Exiles salvage draw against Tigers

05th Nov 2011, 20:53

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Toby Flood: Tests the London Irish defence

Toby Flood: Tests the London Irish defence

London Irish came from behind to register a 24-all draw against Leicester Tigers in their Aviva Premiership clash at Welford Road.

London Irish came from behind to register a 24-all draw against Leicester Tigers in their Aviva Premiership clash at Welford Road.

A late Matt Garvey try and the fine goalkickicking by Tom Homer saved the Exiles and denied Leicester their first home win of the season.

The pressure from the Leicester pack was incessant in the first ten minutes. They even stole a heel against the head in the London Irish twenty-two but were unable to convert such dominance into points as Toby Flood missed a relatively simple penalty attempt.

With Irish conceding penalties left, right and centre though, Flood did give the Tigers the lead with three points from directly under the posts just before the quarter of an hour mark.

This seemed to spark London Irish into life as they upped the pace of their play and after a series of excellent offloads, Shontayne Hape ghosted in untouched to give them a 7-3 lead.

Things got a whole lot tougher for Irish after 20 minutes though when their playmaker Dan Bowden was sinbinned for tackling a man without the ball.

Having turned down the easy option of three points, Leicester totally overpowered the Exiles in the scrum and Dave Pearson duly awarded a penalty try.

Despite their overwhelming supremacy in the set piece and huge possession advantage, Leicester could not add any further points until Flood slotted over another easy penalty right on the stroke of half-time to make the score 13-7.

London Irish did steady the ship somewhat in the early stages of the second half but they were unable to keep their penalty count down and Flood added a further two penalties.

The Tigers then looked to have sealed the victory in the 62nd minute when Tom Croft stretched for the line and after the ball was dislodged, Horacio Agulla regathered and put the ball down to score.

The Exiles responded immediately though through replacement winger Adam Thompstone and a penalty from Tom Homer after 70 minutes put them within seven points.

With the tension palpable amongst the Welford Road crowd, London Irish finally mounted some sustained pressure and territory.

Under duress, Jeremy Staunton's clearing kick was charged down in his own in-goal area and Matt Garvey touched the ball down in the corner.

The nerveless Tom Homer converted the try from out wide to level the scores and set up a grandstand finish. Irish still had to withstand a late Leicester barrage, which culminated in a drop goal attempt from Flood slipping tantalisingly wide of the posts.

The scorers:

For Leicester :
Tries: Croft, penalty try
Con: Flood
Pens: Flood 4

For London Irish:
Tries: Hape, Thompstone, Garvey
Cons: Homer 3
Pen: Homer

Leicester : 15 Geordan Murphy (c), 14 Scott Hamilton, 13 Horacio Agulla, 12 Matt Smith, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 George Chuter, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Dan Cole, 19 George Skivington, 20 Ed Slater, 21 James Grindal, 22 Jeremy Staunton, 23 Niall Morris.

London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Steven Shingler, 12 Shontayne Hape, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Dan Bowden (c), 9 Ross Samson, 8 Jebb Sinclair, 7 Jamie Gibson, 6 Declan Danaher, 5 Bryn Evans, 4 James Sandford, 3 Paulica Ion, 2 David Paice, 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Replacements: 16 James Buckland, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 Faan Rautenbach, 19 Matt Garvey, 20 Richard Thorpe, 21 Adam Thompstone, 22 Adrian Jarvis, 23 Darren Allinson.

Referee: David Pearson