Planet Rugby

Gopperth sinks the Exiles

22nd November 2009 16:47

Share:

Jimmy Gopperth kick v Irish

Jimmy Gopperth: Deadly

Jimmy Gopperth's unflappable boot struck a serious blow to London Irish's chase of Saracens as Newcastle won 15-11 at the Madejski on Sunday.

Last season's finalists failed to produce anything like their recent form in a disjointed, error-strewn performance.

It was the first time in eight attempts the Falcons had beaten the Exiles and, despite failing to register a try, they go back to the north-east with a third straight league win under their belts.

Irish's Tongan number eight Chris Hala'ufia scored the only try of a poor match but that, and a bonus point, will be of little consolation to head coach Toby Booth.

A powerful Irish scrum gave Ryan Lamb an early penalty opportunity from the halfway line, but the kick was just out of his range. From similar distance, Peter Hewat's eighth minute attempt also fell short.

Jimmy Gopperth slotted a penalty in the 14th minute to give the Falcons the first score of the match and added another shortly afterwards when Irish went off their feet at a ruck on their own 22.

Irish committed a serious of uncharacteristic errors, symbolised by Lamb kicking the ball dead when aiming a penalty from hand for the corner.

Booth's side's discipline was also letting them down and Gopperth punished them to further extend the lead from the tee just before the half-hour mark. At last Irish gave their supporters something to cheer as they managed to break into the Falcons' 22 for the first time, but a chance went awry with a misguided Elvis Seveali'i pass.

Lamb got Irish on the board with a 40-metre penalty five minutes from the break but off-the-ball misdemeanours saw a penalty given to Irish rescinded in the Falcons' favour and Gopperth recorded a fourth successful kick to make it 12-3.

It could only get better in the second half for Irish and in the opening five minutes they exhibited more urgency and co-ordination than they had shown in the entire first period, Steffon Armitage going close with a typical surge.

Exiles full-back Jamie Lennard, a summer recruit from Doncaster, slotted a smart drop goal on 50 minutes and then Irish added vast experience to their malfunctioning back-line with the introduction of player/coach Mike Catt and much-travelled fly-half Chris Malone.

The change paid dividends, as fluent handling created good field position, from which the abrasive Hala'ufia launched himself over the line. Hewat inexplicably missed the conversion, so Irish trailed 11-12 heading into the final quarter.

Following a desultory hour, the game at last came to life with Newcastle going close when incisive running from Alex Tait and Gopperth took them to the brink of the line. However, the Falcons failed to capitalise on a clear overlap from a ruck under the Irish posts.

Then wing Charlie Amesbury's 50-metre solo run was only repelled by frantic Irish scrambling defence. It was the visitors who continued to offer the greater threat.

Gopperth's fifth penalty, following a high tackle, gave Newcastle a four-point advantage with five minutes left and they held out to cement their new-found position in the top half of the table.

The scorers:

For London Irish:
Try: Hala'ufia
Pen: Lamb
Drop goal: Lennard

For Newcastle:
Pens: Gopperth 5

London Irish: 15 Jamie Lennard, 14 Peter Hewat, 13 Elvis Seveali'i, 12 Charlie Gower, 11 John Rudd, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Peter Richards, 8 Richard Thorpe 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Kieran Roche, 5 Bob Casey (captain), 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Danie Coetzee, 1 Clarke Dermody.
Replacements: 16 David Paice, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Alex Corbisiero, 19 Andy Perry, 20 Jonathon Fisher, 21 Marcus Watson, 22 Chris Malone, 23 Mike Catt.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Danny Williams, 13 Rob Vickerman, 12 Tane Tu'ipulotu, 11 Charlie Amesbury, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Micky Young, 8 Adam Balding, 7 Will Welch, 6 Tim Swinson, 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 James Hudson, 3 Carl Hayman (captain), 2 Rob Vickers, 1 Jon Golding.
Replacements: 16 Alex Walker 17 Micky Ward, 18 Laurence Ovens, 19 Josh Afu, 20 Ed Williamson, 21 Hall Charlton, 22 Rob Miller, 23 Gcobani Bobo.

Referee: Martin Fox

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Scarlets vs LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Preview
Montpellier vs GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Preview
Northampton vs OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Preview
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Preview
Castres vs LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Preview
Wasps vs HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Preview
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92 Preview
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Leinster vs Edinburgh19:35
Glasgow vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Ospreys vs Connacht19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , October 25
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Ulster 13 - 23 ToulonUlster vs Toulon Report
Bath 19 - 21 ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Rovigo 18 - 33 Cardiff Blues
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
Bucuresti 9 - 13 Stade Francais
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Western Province 19 - 16 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 36 - 32 TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615