London Irish opened up their Greene King IPA Championship account with a 20-7 victory over Ealing Trailfinders at their west London home.
Tries from Dave Porecki and Ben Meehan coupled with the expert boot of Stephen Myler secured the spoils for Declan Kidney’s men as all eyes turn to next Saturday’s home game against Nottingham Rugby.
The opening exchanges proved understandably nervy, both sides surrendering possession in key areas of the pitch. However, it was the hosts who registered the first score through James Cordy-Redden, the winger dotting down under the posts on the back of excellent support play. Laurence May added the extras to put Ealing 7-0 up.
Irish came back fighting, and three minutes later Ollie Hoskins underlined his explosive power with ball in hand when he surged into Ealing’s 22 only for the ball to go loose in the collision. The Exiles continued to probe Ealing’s defensive line, and two minutes from the interval the visitors got their reward in the shape of Porecki. The Australian prop slid over in the corner following an impressive rolling maul, which got Irish within a whisker of the try line. Myler, who was impeccable with the boot all evening, slotted home from the touchline to level the score going into the break.
Irish seemed to come out for the second period with more urgency and penetration, the pack putting significant pressure on Trailfinders. Myler turned that pressure into points with a superb penalty 10 metres in field, wide right to edge Irish 10-7 ahead.
Kidney’s men continued to work through the phases with more accuracy than the first half, again winning a penalty just short of the hour mark, which Myler duly obliged with to extend his side’s advantage to 13-7.
Reaction - Maddison, Meehan and Campbell
With a six point lead intact, Irish turned the screw on their west London counterparts and on 62 minutes man-of-the-match Meehan showed his intelligence with a quick tap penalty, before sprinting clear for the score. Again, Myler’s radar boot made it 20-7.
Fantastic London Irish supporters - Declan Kidney
Irish stood firm to some heavy Ealing pressure in the latter stages of the contest, Canadian international Ciaran Hearn coming to the rescue for Irish with a try-saving tackle. It was great to see the utility back in action again after a lengthy injury lay-off. Irish saw out the remainder of the game in professional fashion to earn a 20-7 victory much to the delight of the travelling army of Exiles supporters, who saluted their men at full-time.
Tries: Cordy-Redden (11)
Cons: May (12)
Tries: Porecki (38), Meehan (62)
Cons: Myler (39), (63)
Pens: Myler (45), (58)
Ealing Trailfinders: Johnston, Stegmann, Armitage, Howard, Cordy-Redden, May, James-Carter, O’Connell, Walker, Tampin, Onojaife, Denton, Reid, Durutalo, Smid. REPS: Cornish, Beesley, Millar-Mills, West, Stedman, Burns, Olver
London Irish: Tonks, Ojo (Hearn, 65), Stephenson, Campbell, McLean, Myler, Meehan (McKibbin, 67), Reid (Elrington, 59), Porecki (Fainga’a, 59), Hoskins (Cilliers, 28), Maddison, Paulo, McNally (Schatz, 67), Ioane (Cowan, 67), Rogerson