London Irish make profit when a bad Penny shows up


+London Irish 31 : 22 Newcastle Falcons

Inspired by Argentinian international Agustin Creevy, London Irish took a massive step towards membership of the top group of the Gallagher Premiership.

They scored ten points during the sin binning of Tom Penny whose late tackle on his opposite number Tom Parton six minutes after half time was more idiocy than thuggery, but mild thuggery all the same.

Falcons’ fans would be justified in looking at the nine point loss and the ten points gained during his absence and drawing their own conclusions.

Yet such conclusions would fail to do justice to an Irish side that matched their opponents in most facets of the game before and after.

They took an early 14 point lease through a rollover try by Creevy and a flamboyant leap into the corner by James Stokes. With half an hour gone, the game did not look any closer than a soccer match here 24 hours earlier than finished 7-2.

Finally, the Falcons roared and Ben Stevenson’s forward try was well merited after a sustained period of Newcastle pressure. Joel Hodgson missed the conversion but added a penalty, to give his side a respectable 8-14 deficit.

They would have been favourites at that point but Penny’s faux-pas awarded Irish three easy points from a penalty before Curtis Roma went over with the try of the match after a superb kick and some beautiful interchange passing. The lead was 24-8.

It looked over but Falcons forward power began to bear on the tiring green shirts. Sam Stuart with a pushover try began the fight back before Gary Graham crashed over.

16 points had become two. But the game had one more twist in the tail. Samoan hooker Motu Matu’u put the game out of Newcastle’s reach at the other end to round off a very entertaining match.

That final try gave the home side a bonus point.

Irish dropped one place after managerless Harlequins shocked Wasps but it’s a very different eighth than the one they began the day with. They are just three points behind fourth placed Falcons and within touching distance of a playoff spot. A loss would have left them thirds bottom

Creevy and Australian debutant Rob Simmons were the standouts of a big display all round. Paddy Jackson’s kicking was flawless, adding 11 points and Declan Kidney’s side would seem to have little to fear.

Their next match is at home to bottom placed Gloucester. As Wasps in fifth host Northampton in seventh, a win would move them further up the table.


London Irish: Tries: Creevy (18), Stokes (29), Rona (52), Matu’u (78); Conversions: Jackson (19) (30) (53) (79); Penalties: Jackson (46)

Newcastle Falcons: Tries: Stevenson (36) Stuart (71) Graham (75); Conversions: Hodgson (72); Penalties: Hodgson (40)

London Irish: 15 Tom Parton, 14 James Stokes, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Billy Meakes (Terrence Hepetema 40), 11 Ben Loader, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Nick Phipps (Ben Meehan 62); 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke (Allan Dell 61), 2 Agustin Creevy (Motu Matu’u 61), 3 Sekope Kepu (Lovejoy Chawatama 37), 4 Steve Mafi (Adam Coleman 47), 5 Rob Simmons, 6 Matt Rogerson (capt) (Ben Donnell 73), 7 Seàn O’Brien (Blair Cowan 64), 8 Albert Tuisue.

Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Lovejoy Chawatama, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Ben Donnell, 21 Blair Cowan, 22 Ben Meehan, 23 Terrence Hepetema.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Penny, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Toby Flood (co-capt) (George Wacokecoke 56), 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Louis Schreuder (Sam Stuart 58); 1 Trevor Davison (Kyle Cooper 57), 2 George McGuigan, 3 Logovi’i Mulipola (Mark Tampin 57), 4 Greg Peterson (Kyle Cooper 65), 5 Marco Fuser (Will Montgomery 65), 6 Sean Robinson (co-capt), 7 Philip van der Walt, 8 Gary Graham.

Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Kyle Cooper, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Will Montgomery, 20 John Hardie, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Brett Connon, 23 George Wacokecoke.

Referee: Mr M Carley

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