Barnes, back to near full strength, make amends for an under-par performance -
away at London Irish in the autumn
London Irish dominated possession for the first quarter but had to work hard for a 6 point lead. Right after that Barnes’ backs created a platform for a very special try from fly-half O’Toole. The visitors soon regained the lead but towards the end of the first half Barnes’ pressure led to opposition indiscipline that resulted in two tries and a 12 point lead for Barnes at halftime. There was one try for each team in a fairly even second half
The visitors kicked off with advantage of some wind to the 22; Barnes were forced into touch 26 metres out. The Wild Geese started a strong drive from the line-out that the earlier loose defence forced down 12 metres out. The former recycled twice before being turned over; Barnes soon kicked ahead, not to touch. This was followed by the first penalty for London Irish a metre into the opposition half. Their kick gained them 13 metres and after the line-out their drive was held. They released to centre and soon had a kick charged down. They regained before being forced into touch 2 metres inside their half. Barnes went wide from their line-out then were turned over after recycling 3 times close. The opposition made ground the sent a very good kick to touch after one recycle. From the next line-out 14 metres out Barnes cleared to touch 7 metres ahead. Again Irish set to drive from their line-out then soon a ball carrier broke off. The ball was recycled 3 times before they were turned over; it was cleared to touch 30 metres out. Just as previously there was an early break-off an attempted drive. Two wide recycles got them close to the line then after one tight recycle they were turned over. Barnes cleared to touch 30 metres out. Similar action as before, this time with 9 phases, resulted in a penalty for the visitors 27 metres out in centre field after 7 minutes. Fly-half Hodgkinson kicked the points.
Irish soon kicked back the restart long and Barnes cleared to touch 20 metres inside their half. From their line-out the visitors advanced well with just a couple of phases to get another penalty just outside the 22 near touch. They kicked for a 5 metre line-out; their drive was held then after recycling close 3 times, while being forced backwards, they chipped through towards the line. Barnes just got the ball to touch down for a 22 drop-out, but the Ref. made a mistake (acknowledged by one of assistants with a clear view) and gave the attack a 5 metre scrum. The decision stood; Barnes' pack forced an error to get their own put-in 8 metres out. From an under-pressure scrum they launched an up-and-under; the Wild Geese dealt with this and after 2 recycles their outside centre went past his Barnes' equivalent. The defence forced an error to get the next scrum at their 22. A good shove took this against the head; Irish advanced with 2 phases to get a penalty 14 metres out not far from centre field after 18 minutes. Three more points from Hodgkinson.
The visitors soon kicked back the restart; Barnes' wing Martey ran back well; the ball was recycled 3 times then scrumhalf Jacklin broke blind and made ground. After 6 more close phases fly-half O'Toole deceived a couple of defenders to sneak through to the posts 3 minutes after the opposition penalty. He then kicked for the lead.
London Irish regained their high restart. They kept the ball for 5 phases to get a penalty 29 metres out in centre field. This after another 3 minutes and Hodgkinson retook the lead.
The visitors dealt with the restart and kept the ball for 4 phases before kicking long. Barnes' wing Carlisle (who played for London Irish against Barnes 25 months previously) set off and together with no. 8 Crossland whom he fed made very good yards. Barnes were forced into touch 28 metres from the visitors' line. The line-out was thrown not-straight; but Irish then stole the opposition line-out. They recycled 4 times before kicking for territory; Martey ran the ball back and regained his chip over to make more ground. Barnes recycled 5 times to get a penalty 16 metres out and kicked to touch 5 metres out. Their pack tried to drive; this broke up but they got a penalty 5 metres out. Another line-out resulted in another penalty 2 metres out and a man advantage for 10 minutes. A third time Barnes tried for a drive from a 5 metre line-out; the defence was very good and they got a scrum 7 metres out. After it, 4 kicks followed then Barnes kept the ball for a couple of phases before they were penalised at their 10 metre line. Irish ran the ball into the 22 before they were turned over. A regained up-and-under was sent wide to get Barnes a penalty 15 metres into their opponents' half and the kick took them to 18 metres out. They kept the ball in from the line-out to get a penalty and another opponent off the field. They ran the penalty wide sending Carlisle to the far corner at 36 minutes. An excellent conversion from the fly-half followed.
Barnes attacked with the restart ball before an error gave the visitors possession just inside their 22. Barnes then dealt with an up-and-under and recycled 3 times to get a penalty 16 metres out. Again they ran the ball to send captain Collins over not far from the posts. O'Toole made the lead 12 points before the halftime whistle.
The visitors kicked back the second half restart. Barnes ran the ball for 7 phases before being penalised at the opposition 22. The kick took Irish to halfway and from their line-out they put together a very good series of 11 phases to get a penalty 27 metres out. They kicked for a line-out 12 metres out then threw that not-straight. Barnes used an up-and-under after theirs. The Geese dealt with this and put together another excellent set of again 11 mostly close phases before letting the ball out. Fullback Killeen in the line ran wide before giving an inside pass to wing Owen to touch down easily after 6 minutes. Hodgkinson reduced the lead to 5 points.
Irish cleared the restart to 5 metres from halfway; from their line-out Barnes went wide and chipped to the line after recycling twice. The visitors were forced to take the ball back over their line and touch down. From their 5 metre scrum Barnes recycled close 5 times before being turned over. Irish soon kicked for territory but not to touch. Barnes ran the ball back with 13 phases with one breakthrough before losing possession to good defence. The visitors got a scrum put-in 9 metres out and cleared to touch 32 metres out. From their line-out Barnes went wide then recycled close 3 times before going wide again. Carlisle went past the defence before sending hooker Alteirac over near the corner at 15 minutes. The conversion missed.
London Irish regained their high restart then were awarded a penalty 12 metres into the opposition half. The kick took them to 15 metres out. Their drive was stopped before they recycled close 7 times before the defence forced an error to get a put-in 12 metres out. The visitors were penalised in the scrum and Barnes kicked for a line-out 10 metres from halfway. Irish dealt with the up-and-under and were soon awarded a penalty 15 metres inside their half. The kick gained them 24 metres then from their line-out they recycled 4 times, twice, wide, before kicking through to touch just inside their opponents' 22. They dealt with another up-and-under after the line-out then broke through after going wide then recycling twice. After one more close recycle 5 metres out the defence forced an error to get a scrum put-in. Again the visitors were penalised in the scrum and Barnes kicked for a line-out 29 metres out. This was thrown not-straight then Irish were penalised in the subsequent scrum. The next kick took Barnes to 9 metres into the other half. From the line-out they went wide to get a penalty for offside and kicked for another line-out just outside the visitors 22. Another one not-straight then from one for Irish they kept the ball and advance well with a break after 2 recycles before being forced into touch 9 metres from halfway. Barnes went wide and were penalised for not releasing; the kick took the visitors to their line-out 27 metres from their opponents' line. Just after that Barnes forced an error to get a scrum 28 metres out. They soon kicked long; Irish ran the ball back wide with 3 phases before dropping the ball. Again Barnes got a penalty in the scrum, this time at 15 metres inside their half. The kick gained them 24 metres and they went wide from their line-out. They chipped through the line then forced a defender into touch 7 metres out. From this line-out their pack set for a drive; when this was held a player broke off and the ball was recycled close once before the defence won a turnover. The visitors cleared to touch 5 metres from halfway. From the line-out Barnes released to centre to get a penalty for offside. Their forwards ran this to get another after 3 recycles but little advance then put the ball into touch for the final whistle.
Damp after earlier light rain; overcast, bright and later clearing with a little wind; the pitch soft-ish.