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
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins vs Leicester19:45
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs Sale15:00
Bath vs Worcester15:00
Wasps vs Gloucester15:15
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London Irish14:00
Newcastle vs Saracens15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , April 18
Leinster vs Benetton Treviso17:00
Glasgow vs Ulster19:35
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs Edinburgh14:30
Connacht vs Munster18:15
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets14:00
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys16:45
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs Montpellier20:45
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 18
Hurricanes vs Blues19:35
Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force19:40
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs vs Crusaders19:35
Waratahs vs Bulls19:00
Sharks vs Cheetahs15:00
Stormers vs Lions17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
Edinburgh 22 - 29 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
Ospreys 25 - 19 LeinsterOspreys vs Leinster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 23 - 11 CastresClermont Auvergne vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Highlanders 27 - 20 BullsHighlanders vs Bulls Report
Reds 20 - 23 BrumbiesReds vs Brumbies Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954