London Irish made it two wins out of two this pre-season with victory over Nottingham Rugby at Hazelwood on Friday.
The Exiles ran in seven tries during a clinical display as they continue their preparation for the Greene King IPA Championship.
Throughout pre-season Director of Rugby Nick Kennedy has insisted he is after improvement and on this evidence he got his wish in the attacking stakes. Irish built on last week’s impressive 28-12 victory over Harlequins with a solid performance in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Hazelwood.
Nottingham, a side that will renew battles with the Exiles during the Championship campaign, were under the cosh within the first 10 minutes. Not only did they lose two players through injury, they went a try down when Tom Fowlie raced 30 metres to cross the whitewash in emphatic fashion. Greig Tonks, who switched to fly-half was unable to convert and Irish had an early 5-0 lead.
Kennedy’s men seized the initiative and extended their lead five minutes later with another breakaway try, Tikoirotuma was the architect with a perfectly timed pass.
Not deterred by the early set-back, Nottingham demonstrated their resilience with a well-worked try of their own courtesy of Shane Buckley. The marauding number-eight crashed through three would-be tacklers on his way to the line. Lawrence Raynor made no mistake with the conversion to close the gap to 10-7.
With the half hour mark approaching, Irish recorded their third try of the evening thanks to some outstanding handling in the back division. With Irish just five metres from the line, the ball was moved through hands at speed to Johnny Williams who exquisitely offloaded to Tommy Bell for the score. Tonks’ impressive touchline conversion put Irish in the ascendancy at 17-5. Williams, buoyant from his summer success with England Under-20s, turned from provider to scorer on 32 minutes as he scythed through a gap to dot down under the posts. Tonks’ simple conversion made it 24-7.
And on the stroke of half-time replacement scrum-half Darren Allinson added further gloss to the scoreline, scooping up the ball from the base of a ruck to touchdown from close range. The conversion from Tonks gave Irish a 31-7 lead at the break.
Irish picked up where they left off in the opening exchanges of the second period, a dominant rolling maul securing the hosts’ sixth try of the contest.
The Exiles’ did not have it all their own way in the second half however, with a much fiercer animal to contend with. Nottingham reduced the deficit to 36-14 by virtue of a converted Sam Yawayawa try and from there on in they were a more difficult proposition for Irish.
Irish had the last say however, and rubberstamped their victory with a converted score on 65 minutes. To their credit, the Green and Whites defended stoutly to keep Irish at bay for the remainder of the game with the Exiles 43-14 victors.
London Irish: 15 Tommy Bell, 14 Ross Neal, 13 Tom Fowlie, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Greig Tonks, 9 Scott Steele, 1 Tom Court, 2 Gerard Ellis, 3 Ollie Hoskins, 4 Jerry Sexton, 5 Sebastian De Chaves, 6 Senitiki Nayolo, 7 Max Northcote-Green, 8 Ofisa Treviranus (c)
Replacements: 16 David Paice, 17 Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, 18 Ben Franks, 19 Will Lloyd, 20 Jebb Sinclair, 21 Joe Trayfoot, 22 Blair Cowan, 23 Darren Allinson, 24 Luke Narraway, 25 Fergus Mulchrone, 26 Ciaran Hearn, 27 Brendan McKibbin, 28 Jacob Atkins, 29 Harry Elrington, 30 Jason Harris-Wright, 31 Richard Palframan, 32 Conor Gilsenan, 33 Conor Murphy
Nottingham Rugby: 15 Billy Robinson, 14 Sam Yawayawa, 13 Joe Cobden, 12 Oli Evans, 11 Josh Skelcey, 10 Lawrence Rayner, 9 Murray McConnell, 1 Kieran Davies, 2 TJ Harris, 3 Tom Heard, 4 Tom Holmes, 5 Toby Freeman, 6 Ben Morris (c), 7 Jordan Coghlan, 8 Shane Buckley
Replacements: 16 Ben Brownlie, 17 Tom West, 18 Harry Morley, 19 Joe Green, 20 Rob Langley, 21 Matt Everard, 22 Darryl Veenendaal, 23 Gearoid Lyons, 24 Calum Hall, 25 Jack Spittle, 26 David Williams, 27 Will Millett
London Irish take on Doncaster Knight in the first game of the season on Saturday 3rd September (kick-off 3pm). Click here to buy online or call 0118 968 1016