Planet Rugby

Geraghty upstages Wilko at the Madejski

03rd March 2007 18:10

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London Irish v Newcastle 07

Go Low: Robbie Russell crawls through the Newcastle lines

London Irish fly-half Shane Geraghty upstaged England's Jonny Wilkinson with 23 points as Newcastle were thrashed 38-13 by the Exiles at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

The 20-year-old was included in Brian Ashton's new-look England training squad last month before dropping down after Wilkinson's return from injury.

Despite the return of England internationals Toby Flood, Mathew Tait and Wilkinson to the Falcons' backline, Geraghty and veteran Mike Catt masterminded a fourth domestic win on the spin for Irish, with the home side scoring 24 unanswered points in the first half at the Madejski Stadium.

Despite great early movement by the Falcons, Newcastle fell foul of an early Delon Armitage interception, the Irish flyer then winning a penalty which was easily converted by Geraghty.

Geraghty missed two kickable penalties soon after but atoned for his earlier errors before the break, picking out prop Tonga Lea'aetoa to crash over from close range.

The sin-binning of Falcons' prop Joe McDonnell saw the Irish run riot, Geraghty kicking to the corner and Robbie Russell touching down after a catch and drive from the Exiles pack.

The demoralised Newcastle defence was breached yet again just before the half hour mark as Seilala Mapusua scored with Geraghty adding his third conversion.

Minutes later three consecutive penalties for the Falcons were all sent to the corner by Wilkinson, but each time Newcastle's rolling maul failed to make any real ground.

Eventually the Falcons marked up some points as England's Toby Flood finished off a long period of Newcastle play. Shortly after, Wilkinson secured his first attempt of the afternoon, landing a precious penalty.

Within three minutes the visitors finally seemed to find another gear as they stretched the Irish defence, allowing substitute Ollie Phillips to reduce the deficit.

Despite some indecisiveness with the ball, Wilkinson managed to dissect the Irish defence 15 metres out late on, but with no support he was quickly turned over.

Six minutes from time Wilkinson was replaced and barely a minute later Geraghty broke through a mass of Newcastle players to hurl himself under the posts, converting what he had created.

And then Geraghty guaranteed he would steal the headlines, repeating the trick as he broke through from only 10 metres out for his sixth try of the season, his conversion sailing over.

The scorers:

For London Irish:

Tries: Lea'aetoa, Russell, Mapusua, Geraghty 2

Cons: Geraghty 5

Pens: Geraghty

For Newcastle Falcons:

Tries: Flood, Phillips

Con: Wilkinson

The teams:

London Irish: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Seilala Mapusua, 12 Mike Catt (c), 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Shane Geraghty 9 Paul Hodgson, 8 Phil Murphy, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Kieran Roche, 5 Bob Casey, 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Tonga Lea'aetoa, 2 Robbie Russell, 1 Neal Hatley.

Replacements: 16 Michael Collins, 17 David Paice, 18 James Hudson, 19 Juan Leguizamon, 20 Olivier Magne, 21 Ben Willis, 22 Barry Everitt.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Matthew Burke (c), 14 Tom May, 13 Mathew Tait, 12 Jamie Noon, 11 Toby Flood, 10 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 James Grindal, 8 Russell Winter, 7 Ben Woods, 6 Geoff Parling, 5 Jason Oakes, 4 Mark Sorenson, 3 Micky Ward, 2 Matt Thompson, 1 Joe McDonnell

Replacements: 16 Jon Golding, 17 Andy Long, 18 Andy Buist, 19 Brent Wilson, 20 Ollie Phillips, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Loki Crichton

Referee: Ashley Rowden

Touch judges: Andy Watson, Roger Baileff

Television match official: Laurie Bryant

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