Second best against a strong team
2 tries for each team; LI win by 2 penalties and 2 conversions.
London Irish' forwards secured the visitors' kick-off comfortably and kept ball tight for three phases until accidental offside gave Barnes the first scrum put-in 15 metres into the opposition half. From that no. 8 Mortimer made a good break into past Irish's back row and into the 22. After three recycles and a half-break, the Ref. awarded a penalty 18 metres out in centre field and fly-half Hupfield kicked at the points after 2 minutes. Irish were again penalised at the catch of the restart; the visitors immediately ran this then after three recycles kicked into the 22. Two more kicks followed giving the home team a defensive line-out just outside their 22. Their pack kept the ball in a maul to get their first penalty. Barnes stole the subsequent line-out and launched an up-and-under. Irish dealt with this and chipped through the line. The visitors ran the ball before being turned over then penalised just inside their half. The kick took the home team to their line-out 18 metres from the opposition try line. After two recycles the attacking side got another penalty and no. 10 Prescott levelled the scores at 11 minutes.
After the restart Irish were mostly kept in their own half until Barnes threw a line-out long and Irish no. 8 Starling made a good break with the ball and after two recycles the home team got a put-in 10 metres out. After the scrum the forwards kept the ball close before being turned over. The visitors cleared to touch just inside their 22. Irish set up a drive from the line-out and advanced strongly before hooker Bunn broke off to go over at the end of the first quarter. Prescott added. Irish kicked back the restart high; Barnes' backs ran the ball to get a penalty 11 metres into the opposition half in centre field and Hupfield made it 10 - 6, 3 minutes after the previous score. After the restart Barnes centre Hersey made a strong break and sent wing Adams away close to the corner where the defence was penalised. This within 2 minutes of the restart and Hupfield went back outside the 22 to improve the angle but his kick missed. The visitors kicked back the long 22 drop-out then Irish fullback Hodgkinson broke through to the opposition 22. After 2 recycles the ball was chipped over but the defence touched down for another 22 drop-out at the other end. Irish stayed in the opposition half for almost all of the next 10 minutes but the defence held until Irish regain a kick ahead near halfway and put together six phases to get a penalty 17 metres out in centre field at 32 minutes and Prescott kicked the points. Irish secured the restart and scrumhalf Eastham launched an up-and-under that caused trouble for Barnes. A bit more than two minutes after the previous penalty Prescott made it 16 - 6 with a more difficult kick. Irish were penalised at the catch of the restart but then they defended well before the halftime whistle.
Barnes secured the second half restart and soon kicked ahead; Irish ran the ball before the first put-in of the half for the visitors. Mortimer and Hersey made yards before the ball was kicked into touch deep into the opposition half. From the line-out Irish kept the ball tight then Eastham made a very good break close to the maul. Following that his team out together a very good sequence of phases to get a penalty 5 metres out near the corner before four minutes were up. They opted for a scrum and got a penalty at that and chose another. This time they were pushed back a couple of yards but they got another put-in. From that they broke blind and wing Bradshaw got over before 8 minutes and very good conversion from Prescott followed,
Irish secured the restart and quickly broke away to the other 22; more good recycling by them was well defended by the visitors. Irish kicked over the defence; Barnes kicked ahead then Prescott tried a drop-goal that went nowhere near. After the 22 drop-out Irish attacked strongly again but errors enabled the visitors to break out and start attacking for the second time in this half. Adams made a break then Irish had a kick charged down giving Barnes a scrum put-in 5 metres from the opposition try line. The ball was released to Hersey at inside centre then scrumhalf Reeves got over but the defence held him up. After the next scrum Irish forced a turnover and just cleared to touch. The ball was touched in-flight giving the defence the line-out. They advanced to another, still in their own half. Now Barnes but together a good set of phases, first being forced backwards then flanker Williams got them on the front foot again before a couple of offloads set Hersey and wing Riley attacking strongly to get a penalty 12 metres out in centre field. After injuries were dealt with Hupfield sent the ball wide to replacement flanker Johnson who went over at the corner after 15 minutes. The conversion was just wide. The visitors didn't secure the restart and Irish got loose ball and advanced into the 22 and recycled twice close. But Barnes got possession back after forcing an error and advanced out wide to get into the other half where the defence got the put-in. An error after the scrum gave Barnes the next line-out just inside their half. Soon after that the home team were penalised and the visitors kicked for a line-out 16 metres from the opposition try line. Their pack set for a drive and got another penalty 12 metres out that was kicked for a line-out 5 metres out and from that did drive over with Mortimer on the ball wide out at 23 minutes. The conversion was wide
The visitors cleared the restart to touch near their 10 metre line. They forced an error after the line-out and a couple of recycles. After the scrum three kicks followed leading to an Irish line-out near their 10 metre line. From that the home team's pack advanced strongly then put together a set of 5 phases including an offload and a switch of play to get a penalty 27 metres out near touch at 30 minutes and Prescott's kick for the points was good. Barnes had to defend for most of the rest of the game but did this well.
London Irish win was mainly due to their larger pack’s power. During the game their players needed the attention of the physio twice if not three times as often as Barnes.
Some wind, bright & dry with 70% cloud at the start on a perfect pitch.