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Shane Geraghty and Ofisa Treviranus crossed for second half tries and 19 points from the boot of Tom Homer saw the Exiles claim a valuable 29-16 win.
George Skivington and Matt Garvey were outstanding in defence and caused Saracens into uncharacteristic mistakes. Similarly Shane Geraghty and Topsy Ojo were leading the defensive line well, allowing Saracens very little, if no time on the ball.
The first half was a very even affair. Charlie Hodgson and Tom Homer both kicked three penalty goals each to make it 9-9 at the break.
The Exiles came closest to scoring in a first half where defence was very much on top. George Skivington pressured Charlie Hodgson in defence to force the fly half to fumble the ball forward. The Irish second rower hacked the ball within a couple of metres of the Saracens try line. Unfortunately Pat Phibbs failed to re-gather and the ball was knocked on.
The sides when into the sheds all square at 9-9 at half time.
Irish started the second stanza in powerful fashion with big Chris Hala’ufia catching the ball from the re-start and setting off on a barn storming run before offloading to Marland Yarde who sprinted the clear. The winger cleverly nudged the ball down the touchline and it eventually rolled into touch.
Irish pressured Saracens once more and forced another penalty opportunity for Tom Homer. The full back made no mistake to put Irish 12-9 ahead.
The first try of the match came on 53 minute and it was a former London Irish player with the assist. Nils Mordt threw a long wide pass that was well anticipated by Shane Geraghty who intercepted and ran in from 40 metres out. Homer converted to give Irish a 10 point lead moving into the final quarter.
Tom Homer kicked another penalty goal to edge Irish further in front before David Strettle crossed for an individual try for the visitors to bring them back into it.
Irish need a response and the team certainly rose to the challenge. The Exiles were exerting plenty of pressure on the visitors and forcing them into errors.
Irish claimed their second try with just over 10 minutes remaining. Topsy Ojo, who was everywhere all afternoon, made an outside break down the right hand touchline and passed the ball back inside to Ofisa Treviranus who marked his return with a try to confirm the Irish victory.
The Exiles head to the Rec next weekend to face Bath in another crucial Aviva Premiership match.
Score sequence (London Irish first): 0-3, 3-3, 3-6, 6-6, 9-6, 9-9, 12-9, 19-9, 22-9, 22-16, 29-16
Scorers: Saracens: Penalties: Hodgson (2, 8, 38); Tries: Strettle (66); Conversions: Hodgson; London Irish: Penalties: Homer (5, 15, 35, 44, 62); Tries: Geraghty (53), Treviranus (68); Conversions: Homer (2)
15. Tom Homer; 14. Topsy Ojo; 13. Guy Armitage; 12. Shane Geraghty; 11. Marland Yarde; 10. Ian Humphreys (rep: Steve Shingler, 72); 9. Pat Phibbs (rep: Jack Moates, 62); 1. Max Lahiff (rep: Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 69); 2. Scott Lawson (rep: Mike Mayhew, 62); 3. Halani Aulika (rep: Leo Halavatau, 71); 4. George Skivington; 5. Bryn Evans (Captain); 6. Matt Garvey (rep: Kieran Low, 75); 7. Jebb Sinclair (rep: Jamie Gibson, 57); 8. Chris Hala’ufia (rep: Ofisa Treviranus, 21 – 27, 55)
Replacements: 16. Mike Mayhew; 17. Jerry Yanuyanutawa; 18. Leo Halavatau; 19. Jamie Gibson; 20. Ofisa Treviranus; 21. Kieran Low; 22. Steven Shingler; 23. Jack Moates
15. Chris Wyles; 14. Joe Maddock (rep: James Short, 58); 13. Joel Tomkins; 12. Duncan Taylor (rep: Nils Mordt, 40); 11. David Strettle; 10. Charlie Hodgson; 9. Neil de Kock (rep: Richard Wigglesworth, 51); 1. Nick Auterac; 2. John Smit (rep: Schalk Brits, 47 rep: Jamie George, 73)); 3. Matt Stevens; 4. Steve Borthwick (Captain); 5. Alistair Hargreaves (rep: Mouritz Botha, 55); 6. George Kruis; 7. Nick Fenton-Wells (rep: Jackson Wray, 55) 8. Ernst Joubert
Replacements: 16. Schalk Brits; 17. Rhys Gill; 18. Petrus du Plessis; 19. Mouritz Botha; 20. Jackson Wray; 21. Richard Wigglesworth; 22. Nils Mordt; 23. James Short
Referee: Andrew Small
Attendance: 9, 245