Rugby: Three cultures mingle harmoniously in London as Scottish host Irish


Irish push over for another try
Photo: Bevan Blair / ProstAmerika

Rugby: Three cultures mingle harmoniously in London as Scottish host Irish

London Scottish 17 : 54 London Irish

Match Gallery

English club rugby has changed a great deal in the era of professionalism. On Sunday, despite the presence of the Sky cameras, the atmosphere around the Richmond Athletic Ground felt as comfortable as the old days. That’s not a euphemism for obsolete, but for welcoming.

Fans of both sides, well heeled, well oiled and both, mixed comfortably as London Scottish hosted London Irish in an “Exiles Derby”.

The prize for the Second Division clubs is promotion to the top division although that level of professionalism and glitz seemed a way distant from the Richmond Athletic Ground with its one stand, scenic location and tree-lined scenery.

Fans drank happily, mingled socially and cheered vociferously, especially a large traveling contingent of away fans.

In some ways, this fixture was a pleasant advert for how club rugby in London always was before the advent of professionalism – at least off the pitch.

The visitors, although they have since moved out to play their home games in Reading, were well supported perhaps by many Londoners who rarely get the chance to see them play in the capital. Unlike the previous day, the sun shone down in West London and a large and noisy crowd backed both sides, with the large visiting contingent supporting London Irish have more to cheer about.

They opened with a well deserved try from Tom Parton which was a sign of things to come for an Irish side that came to Richmond with a 100& league record.

In a blistering first half, London Irish scored three more tries against a beleaguered home defence. In total, eight different players crossed the Scottish try line over 80 minutes in a remarkable display of forward power.

A thoroughly miffed Mac the Lion saw his side well beaten

The home side had no answers to the visitors’ forward power and the Irish kicking was as impressive as the forward domination.

Brendan Macken (10 minutes), US international Bryce Campbell (19), Luke McLean (28), Matt Rogerson (40), Ofisa Treviranus (54), Saia Fainga’a  (67) and Ollie Hoskins (80) all joined Parton on the try list with Stephen Myler making several incredible conversions from the touchline.

Scottish had a brief moment of parity when Mark Bright equalised at 7-0 with Rory Jennings converting.

But from thereon in, the white shirts with the green trim added 35 unanswered points with five converted tries, bar a 23rd minute penalty conceded by Irish almost deliberately to avoid a try being scored.

Although slightly one sided, the quality of the entertainment remained high and the conviviality of the atmosphere offered an opportunity to experience English, Scottish and Irish culture all in one place

The Exiles derby serves as a pleasant reminder that London has offered a home to immigrants from Scotland and Ireland for centuries, among hundreds of other nations across the planet. As an advert for second division rugby, it was also a great show.

If you visit London, don’t pass up the chance to take in a club rugby game. You will be made most welcome.

The nearest station to Scottish’s ground is Richmond and it is shared by Richmond Rugby Club. Other London based clubs are Saracens and Harlequins in the top division and Scottish, Richmond and Ealing Trailfinders in the Second.

There are plenty of other clubs to watch around the country and it is well worth the effort.

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Sides and scorers

London Scottish: Luca-Smith, Ingall ,Duncan, Mosses, Stevenson, Jennings, Hoadley, Broadley, Harding, Palframan, Hodge, Uanivi, Tyas, Wynne, Bright, Saunders, Litchfield, Cringle, Frost, Hart, Perry, Veratau 

Tries: Bright (7), Veratau (73)   
Cons: Jennings (8), (74) 
Pens: Jennings (23)  

Yellow card: Uanivi (54)  

London Irish: Parton (Mulchrone, 60), Loader, Macken, Campbell, McLean, Myler (McKibbin, 56), Meehan, Reid (Hobbs- Awoyemi, 51),  Fainga’a (Atkins, 73), Cilliers, (Hoskins, 51), McNally (Maddison, 60), De Chaves, Schatz, Cowan, Rogerson (Treviranus, 51)  

Tries: Parton (4), Macken (10), Campbell (19), McLean (28), Rogerson (40), Treviranus (54), Fainga’a  (67), Hoskins (80)  
Cons: Myler (5), (11), (19), (29), (40), (55), Meehan (80)

Yellow card: McKibbin (71)  


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