Planet Rugby

Gopperth sinks the Exiles

22nd November 2009 16:47

Share:

Jimmy Gopperth kick v Irish

Jimmy Gopperth: Deadly

Jimmy Gopperth's unflappable boot struck a serious blow to London Irish's chase of Saracens as Newcastle won 15-11 at the Madejski on Sunday.

Last season's finalists failed to produce anything like their recent form in a disjointed, error-strewn performance.

It was the first time in eight attempts the Falcons had beaten the Exiles and, despite failing to register a try, they go back to the north-east with a third straight league win under their belts.

Irish's Tongan number eight Chris Hala'ufia scored the only try of a poor match but that, and a bonus point, will be of little consolation to head coach Toby Booth.

A powerful Irish scrum gave Ryan Lamb an early penalty opportunity from the halfway line, but the kick was just out of his range. From similar distance, Peter Hewat's eighth minute attempt also fell short.

Jimmy Gopperth slotted a penalty in the 14th minute to give the Falcons the first score of the match and added another shortly afterwards when Irish went off their feet at a ruck on their own 22.

Irish committed a serious of uncharacteristic errors, symbolised by Lamb kicking the ball dead when aiming a penalty from hand for the corner.

Booth's side's discipline was also letting them down and Gopperth punished them to further extend the lead from the tee just before the half-hour mark. At last Irish gave their supporters something to cheer as they managed to break into the Falcons' 22 for the first time, but a chance went awry with a misguided Elvis Seveali'i pass.

Lamb got Irish on the board with a 40-metre penalty five minutes from the break but off-the-ball misdemeanours saw a penalty given to Irish rescinded in the Falcons' favour and Gopperth recorded a fourth successful kick to make it 12-3.

It could only get better in the second half for Irish and in the opening five minutes they exhibited more urgency and co-ordination than they had shown in the entire first period, Steffon Armitage going close with a typical surge.

Exiles full-back Jamie Lennard, a summer recruit from Doncaster, slotted a smart drop goal on 50 minutes and then Irish added vast experience to their malfunctioning back-line with the introduction of player/coach Mike Catt and much-travelled fly-half Chris Malone.

The change paid dividends, as fluent handling created good field position, from which the abrasive Hala'ufia launched himself over the line. Hewat inexplicably missed the conversion, so Irish trailed 11-12 heading into the final quarter.

Following a desultory hour, the game at last came to life with Newcastle going close when incisive running from Alex Tait and Gopperth took them to the brink of the line. However, the Falcons failed to capitalise on a clear overlap from a ruck under the Irish posts.

Then wing Charlie Amesbury's 50-metre solo run was only repelled by frantic Irish scrambling defence. It was the visitors who continued to offer the greater threat.

Gopperth's fifth penalty, following a high tackle, gave Newcastle a four-point advantage with five minutes left and they held out to cement their new-found position in the top half of the table.

The scorers:

For London Irish:
Try: Hala'ufia
Pen: Lamb
Drop goal: Lennard

For Newcastle:
Pens: Gopperth 5

London Irish: 15 Jamie Lennard, 14 Peter Hewat, 13 Elvis Seveali'i, 12 Charlie Gower, 11 John Rudd, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Peter Richards, 8 Richard Thorpe 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Kieran Roche, 5 Bob Casey (captain), 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Danie Coetzee, 1 Clarke Dermody.
Replacements: 16 David Paice, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Alex Corbisiero, 19 Andy Perry, 20 Jonathon Fisher, 21 Marcus Watson, 22 Chris Malone, 23 Mike Catt.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Danny Williams, 13 Rob Vickerman, 12 Tane Tu'ipulotu, 11 Charlie Amesbury, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Micky Young, 8 Adam Balding, 7 Will Welch, 6 Tim Swinson, 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 James Hudson, 3 Carl Hayman (captain), 2 Rob Vickers, 1 Jon Golding.
Replacements: 16 Alex Walker 17 Micky Ward, 18 Laurence Ovens, 19 Josh Afu, 20 Ed Williamson, 21 Hall Charlton, 22 Rob Miller, 23 Gcobani Bobo.

Referee: Martin Fox

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs SaleExeter vs Sale Preview
Bath vs WorcesterBath vs Worcester Preview
Wasps vs GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Preview
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Preview
Newcastle vs SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Preview
Connacht vs MunsterConnacht vs Munster Preview
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Preview
Newport Gwent D'gons vs OspreysNewport Gwent D
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs Harlequins20:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Saturday , April 19
Sharks vs CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Preview
Stormers vs LionsStormers vs Lions Preview
Friday , April 25
Blues vs Waratahs17:35
Brumbies vs Chiefs17:40
Sharks vs Highlanders19:10
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Report
Waratahs 19 - 12 BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
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
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers2064
4Bath1959
5Harlequins2058