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The Exiles came back from 12-3 down to run out 25-12 winners and in doing so did not allow the away side a single point for the last 60 minutes of the game.
Topsy Ojo made his first line break of the game after only a few minutes, continuing on from the great form he showed last week against the Exeter Chiefs. The away side were thrown onto the back foot and were penalised for being offside. Tom Homer kicked the first points of the game from in front of the posts on the five minute mark.
Wasps came straight back at the Exiles and scored a try through London Irish old boy Riki Flutey. Dom Waldouck put a nicely weighted grubber kick into the Exiles 22 which David Lemi kicked over the try line for Flutey to dive onto. Walder added the conversion to give Wasps a 7-3 lead.
London Wasps did have the better of the opening exchanges and were putting real pressure on Irish in defence and attack. They scored their second try of the game after 14 minutes, sucking in four Irish defenders allowing Rob Webber the space to run in for his side’s second try. This gave the away side a 12-3 lead.
The Exiles had some sustained pressure in the Wasps 22 shortly after the Webber try and remained in the contest when Tom Homer kicked his second penalty of the game to half the deficit.
Irish kept plugging away at the slender Wasps lead and were within three points on the 26 minute mark when Tom Homer kicked his third penalty of the game to cut the lead to 12-9.
The Exiles had definitely not been at their best for the first half hour, but stopped Wasps from getting any front foot ball limiting the away team’s options, after they had so many in the first 15 minutes.
Seilala Mapusua lead the way with his destructive defence, smashing Wasps prop Tim Payne back before the cavalry arrived to force a turnover. The Mapasua tackle gave the side a huge lift a paved the way for a determined team performance for the last 50 minutes.
Irish were level just after the 30 minute mark. Wasps were penalised for playing the ball on the ground and were punished by a fourth consecutive penalty from London Irish wing, Tom Homer.
London Irish really started to take charge of the game and went into the break with a 15-12 lead after yet another Homer penalty from just inside the Wasps half on the stroke of half time.
Homer began the second half with another penalty attempt, this time from just in front of his own 10 metre line that drifted just wide, it was his first miss of the game in what was otherwise a superb kicking display.
Homer’s penalty attempt was followed by the first line break of the half and it was Dan Bowden who picked a great line off Paul Hodgson to put Irish on the charge. Wasps were penalised for being offside and Homer kicked his sixth penalty of the game to extend the home side’s lead to 18-12.
London Irish looked a different side in the second half; they were causing Wasps a lot of problems in attack and were denying their local rivals any ball.
The first Exiles try eventually came after 54 minute with David Paice taking a short pass from Paul Hodgson at the base of the ruck to go storming through the defence to score his second try in two games on his come back from injury. Homer added the conversion to give Irish a 25-12 lead and a bit of breathing space.
The Exiles starved Wasps of possession and clinically took their chances as they came their way, largely thanks to the accurate kicking of Tom Homer.
Wasps did have chances in the last quarter of the game but the defence that had been breached twice in the first 15 minutes held firm and there was no way through for John Hart’s team.
The Exiles held out after some late Wasps pressure to prevail 25-12. The win pushes London Irish into outright fifth position and still in contention for a play-off position.
Next up for Toby Booth's men is a trip to the Reebok Stadium to face Sale Sharks.
Score Sequence: (London Irish first) 3-0, 3-7, 3-12, 6-12, 9-12, 12-12, 15-12, 18-12, 25-12
Scorers: London Irish: Penalties: Homer 6, Tries: Paice (54); Conversions: Homer; London Wasps: Tries: Flutey (10), Webber (15); Conversions: Walder
London Irish team
15. Delon Armitage; 14. Topsy Ojo; 13. Elvis Seveali’i (rep: Ryan Lamb, 50); 12. Seilala Mapusua; 11. Tom Homer; 10. Dan Bowden (rep: Adam Thompstone, 78); 9. Paul Hodgson (rep: Darren Allinson, 72); 1. Clarke Dermody (Capt) (rep: Alex Corbisiero, 50); 2. James Buckland (rep: David Paice, 45); 3. Faan Rautenbach (rep: Paulica Ion, 54); 4. Nick Kennedy; 5. Gary Johnson (sin bin, 79); 6. Jamie Gibson (rep: Richard Thorpe, 64); 7. Steffon Armitage; 8. George Stowers
London Wasps team
15. Mark Van Gisbergen; 14. Christian Wade; 13. Dom Wauldouck (rep: Josh Lewsey, 30); 12. Riki Flutey; 11. David Lemi; 10. Dave Walder; 9. Joe Simpson; 1. Tim Payne (rep: Ben Broster, 57); 2. Rob Webber (rep: Tom Lindsay, 62); 3. Zak Taulafo (rep: Charlie Beech, 57); 4. Simon Shaw (rep: Joe Launchbury, 57); 5. Marty Veale; 6. John Hart (Capt) (rep: Serge Betsen, 72); 7. Dan Ward-Smith; 8. Andy Powell
Referee: Chris White