Tigers edge out Exiles

Date published: February 22 2015

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Leicester Tigers kept themselves in the play-off hunt after they beat London Irish 12-6 in wet weather conditions at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday.

This was no classic, as the game failed to see a try, and in truth it rarely looked like there would be one. 

Freddie Burns fired through two penalties and a drop-goal for Tigers, though Shane Geraghty did narrow the gap with penalties either side of the break for the London side. 

The only further points in the second-half came from the boot of Tigers' David Mele, who kicked a penalty through in a half void of any try scoring opportunities.

Burns wasted no time at all as he fired Leicester into a three point lead inside three minutes from a simple kick through the posts. He missed another chance soon after, but made up for that with a perfectly executed drop-goal as Tigers dominated the early stages. 

Irish did begin to pressure the Tigers backline after that poor opening, but conceded a third penalty of the afternoon, one which Burns fired through. 

But Irish did manage to stop the constant stream of penalties against, and when they were awarded one, Geraghty narrowed the gap to six points. 

The weather worsened as the half wore on, the rain ruining any momentum either side could put together. Irish were reduced to 14 men after Geoff Cross, returning to the side, was sent to the sin-bin for an infringement at a Tigers dominated scrum. 

Half-time was a welcome relief for Irish, and within a converted try of taking the lead, the half was set up nicely.

The hosts came out strongest in the first few minutes of the second half, but were held up by a strong Tigers defence who did well to repel three charges from Irish before winning a penalty to relieve the pressure. 

Twelve minutes into the half the boot of Irish kicker Geraghty saw Tigers' lead reduced to just three, though a strong drive from the visitors resulted in their fourth penalty of the afternoon, one that Mele this time kicked through after taking over kicking duties. 

Irish threw bodies forward in an attempt to turn around the scoreline, and got themselves just metres from the try line, only for referee Wayne Barnes to penalise an Irish man for holding on. That gave Leicester the chance to clear the ball down the field and force Irish back from their 22. 

Tigers then won a penalty from a scrum as they saw out the final stages. The game was by no means a classic, but Tigers were able to take advantage of the penalties Irish conceded and secure the points, though their worrying wait for a try will go on into a fourth game after this latest match without a Leicester man crossing the line. Irish remain second bottom of the Aviva Premiership, level on points but still a place behind Newcastle Falcons.

The scorers:

For London Irish:
Pen: Geraghty 2 

For Leicester:
Pen: Burns 2, Mélé
Drop: Burns

London Irish: 15 Andrew Fenby, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Tom Fowlie, 12 Eamonn Sheridan, 11 Alex Lewington, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Scott Steele, 8 Tom Guest, 7 Conor Gilsenan, 6 Ofisa Treviranus, 5 Jebb Sinclair, 4 George Skivington (c), 3 Geoff Cross, 2 David Paice, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Jimmy Stevens, 17 Matt Parr, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Nic Rouse, 20 Luke Narraway, 21 Darren Allinson, 22 Chris Noakes, 23 Eoin Griffin.

Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 George Catchpole, 12 Jack Roberts, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Jordan Crane (c), 7 Jamie Gibson, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Sebastian de Chaves, 3 Logovi'i Mulipola, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Laurence Pearce, 21 David Mélé, 22 Seremaia Bai, 23 Niall Morris.

Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix, Ashley Rowden
TMO: David Sainsbury

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