Planet Rugby

Irish book date with Tigers

09th May 2009 19:31

Share:

London Irish booked their place alongside Leicester in next week's Guinness Premiership Final after defeating Harlequins 17-0 at Twickenham Stoop on Saturday.

The hosts must be kicking themselves after missing four first-half penalty attempts with the Exiles making them pay with tries from James Hudson and Mike Catt sealing victory.

But the predicted high-octane try-fest failed to materialise as two of the league's most entertaining sides spluttered over their lines in a bad-tempered London derby.

It took 42 minutes, six missed penalties and two changes of kicker before a lead was established, Delon Armitage finally booting Irish ahead.

Substitute second row James Hudson crossed to put the Exiles in the driving seat and, when Mike Catt added the second in a dominant final quarter, it was all over.

Irish finished third in the Premiership, one place behind Quins, but they possessed greater nous than their capital rivals, who saw four kickable first-half penalties go begging.

Two of them were missed by Nick Evans - the former All Black was passed fit to play after four weeks out with a thigh strain but was clearly not operating at full throttle.

Defeat concluded a disappointing season for Quins, who also saw their Heineken Cup adventure ended on the same turf by Leinster in the quarter-finals.

Irish march on, however, with a place in the Twickenham final looming next Saturday, when they will start as underdogs against a Leicester side who dispatched Bath earlier.

There were worrying scenes with only two minutes on the clock when Ugo Monye, selected for the Lions tour to South Africa, leapt to catch a high ball.

Landing awkwardly on his neck from a considerable height, he required treatment for several minutes before returning to his feet.

The eventful opening continued as Evans missed two routine kicks at goal

before Danny Care was the victim of a high tackle, sparking a mass brawl.

Referee Chris White declined to punish anyone but shortly after Quins won their third penalty and this time it was Mike Brown's turn to miss after replacing the wayward Evans as kicker.

The thunderous exchanges that marked the first quarter gave way to some exciting passages of play as Nick Easter and Steffon Armitage made eye-catching breaks.

Exiles openside Armitage was denied by a try-saving tackle and his brother Delon set up a chance for Sailosi Tagicakibau only for the Samoan winger to drop the ball over the line.

Tagicakibau was held up in the same corner as Irish continued to press but number eight Chris Hala'ufia was lucky to escape punishment for a high and late tackle on Brown.

The woeful kicking continued as Peter Hewat attempted to make Evans feel better by missing two simple penalties.

Irish's problems continued when a sly trip on Care as he took a quick penalty saw Tagicakibau sin-binned before Brown closed the half with a sixth missed penalty.

The duck was finally broken two minutes after the interval, Armitage hitting the target to send the Exiles 3-0 ahead.

And the lead increased when Quins' defence, stretched as Irish changed the point of attack, opened up for substitute Hudson to storm over, with Delon Armitage converting.

Evans and Care were replaced by Waisea Luveniyali and Andy Gomarsall but it was Quins' bulldozing centre Jordan Turner-Hall who was taking centre stage as he sought contact whenever possible.

Monye produced a try-saving tackle and the Exiles had a try disallowed for James Buckland, with the TMO ruling a knock-on.

But Irish would not be denied their second try, Catt intercepting a pass by Gomarsall to cross under the posts with Armitage converting.

The scorers:

For London Irish:

Tries: Hudson, Catt

Con: Armitage 2

Pen: Armitage

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Will Skinner (capt), 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 George Robson, 4 James Percival, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Tani Fuga, 1 Ceri Jones.

Replacements: 16 Gary Botha, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Jim Evans, 19 Tom Guest, 20 Andy Gomarsall, 21 Waisea Luveniyali, 22 De Wet Barry.

London Irish: 15 Peter Hewat, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Delon Armitage, 12 Seilala Mapusua, 11 Sailosi Tagickibau, 10 Mike Catt, 9 Paul Hodgson, 8 Chris Hala'Ufia. 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Declan Danaher, 5 Bob Casey (capt), 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Richard Skuse, 2 Danie Coetzee, 1 Clarke Dermody.

Replacements: 16 Alex Corbisiero, 17 James Buckland, 18 James Hudson, 19 Richard Thorpe, 20 Elvis Seveali'i, 21 Peter Richards, 22 Tom Homer.

Referee: Chris White

Touch judges: Roy Maybank, Paul Dix

Television match official: Graham Hughes

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , August 2
Waratahs vs Crusaders19:40
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , July 26
Crusaders 38 - 6 SharksCrusaders vs Sharks Report
Waratahs 26 - 8 BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Report
Saturday , July 19
Brumbies 32 - 30 ChiefsBrumbies vs Chiefs Report
Sharks 31 - 27 HighlandersSharks vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 12
Crusaders 34 - 8 HighlandersCrusaders vs Highlanders Report
Reds 3 - 34 WaratahsReds vs Waratahs Report
Lions 60 - 25 CheetahsLions vs Cheetahs Report
Stormers 10 - 34 SharksStormers vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 11
Blues 8 - 11 ChiefsBlues vs Chiefs Report
Brumbies 47 - 25 Western ForceBrumbies vs Western Force Report
Bulls 40 - 7 Melbourne RebelsBulls vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Sunday , July 6
Waratahs 44 - 16 HighlandersWaratahs vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 5
Crusaders 21 - 13 BluesCrusaders vs Blues Report
Western Force 30 - 20 RedsWestern Force vs Reds Report
Stormers 16 - 0 BullsStormers vs Bulls Report
Cheetahs 27 - 20 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 4
Chiefs 24 - 16 HurricanesChiefs vs Hurricanes Report
Lions 34 - 17 Melbourne RebelsLions vs Melbourne Rebels Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 28
South Africa 55 - 6 ScotlandSouth Africa vs Scotland Report
More International Match results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 16 - 9 CrusadersHurricanes vs Crusaders Report
Waratahs 39 - 8 BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Report
Western Force 14 - 40 BluesWestern Force vs Blues Report
Friday , June 27
Highlanders 29 - 25 ChiefsHighlanders vs Chiefs Report
Melbourne Rebels 20 - 36 RedsMelbourne Rebels vs Reds Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 21
Australia 39 - 13 FranceAustralia vs France Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00