Planet Rugby

Lamb kicks Exiles to summit

24th October 2009 17:14

Share:

Ryan Lamb kick against Leicester

On-target: Ryan Lamb

London Irish moved temporarily top of the Guinness Premiership table with a penalty-dominated 18-12 win over Leicester at the Madejski Stadium.

Irish knew victory over the reigning champions would hoist them into top spot, if only for 24 hours.

That possibility, allied with the memory of their last clash, Leicester's 10-9 title-winning triumph in the Twickenham final in May, contributed to the sizeable 16,199 crowd.

And while no classic as a spectacle, the game was hard, fast and at times furious with Irish deserved winners over the 80 minutes.

England manager Martin Johnson came to watch six members of his Elite Player Squad on parade, and he saw Irish make the early running, pinning Leicester back to defend a fierce charge for the line by openside Steffon Armitage.

Johnson's spirits must have nosedived after only five minutes as veteran Leicester tighthead, Julian White, 36, limped out of the game after injuring his right ankle.

If fit, White is in the frame to face Australia at Twickenham on November 7, replacing Phil Vickery who has undergone neck surgery.

His replacement, Martin Castrogiovanni, conceded a penalty after 11 minutes when he popped up in a strong Irish scrum-drive, but Ryan Lamb's penalty was scuffed hopelessly and bobbled dead.

Irish paid for failing to turn early pressure into points when Leicester edged in front after 16 minutes with a penalty, scored by Jeremy Staunton.

But the Leicester scrum was struggling and it was Castrogiovanni at fault again on 19 minutes. This time Lamb made no mistake, arrowing his penalty kick bang on target to equalise.

Leicester launched their most sustained assault on the Irish line immediately, and Irish had to produce their most focused defence within their 22 for seven minutes before Lucas Amorosino lost possession under pressure.

Irish charged back upfield, Armitage was pulled back off the ball by Jordan Crane, and while the Irish flanker went down theatrically, referee Wayne Barnes awarded the penalty and Lamb rifled them ahead on the half-hour.

Irish wing Sailosi Tagicakibau forced his way over the goal line left of the posts after 34 minutes, but the score was disallowed because Lamb's long pass was deemed to have gone forward.

Leicester were under the cosh approaching half time as Irish ran a penalty deep into the danger zone. The ball was killed on the ground by Crane, and Lamb increased the lead to 9-3 with his third goal.

Staunton's second penalty, two minutes into the second half, gave his team a flying return to the action, but Leicester wasted the opportunity to establish a foothold, conceding another penalty two minutes later and Lamb did the honours.

Staunton turned saviour in the 50th minute, scrambling the ball into touch on the left as Peter Hewat threatened to score a try in pursuit of his own hack-on from a charge-down. And five minutes later, Staunton's third goal punished Irish prop Paulica Ion for straying offside.

The battle for the England openside jersey ensured that Armitage v Moody remained a ferocious contest, until Moody found himself in the sin-bin in the 67th minute for a double offence - breaking off a scrum too soon then tugging back Paul Hodgson.

Lamb again struck gold with his penalty, and his excellent passing-game proved the biggest threat to the champions, and more than once a poor final ball from his team-mates was all that stood between Irish and a try.

But it was Leicester who scored the next points, replacement scrum-half Ben Youngs kicking a 71st-minute penalty in place of the hobbling Staunton.

Irish were not to be denied, and up stepped the ice-cool Lamb to score his sixth goal six minutes from time.

The scorers:

For London Irish:
Pen: Lamb 6

For Leicester:
Pen: Staunton 4

London Irish: 15 Peter Hewat, 14 Tom Homer, 13 Seilala Mapusua, 12 Elvis Seveali'i, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Paul Hodgson, 8 Chris Hala'Ufia, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 George Stowers, 5 Bob Casey (capt), 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Danie Coetzee, 1 Clarke Dermody.
Replacements: 16 David Paice, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Faan Rautenbach, 19 Andy Perry, 20 Kieran Roche, 21 Chris Malone, 22 Peter Richards, 23 Alfredo Lalanne.

Leicester: 15 Scott Hamilton, 14 Johne Murphy, 13 Dan Hipkiss, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Lucas Amorosino, 10 Jeremy Staunton, 9 James Grindal, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Lewis Moody, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Richard Blaze, 4 Louis Deacon (c), 3 Julian White, 2 George Chuter, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Brett Deacon, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Andy Forsyth.

Referee: Wayne Barnes

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