado (rep: João Almeida, 42) ; 2. Francisco Tavares (rep: João Correia, 42) ; 3. Bruno Rocha (rep: Francisco Domingues, 45); 4. Fernando Almeida; 5. Rui D'Orey; 6. Luis Portela; 7. Vasco Fragoso Mendes (rep: Antonio Salgueiro, 62); 8. Vasco Uva (Captain)
Replacements: 16. João Correia;17. João Almeida;18. Francisco Domingues;19. Rafael Simoes; 20. Antonio Salgueiro; 21. Nuno Penha e Costa;22. Miguel Lucas; 23. Rodrigo Figueiredo
Referee: Claudio Blessano
Attendance: 4, 714