Planet Rugby

Irish and Sale draw in thriller

31st March 2013 16:08

Share:

sailosi tagicakibau london irish sale sharks

Charge: Sailosi Tagicakibau

A thrilling see-saw encounter saw London Irish and Sale Sharks draw 33-33 in Reading to ease their relegation fears.

Despite their lowly league positions, both sides arrived at the Madejski Stadium on Easter Sunday in good form and proved it handsomely, running in seven tries in a wild encounter.

Nick Macleod's 79th-minute ultimately settled the contest as Sale moved eight point clear of bottom side London Welsh with only three games remaining.

Irish came into the game knowing that a win would more or less ensure their safety from relegation, spurred on by a succession of impressive home victories against Saracens, Wasps and Worcester in recent weeks.

An early charge-down by Matt Garvey kept Sale pinned into their own 22 and the Exiles struck from the resulting lineout, returning wing Sailosi Tagicakibau scything through the midfield before Guy Armitage burrowed over from close range.

Sale responded with a penalty from Macleod after a bright burst upfield from Charlie Amesbury, but the Sale winger was left on his back as Irish tighthead prop Halani Aulika barged his way through for Irish's second try from 40 metres out, his ninth try of the season.

The visitors hit back with a surge upfield through Sam Tuitupou and prop Al Dickinson, Irish hooker David Paice committing a professional foul and being sent to the sin-bin as a result.

From the resulting lineout the Sharks powered over through highly-rated prop Henry Thomas, who snuck under the tackle of Bryn Evans to bring Sale back into the match.

Quick ball for Sale lead to the Sharks second try shortly after, an initial snipe from Dwayne Peel leaving Irish back-pedalling before Tuitupou caused confusion, creating the platform for the all-time leading Premiership try scorer Mark Cueto to step his way over the line and hand Sale a 14-15 lead.

Two penalties from Tom Homer has Irish back in front, before the full-back produced a colossal handling error to hand Sale possession in the Irish 22. Desperate defence from the hosts left space out wide for lock Kearnan Myall to gallop over for the visitors, Sale heading into the break leading 20-22.

Macleod opening the scoring in the second-half with a long-range penalty to stretch Sale's lead, before the rampant Sharks sealed the try bonus point, Tagicakibau stripped of possession by Amesbury who cantered down the right wing - Sale then switching the ball left for James Gaskell to cross in the left corner.

Irish twice threatened the Sale line thanks to breaks from Allinson and Marland Yarde, but both times the Sharks recovered to prevent the score and maintain their ten-point lead.

The Exiles however did find their way to the line minutes later, Max Lahiff burrowing over for Irish's third try after confirmation from the TMO.

Another long-range Homer penalty then drew Irish level at 30-30 for a scoreline more common in Super Rugby than the Premiership heading into the final quarter.

A sustained period of Sale pressure in the Irish 22 was eventually halted by a penalty at the breakdown and Irish countered - Armitage speeding his way upfield but unable to create the space for Yarde to finish off the move.

Homer's fourth penalty sent Irish into a 33-30 lead with 15 minutes remaining as Sale failed to capitalise on periods of sustained pressure.

Macleod had a crucial penalty opportunity to tie the game with only four minutes remaining but Sale continued to apply the pressure, a scrum in midfield just outside the Irish 22 handing them an excellent platform.

Another penalty chance came Sale's way with just a minute left on the clock which Macleod stroked over for to end the game at 33-33.

The scorers:

For London Irish:
Tries: Armitage, Aulika, Lahiff
Cons: Homer 3
Pens: Homer 4
Yellow Card: Paice

For Sale Sharks:
Tries: Thomas, Cueto, Myall, Gaskell
Cons: Macleod 2
Pens: Macleod 3

London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Guy Armitage, 12 Shane Geraghty, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Pat Phibbs, 8 Chris Hala'ufia, 7 Ofisa Treviranus, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Bryn Evans, 4 George Skivington (c), 3 Halani Aulika, 2 David Paice, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Jon Fisher, 20 Jebb Sinclair, 21 Topsy Ojo, 22 Jonathan Joseph, 23 Darren Allinson.

Sale Sharks: 15 Cameron Shepherd, 14 Charlie Amesbury, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 James Gaskell, 7 David Seymour (c), 6 Daniel Braid, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Kearnan Myall, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Al Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Tony Buckley, 19 Tom Holmes, 20 Andy Powell, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Tom Brady.

Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant referees: Paul Burton and Andrew Watson
TMO: Graham Hughes

by Ben Coles
@bencoles_

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs HarlequinsBath vs Harlequins Preview
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs UlsterMunster vs Ulster Preview
Cardiff Blues vs TrevisoCardiff Blues vs Treviso Preview
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs Dragons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821