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Fixture Type: Aviva Premiership
Match Date: Sat 24 Sep 2011
Kick Off: 15:00
Venue: Madejski Stadium
Referee: David Rose
Assistant Referee: Andrew Pearce
Assistant Referee: Paul Dix
Two tries from Jonathan Joseph another from Topsy Ojo and a penalty try sealed the bonus point for London Irish. Tom Homer kicked ten from ten to earn himself the man of the match award.
Irish made a confident start to the game and were on the board inside the opening five minutes thanks to a 50 metre penalty from full back Tom Homer.
The visitors were level shortly after with another long range penalty, this time from New Zealander Jimmy Gopperth. The penalty came after good work at the tackle area from the Newcastle back row.
Gopperth kicked his second penalty on the 11 minute mark from the Exiles ten metre line. Irish were unfortunate to concede the penalty after it initially looked like they turned the ball over legitimately.
Topsy Ojo was on hand to score his third Premiership try of the season 15 minutes into the game. It came off first phase ball after the Exiles pack of forwards had created the perfect platform at the scrum. Allinson passed to Bowden who dropped off a short ball to Steve Shingler who broke the first tackle before offloading back to Bowden. Realising he didn’t have the legs to go all the way, Bowden threw a long spin pass to Topsy Ojo who stumbled then got back to his feet to score the first try of the game. Tom Homer added the conversion to put London Irish 10-6 ahead.
Homer soon added his second penalty of the game which was shortly followed by another penalty from Gopperth. Both penalties were given for infringements around the break down.
Homer and Gopperth again traded penalties leading up to the half hour mark. Irish at this stage led by 16 points to 12.
The Exiles full backs faultless kicking display extended the Exiles lead to seven points with another trademark monster penalty from half way. Irish at this point played a very territorial game, not allowing the Falcons to come back at them as they had previously. The half finished London Irish 19 Newcastle 12.
Newcastle started the second half much the better side, storming into Irish territory, piling plenty of pressure on the hosts. Referee David Rose penalised Irish four minutes in for being offside. Gopperth stepped up to cut the deficit to just four points.
Irish needed to settle quickly and stem the Newcastle tempo. The front three of Dermody, Paice and Lahiff mounted huge pressure on the Newcastle tight three to force another penalty opportunity for Homer. The full back kept his superb accuracy up to kick his fifth consecutive goal.
Irish established a clear dominance at scrum time and were awarded a further penalty that their pressure deserved. Homer slotted another to give the Exiles a 10 point advantage.
The second try of the game against the run of play and to the Exiles. The Falcons seemed to be making inroads into the hosts 22 until the Irish aggressive rush defence forced a mistake and allowed Jonathan Joseph to run in from 60 metres to score. Homer added the conversion to give London Irish breathing space at 32 -15.
The Irish pack again asserted their stamp on the match at the scrum and left referee Rose no option but to go underneath the posts after the Falcons front row could not withstand the pressure underneath their own posts. Homer kicked the easy conversion and suddenly the Exiles were in search of a bonus point.
Newcastle gave themselves a lifeline with 10 minutes left when replacement prop forward Darren Fearn bundled his way over under the posts. Jimmy Gopperth added the conversion to give his side a slim chance.
Those hopes were dashed when Jonathan Joseph scored his second try of the game, again from a long run in after pressured defence, to score the bonus point try and secure Toby Booth’s side a hard earned victory.
Jamie Helleur scored a Newcastle consolation try with a minute left to leave a final score of London Irish 46 Newcastle 29.
Anthony Watson who is still at school at St Georges, Weybridge, came on with ten minutes left to become the youngest ever player to play a Premiership game for London Irish. Congratulations Anthony!
London Irish head to Kingsholm next Saturday to face Gloucester.
Score sequence: (London Irish first) 3-0; 3-3; 3-6; 10-6; 13-6; 13-9; 16-9; 16-12; 19-12, 19-15; 22-15; 25-15, 32-15; 39-15, 39-22, 46-22, 46-29
Scorers: London Irish: Tries: Ojo (14), Joseph (61, 77), Penalty Try (67) Conversions: Homer 4; Penalties: Homer 6; Newcastle Falcons: Penalties: Gopperth 5; Tries: Fearn (71), Helleur (79); Conversions: Gopperth 2
London Irish team
15. Tom Homer; 14. Topsy Ojo (rep: Anthony Watson, 70); 13. Jonathan Joseph; 12. Steve Shingler (rep: Guy Armitage, 62); 11. Adam Thompstone; 10. Dan Bowden; 9. Darren Allinson (rep: Paul Hodgson, 62); 1. Clarke Dermody (Captain) (rep Mark George, 70); 2. David Paice (rep: James Buckland, 62); 3. Leo Halavatau (rep: Max Lahiff, 39); 4. Nick Kennedy; 5. Matt Garvey (rep: James Sandford, 21); 6. Bryn Evans (rep: Declan Danaher, 64); 7. Alex Gray; 8. Chris Hala’ufia
Newcastle Falcons team
15. Greg Goosen (rep: Tom Catterick, 34, sin-bin 65-77); 14. Alex Tait (rep: Rikki Sheriffe, 77) 13. Luke Eves; 12. Jamie Helleur; 11. Ryan Shortland; 10. Jimmy Gopperth; 9. Jordi Pasqualin (rep: Will Chudley, 55); 1. Grant Shiells (rep: Darren Fearn, 68); 2. Joe Graham (rep: Michael Mayhew, 61); 3. Ashley Wells (rep: James Hall, 61); 4. James Hudson (Captain) (sin-bin, 15-25) (rep: Glen Townson, 77); 5. Tim Swinson; 6. Richard Mayhew (rep: Redford Pennycook, 61); 7. Will Welch; 8. Ally Hogg
Referee: David Rose