(PaulHP): London Irish 30-3 Northampton Saints (26 Feb 2006)

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(PaulHP): London Irish 30-3 Northampton Saints (26 Feb 2006)

by PaulHP on Sun Feb 26, 2006 7:21 pm



London Irish 30-3 Northampton

London Irish moved into fourth place in the Guinness Premiership with a comprehensive win over Northampton.


The Exiles ran in two tries from Delon Armitage and David Paice as they claimed a 17-3 lead at the break.

Samoan flyer Sailosi Tagicakibau and Topsy Ojo added further tries in the second half and Mike Catt added a drop goal for the Irish.

Riki Flutey converted two tries and added a penalty, while Northampton only managed a Carlos Spencer penalty.

London Irish rugby director Brian Smith:
"That's two good teams we've played in successive weeks, and back-to-back bonus points is great. I'm very pleased with how we played.

"Bath were the in-form team when we played them and Northampton were coming off a high after demolishing Saracens.

"If we play the way we know we can we are going to be a threat."

Northampton director of rugby Paul Grayson:
"Jon Clarke dropping the ball at the end when a try was on summed it up.

"If that try had mattered I would have been worried about the decision but it didn't affect the outcome of the game.

"There was no lack of effort from the boys. They came off exhausted. We looked tired in the last 20 minutes."

London Irish: Horak; Armitage, Mordt, Catt, Tagicakibau; Flutey, Hodgson; Hatley, Paice, Rautembach; Casey, Kennedy; Roche, Dawson, Leguizamon.
Replacements: Collins, Flavin, Gustard, Murphy, Ojo, Willis, Pedro Tiesi.

Northampton: Kydd; Rudd, Clarke, Quinlan, Vilk; Spencer, Robinson; Smith, Richmond, Budgen; Damien Browne, Lord; Tupai, Harding, Daniel Browne.
Replacements: Hartley, Emms, Gerard, Fox, Noon, Howard, Pritchard.



Riki Flutey goes on the attack (Getty Images).

London Irish rugby director Brian Smith is beginning to eye the Guinness Premiership play-offs following Sunday's 30-3 victory at home to Northampton.

The Exiles now find themselves closing in on the top three, and Smith said: "If we are lucky enough to get into the top four you have more rugby to play at the end of the season (in the play-offs)."

Even so, the Aussie is taking nothing for granted yet.

"We are an emerging team and we will only be as good as next week," he warned.

"We are not going to get ahead of ourselves. There are six rounds to go. That's two good teams we have played against in successive weeks - and to get back-to-back bonus points is great."

The manner of the victories has pleased Smith too.

"I am very proud of the way we have played in the last two weeks," he said.

"Bath were the in-form team last week when we played them, and those guys at Northampton were coming off a high after a demolition of Saracens.

"We have got an ambitious squad and if we play the way we know we can we are going to be a threat."

Smith admitted Northampton had Irish on the rack at the start of the second half -but they managed to hold on and also scored a try while replacement wing Topsy Ojo was off the pitch for 10 minutes in the sin-bin.

The London Irish boss said: "Straight after half-time, we let them off the hook when we had them on their own line - and then we had to withstand a lot of pressure."

Defeat brought Northampton down to earth with a bump after their 58-17 thrashing of Saracens last weekend.

Head coach Paul Grayson said: "Clarke dropping the ball at the end when a try was on summed it up. If that try had mattered I would have been worried about the decision - but it didn't affect the outcome of the game.

"Last week, we made good decisions - but we hung on today.

"There was no lack of effort from the boys. They came off the field exhausted - we looked tired in the last 20 minutes."

http://www.sportinglife.com/rugbyunion/ ... uotes.html

London Irish 30 Northampton 3

Ojo's try earns a bonus point (Getty Images).

London Irish moved into the top four of the Guinness Premiership after an emphatic four-try victory over brave Northampton Saints, with Mike Catt starring at the Madejski Stadium.

Both sides had early chances before fly-half Riki Flutey bagged a penalty from 30 yards.

The penalty came following referee Wayne Barnes having to separate the two teams when a fight broke out after Northampton flanker Paul Tupai high-tackled home scrum-half Paul Hodgson.

And, just before the half-hour, wing Delon Armitage just got a hand down on a kick-and-chase from 40 metres to grab the try that, along with Flutey's conversion, put the Exiles into double figures.

Throughout the game, New Zealand fly-half star Carlos Spencer tried to break the Irish line and set his backs going and it was the All Black who put Northampton on the board when he boomed over a 40-metre penalty.

Northampton were mounting a couple of attacks down the right wing as John Rudd and full-back Robbie Kydd looked to outwit Irish winger Sailosi Tagicakibau.

One of those enterprising efforts, though, unexpectedly led to the Saints conceding a second try.

Rudd stormed into the Irish 22 and passed to scrum-half Mark Robinson only for the half-back to drop the ball. Centre Nils Mordt, though, grabbed the loose ball and began a counter-attack down the right.

He linked with Armitage who went galloping over the half-way, cutting back towards the centre of the pitch before sending a pass to Nick Kennedy, who slipped the ball to David Paice for the hooker to run as fast as his legs would carry him from 35 yards to just get the touchdown.

The Saints responded and came close through Tupai and Sam Harding, the persistent pressure leading to England Under-21 international wing Topsy Ojo getting a yellow card when referee Barnes just about had enough of the penalties the home team were giving away.

Despite having the numerical advantage for 10 minutes, Northampton could not find a way through the Irish defence.

When the hosts got inside the opposition 22 again, number eight Juan Leguizamon drove into a tackle and the ball came back on the Irish side. Catt cleverly went left where Paice was waiting to receive. The hooker then pushed the ball out to Tagicakibau for the winger to pounce for the try.

Catt also saw the ideal opportunity to push the boat out when he attempted a long-range drop goal and saw it go arrow straight through the posts.

There was only pride left for Northampton but a bonus point for scoring four tries for the Exiles. They thrust a few times in order to get the extra point but were frustrated until the last two minutes of the match.

That saw Kennedy win a clean line-out ball on the Northampton 10-yard line. It was swept to the middle for Catt to charge off right. Catt got to 15 yards out before giving it to replacement Gonzalo Tiesi who put Ojo in for the vital fourth touchdown.

http://www.sportinglife.com/rugbyunion/ ... tlead.html

Four-try Irish end Saints' unbeaten run

Saints suffered their first defeat of the year at the Madjeski Stadium in this afternoon's Guinness Premiership visit to London Irish. Two turnover tries in the first half proved crucial, and two more after the break meant that the final score flattered the hosts. Carlos Spencer scored Saints' only points with a first-half penalty


Guinness Premiership round 16

Madjeski Stadium

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Saints' finishing was as wayward this week as it had been clinical last, and though they wouldn't receive what some of their approach play and pressure deserved, the visitors contributed fully to an entertaining game.

It took 13 minutes for Riki Flutey to open the scoring with a penalty. But this followed opening exchanges in which both sides made their intentions plain. A tap and go 15-metres from his own line by Mark Robinson took Irish by surprise and the backline worked the ball deep into Irish territory. Neither this, nor a Carlos Spencer crosskick to Paul Tupai, seriously threatened the Irish line though.

The Exiles threatened themselves, and a late hit on Delon Armitage earned Robbie Kydd a stern talking-to. And Saints looked to be conceding a try as the home forwards drove for the line. But the first drive was repelled, and the second was stopped in its tracks by Matt Lord.

Tupai should have had a try when Saints next visited Irish's 22. Another quickly tapped Spencer penalty had Irish backpedalling. Tupai was spotted in the clear and received the long pass. But he chose to cut inside, was tackled, and though Saints won a lineout in the next play, the ball was overthrown and the Exiles cleared their lines.

With the wind swirling, neither side was kicking much for fear of allowing the other to counter-attack. And so it proved in the 24th minute. Spencer's high kick was met by three gold shirts, but the ball rebounded into Armitage's hands. He kicked into space, outstripped the defence and touched down. Flutey converted and Irish had a 10-point lead.

Spencer pulled three points back with a 40-metre penalty, but within four minutes Irish were further ahead, again Armitage doing the damage.

It could have been different when John Rudd was sent away down the right. His chip and chase put the defence under pressure, only for Robinson to knock on. With these two the only chasers in the vicinity, Armitage spied the chance for a counter-attack. And when he crossed half-way a second try looked a possibility. Armitage drew the defence, and Nick Kennedy popped the ball to David Paice to score. Flutey converted and defence had been turned to points in the most spectacular fashion.

Saints had another chance just before the break though when Jon Clarke went through a gaping hole 20 metres out three minutes before the break. But the defence scrambled and the teams went in with the score 17-3.

Saints needed a perfect start to the second half, but a knock-on five metres out put the visitors under tremendous pressure. But they managed to clear, and through Darren Fox were soon charging forward once more. Sam Harding was pulled down just short and his knock-on saw Irish clear.

Nevertheless, Saints were still in fantastic position, and with Topsy Ojo's sinbinning for deliberate offside, a man advantage. Two five-metre scrums were as close as Saints came, however, and just shy of the hour Irish scored the clinching try.

Sailosi Tagicakibau was the beneficiary of sweeping approach work by the Irish backs down their right, but it was hooker Paice who gave the killer pass to the Samoan in the left corner. Flutey missed the conversion, but with only a quarter of the match left, the 19-point deficit looked too big a hurdle for the visitors to overcome.

And so it proved. Mike Catt landed a drop-goal and the bonus point try would come, but these points sandwiched an opportunity that summed up Saints' day.

Clarke showed good acceleration to cut through the Irish defence, and with the line beckoning a consolation score looked a certainty. But Tagicakibau showed his defensive qualities, tackling the Saints centre as he dived for the line and forcing a knock-on.

Then with four minutes left, salt was rubbed into Saints' wounds. Tagicakibau and Phil Murphy attacked on the left, and the pressure forced a short clearance kick. Catt, by now pulling all the Exiles' strings, looked to capitalise and Gonzalo Tiesi gave Ojo the chance to make amends. He did - just - and though Flutey missed the conversion, Irish had the five points and Saints' unbeaten record in 2006 was gone.

London Irish - Horak; Armitage (Ojo 40mins), Mordt (Tiesi 60mins), Catt (capt), Tagicakibau; Flutey, Hodgson; Hatley (Collins 40mins), Paice (Flavin 73mins), Rautenbach (Hatley 69mins), Casey (Gustard 57mins), Kennedy, Roche, Dawson, Leguizamon (Murphy 67mins).

Northampton Saints - Kydd (Pritchard 60mins); Rudd, Clarke, Quinlan (Howard 67mins), Vilk; Spencer, Robinson; Smith (Emms 61mins), Richmond (Hartley 67mins), Budgen (Noon 67mins), Damien Browne, Lord (Gerard 67mins), Tupai, Harding, Daniel Browne (Fox 32mins).

London Irish - Tries: Armitage, Paice, Tagicakibau, Ojo; Cons: Flutey (2); Pen; Flutey; Drop-goal: Catt.

Northampton Saints - Pen: Spencer.

Yellow card:
Ojo (52mins)

http://www.northamptonsaints.co.uk/32_3 ... 4a4ffe57eb
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