Match Report 

08 Feb 2014: London Irish v Saracens

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Match Report: 08 Feb 2014 London Irish v Saracens

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London Irish


Fixture Type: Aviva Premiership

Match Date: Sat 08 Feb 2014

Kick Off: 15:00

Venue: Allianz Park

Referee: Dean Richards

TV Match Official: Keith Lewis

Assistant Referee: Nigel Carrick

Assistant Referee: Andrew Watson

London Irish claimed a hard fought victory over Saracens this afternoon and became the first team to win at Allianz Park this season.

Brian Smith's side scored three first half tries, including two scores within the space of 60 seconds just before half time, on their way to their second away win in the Aviva Premiership.

Matt Parr, Alex Lewington and talismanic captain George Skivington crossed for tries in the opening 40 to see irish home.

The Exiles produced a superb first half display to go into the sheds at half time with a 22 - 8 lead over top of the table Saracens.

James O'Connor got his side off to a perfect start with a penalty goal from 50 metres after Irish were awarded a penalty at the scrum by referee Dean Richards. That was one of three penalties Irish were awarded in the first half, Saracens were awarded 12.

Irish with the winds at their backs then had to absorb plenty of pressure as the hosts mounted numerous attacks on the Irish line. After defending their line valiantly for 10 minutes with 14 men, they finally succumbed and Marcelo Bosch was on hand to put Saracens in the lead with a fine finish.

Irish struck back eight minutes later with their first try of the afternoon. Neat interplay between the Irish loose forwards was pivotal to the try. Skivington, Treviranus and Rouse, offloaded out of the tackle and Parr was the recipient to run in from 15 metres. O'Connor's conversion gave Irish a 10-5 lead.

With five minutes to go in the first half Charlie Hodgson cut the deficit to two points with his first penalty of the match. Irish responded with two tries in the space of 60 seconds which proved decisive in the eventual result.

Firstly, after great work in defence, Charlie Hodgson had his kick charged down and it fell fortuitously to the feet of Tomås O'Leary who passed to Alex Lewington who sprinted for the line to score the second Irish try.

Things got better for London Irish when from the next re-start the ball was fumbled backwards and fell to the feet of Lewington who hacked clear. Saracens were not willing to jump on the ball and after Lewington kicked through again, George Skivington won a foot race with his Saracens counterpart to score his side's third try. O'Connor's conversion made it 22-8 and put Irish in a great position.

The second half saw plenty of ambition from the Exiles, they did not sit back on their lead and relax and, instead opted to keep playing in search of a bonus point score.

They showed plenty of character and courage, as the hosts three the kitchen sink at them. They were rewarded when replacement hooker, Schalk Brits, barged his way over for his side's second try.

It was not enough and Irish held on to claim their second away win of the season.

London Irish travel to Adams Park next Saturday to take on Wasps in the Aviva Premiership.

Score sequence (London Irish first): 3-0, 3-5, 10-5, 10-8, 15-8, 22-8, 22-13,

Scorers: London Irish: Tries: Parr (23), Lewington (38), Skivington (39); Conversions: O'Connor (2); Penalties: O'Connor (1); Saracens: Tries: Bosch (15), Brits (76); Penalties: Hodgson (35)

London Irish

15. James O’Connor (rep: Tom Fowlie, 70); 14. Alex Lewington; 13. Fergus Mulchrone; 12. Eamonn Sheridan; 11. Andrew Fenby; 10. Shane Geraghty (rep: Ian humphreys, 77); 9. Tomás O’Leary (rep: Sean kennedy, 64); 1. Matt Parr (rep: John Yapp,40); 2. David Paice (rep: Jimmy Stevens, 63); 3. Jamie Hagan (rep: Leo Halavatau, 77); 4. George Skivington (Captain); 5. Nic Rouse (reo: Gerard Ellis, 76); 6. Kieran Low; 7. Blair Cowan; 8. Ofisa Treviranus (rep: Jebb Sinclair, 63)

Replacements: 16. Jimmy Stevens; 17. John Yapp; 18. Leo Halavatau; 19. Jebb Sinclair; 20. Gerard Ellis; 21. Tom Fowlie; 22. Ian Humphreys; 23. Sean Kennedy
15. Ben Ransom (rep: Joel Tomkins, 53); 14. Chris Ashton (rep: Jack Wilson, 65), 13. Marcelo Bosch, 12. Chris Wyles, 11. David Strettle; 10. Charlie Hodgson, 9. Neil de Kock (rep: Richard Wigglesworth, 53); 1. Richard Barrington (rep: Jared Saunders, 60), 2. Jamie George (rep: Schalk Brits, 54), 3. Matt Stevens (rep: James Johnston, 54), 4. Steve Borthwick (c), 5. Mouritz Botha (rep: George Kruis, 46), 6. Jackson Wray, 7. Jacques Burger, 8. Ernst Joubert

Replacements; 16. Schalk Brits, 17. Jared Saunders, 18. James Johnston, 19. George Kruis, 20. Matt Hankin, 21. Richard Wigglesworth, 22. Joel Tomkins, 23. Jack Wilson

Referee: Dean Richards

Attendance: 9,012