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Fixture Type: Aviva Premiership
Match Date: Sat 03 Sep 2011
Kick Off: 14:00
Referee: Greg Garner
TV Match Official: Trevor Fisher
Assistant Referee: Andrew Pearce
Assistant Referee: Robin Goodliffe
Irish made a shaky start to the encounter failing to claim the kick off, immediately putting themselves under pressure. Fly half Adrian Jarvis found a good touch line kick to relieve pressure momentarily. However from the resulting line out Irish were penalised giving Harlequins number 10 Nick Evans the opportunity to put his side in front which he duly accepted.
Irish hit straight back against their local rivals mounting the first attack of the game and were only five metres short of the line after a great run by winger Marland Yarde, before referee Greg Garner penalised Harlequins at the breakdown. Tom Homer converted the penalty opportunity from wide out to level the scores.
Harlequins scored the first try of the game after 16 minutes completely against the run of play. Centre George Lowe cut through the Exiles defence before passing to full back Mike Brown who was tackled well by Tom Homer only a metre out. Quins retained the ball well and eventually prop forward James Johnston crashed over for the first try. Nick Evans converted to give Harlequins a 10-3 lead.
Toby Booth’s side regained possession and dominated large parts of the second quarter of the game. Ill-discipline on Quins behalf saved Conor O’Shea’s team from conceding a try, however the continued pressure told as Quins gave away a further penalty and in doing so lost Joe Marler to the bin for 10 minutes. Tom Homer slotted an easy penalty from in front of the posts to cut Harlequins lead to just four points.
Whilst down to 14 men Harlequins kept the game tight and managed another penalty from New Zealand fly half Nick Evans to extend their lead to seven points. That is how it remained until half time.
The Exiles started the second half with a bang. Chris Hala’ufia set the tempo with a huge hit in the midfield. Nick Evans put in a chip kick that was collected by Dan Bowden who ran past the Quins defenders as if they were not there before drawing the fullback and passing to Topsy Ojo who crossed for his first try of the season. Tom Homer added the conversion to level the scores at 13 all.
Nick Evans added a penalty for Harlequins but as this game seemed to be going the Irish again came charging back. Topsy Ojo was the man who finished the try off after great initial work from Jonathan Joseph and Marland Yarde. Irish had men over on the far side and quick hands abled Ojo to cross for his second score of the day. The try gave the Exiles the lead for the first time in the game 18-16.
Evans slotted yet another Harlequins penalty before Ugo Monye crossed for his side’s second try of the game. Nick Evans added the conversion to give his side a 26 points to 18 advantage.
Tom Homer replied with another penalty to cut the Harlequins lead to just five points after another breakdown infringement, before Evans replied with another penalty of their own. O’shea’s team held an eight point lead going into the last 10 minutes.
London Irish full back Tom Homer added yet another penalty with two minutes to go to put Irish five points behind going into the final moments; however there just wasn’t enough time to go for the win.
Harlequins were victors by 29 points to 24. Toby Booth’s side head to the north-west on Friday night to take on Sale Sharks in their second Aviva Premiership game.
Score sequence: (London Irish first) 0-3, 3-3, 3-10, 6-10, 6-13, 13-13, 13-16, 18-16, 18-19, 18-26, 21-26, 21-29, 24-29
Scorers: London Irish: Penalties: Homer 4; Tries Ojo (2); Conversions: Homer; Harlequins: Tries: Johnston, Monye; Conversions: Evans 2: Penalties: Evans 5
London Irish Team
15. Tom Homer; 14. Topsy Ojo (rep: Adam Thompstone, 60); 13. Jonathan Joseph; 12. Daniel Bowden (Captain); 11. Marland Yarde; 10. Adrian Jarvis (rep: Steve Shingler, 60); 9. Paul Hodgson (rep: Darren Allinson, 60); 1. Max Lahiff (rep: Clarke Dermody, 45); 2. David Paice (rep: James Buckland, 60); 3. Faan Rautenbach (rep: Leo Halavatau, 40); 4. Nick Kennedy; 5. Matt Garvey; 6. Kieran Roche; 7. Richard Thorpe; 8. Chris Hala’ufia (rep: Alex Gray, 52)
Replacements: 16. James Buckland; 17. Clarke Dermody; 18. Leo Halavatau; 19. James Sandford; 20. Alex Gray; 21. Adam Thompstone; 22. Steve Shingler; 23. Darren Allinson
15. Mike Brown; 14. Ross Chisholm; 13. George Lowe; 12. Jordan Turner-Hall; 11. Ugo Monye; 10. Nick Evans; 9. Karl Dickson; 1. Joe Marler (sin bin 25-35); 2. Joe Gray (rep: Chris Brooker, 64); 3. James Johnston (rep: Tim Fairbrother, 48) ); 4. Ollie Kohn; 5. George Robson; 6. Chris Robshaw (Captain); 7. Will Skinner (rep: Mark Lambert 29-35, rep: Charlie Matthews, 58); 8. Tom Guest (rep: Chris York, 39)
Replacements: 16. Chris Brooker; 17. Mark Lambert; 18. Tim Fairbrother; 19. Charlie Matthews; 20. Chris York; 21. Richard Bolt; 22. Rory Clegg; 23. Sam Smith
Referee: Greg Garner