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Fixture Type: Aviva Premiership
Match Date: Sun 03 Nov 2013
Kick Off: 14:00
Venue: Madejski Stadium
Referee: Andrew Small
TV Match Official: Ashley Rowden
Assistant Referee: Roger Baileff
Assistant Referee: Stuart Terheege
Both sides crossed for a try each but it was the four penalties kicked by Saints fly half Stephen Myler that was crucial in his sides victory. Irish ill-discipline at critical times cost them dearly.
The visitors dominated territory and possession in the opening quarter and went into a 6-3 lead thanks to two Stephen Myler penalty goals. Ian Humphreys had put the Exiles level with a long range penalty effort after the Saints were penalised at the break down.
Eventually the Saints pressure told and they scored a beautifully worked try on 24 minutes. Samu Manoa, who was a real handful all afternoon, carried the ball towards the Irish line. The ball was recycled quickly and Kahn Fotuali'i spun the ball out to Stephen Myler who fed George Pisi, who broke the first tackle and offloaded back inside to the supporting James Wilson who dotted down. Myler converted to give his side a 13-3 lead.
James O'Connor, the Exiles newest recruit, made a couple of scything runs to endear himself to the London Irish faithful. The Australian International's second run was in the lead up to another Irish penalty which Humphreys comfortably kicked over.
Myler kicked his third penalty before Irish scored their first try and it was well worth the wait. It was the best field position Brian Smith's side had, had in the match so far and they made the most of it. Ian Gough won the line out inside the Saints 22 and was rumbled on by his forward pack. The ball was released to the back line and with Humphreys, Ojo and O'Connor drawing their opposite men it left space for Sailosi Tagicakibau to bundle his way over in the corner to put Irish back in the match. At half time the visitors led 16-11.
The second half saw Irish dominate but they were unable to make the most of their territorial advantage and possession. Humphreys struck another penalty to reduce the arrears but a further Myler kick shortly after secured victory for Saints.
The Irish backs made far more line breaks than their opponents but were unable to finish them off. Fergus Mulchrone took a pass from Ian Humphreys and went galloping through the Saints defence but nothing came of it. Credit to Northampton who defended valiantly.
The final few moments were played at a frenetic pace. Irish needed to score a second try to force a result and, despite some late pressure, Northampton held on.
The Aviva premiership takes a two week break and next weekend sees London irish travel back up to the North East to meet Newcastle Falcons in the LV=Cup.
Score sequence (London Irish first): 0-3, 3-3, 3-6, 3-13, 6-13, 11-16, 14-16, 14-19
Scorers: Northampton Saints: Penalties: Myler (6, 13, 36, 69); Tries: Wilson (24); Conversions: Myler; London Irish: Penalties: Humphreys (10, 27, 63); Tries: Tagicakibau (38)
15. James O'Connor; 14. Topsy Ojo; 13. Fergus Mulchrone; 12. Eamonn Sheridan; 11. Sailosi Tagicakibau (rep: Alex lewington, 77); 10. Ian Humphreys; 9. Tomås O'Leary (Captain) (rep: Darren Allinson, 77); 1. John Yapp (rep: Matt Parr, 50); 2. David Paice; 3. Leo Halavatau (rep: Jamie Hagan, 50-79); 4. Ian Gough; 5. Bryn Evans; 6. Blair Cowan; 7. Ofisa Treviranus (rep: Declan Danaher, 77); 8. Chris Hala'ufia (rep: Kieran Low, 56)
Replacements: 16. Mike Mayhew; 17. Matt Parr; 18. Jamie Hagan; 19. Kieran Low; 20. Declan Danaher; 21. Alex Lewington; 22. Shane Geraghty; 23. Darren Allinson
15. James Wilson; 14. Ken Pisi; 13. George Pisi (rep: Dom Waldouck, 62); 12. Luther Burrell; 11. Tom Collins; 10. Stephen Myler; 9. Kahn Fotuali'i; 1. Alex Waller (rep: Etahn Waller, 71); 2. Mike Haywood (rep: Ross McMillan, 77); 3. Salesi Ma'afu (rep: Tom Mercey, 56); 4. Samu Manoa (rep: ben nutley, 60); 5. Christian Day; 6. Calum Clark; 7. Phil Dowson (Captain); Sam Dickinson (rep: GJ Van Velze, 28)
Replacements: 16. Ross McMillan; 17. Ethan Waller; 18. Tom Mercey; 19. GJ Van Velze; 20. Ben Nutley; 21. Ryan Glynn; 22. glenn Dickson; 23. Dom Waldouck
Referee: Andrew Small