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Match Reaction: London Irish 16 Saracens 26

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Alex Goode admitted that Saracens needed to step things up after they came from behind to beat London Irish in a historic Aviva Premiership Rugby match in New Jersey.

The champions triumphed 26-16, with Goode contributing 19 points in the Red Bull Arena, the first time the league had travelled to America.

It was Irish who led at half-time though, Alex Lewington’s try and eight points from Greig Tonks giving them a 13-7 lead.

But Saracens showed why they are champions and moved back to the top of the table thanks to four penalties from Goode in the second half, as well as a Nick Tompkins try to seal the win.

Goode said: “It was a really tough game and credit to Irish they came out in that first half and we weren’t at our best in certain areas.

“We had to fix it up and I thought second half we played really well. We showed a lot of grit to come back. I think it was a lack of intensity, a bit low in energy at times which allowed Irish to come at us in attack.

“I think that second half showed a lot more about what our defence is about. We went after them and in attack we went through the middle more.

“For me it’s just about playing rugby and there’s not a better club to come back to. I just love being with these boys and to come to New York and hopefully grow the game was great.”

Defeat keeps Irish rooted to the bottom of the table, the Exiles are eight points adrift of 11th-placed Newcastle with six rounds remaining, but head coach Coventry was staying positive.

"If you dwell on it for too long, we're going to have a crew of guys that are pretty mentally sick com ing to work every day worrying about what everyone's saying," he said.

"A positive mindset is the only way going forward I can see. It's a tough road to go when you come to work and you don't want to be there. We've got to find a reason to want to play the game.

"We've just got to be a little more ruthless on teams. Someone said to me out there maybe every game is a Cup tie or a Test match and we've been treating them like that.

"We're going to have to get a few things to go our way and we're going to have to a much better rugby team over the next six weeks to do what we need to do."

 
London Irish: Maitland; Lewington, Hearn, Williams (Mulchrone 72), Ojo; Tonks (Brophy-Clews 79), Steele (Allinson 70); Smallbone (Court 59), Cruse (Ellis 70), Aulika (Halavatau 59), Symons, Stooke (Lloyd 63), Narraway, Cowan (Trayfoot 59), McCusker.

Saracens: Goode; Ellery, Tompkins, Barritt, Wyles (Earle 79); Mordt (Ransom 63), Spencer (De Kock 45); Barrington (Lamositele 41), Saunders (Porecki 72), Figallo (Du Plessis 63), Smith, Hamilton (Hargreaves 45), Rhodes, Burger (Brown 45), Wray.
 
London Irish
Tries: Lewington
Conversions: Tonks
Penalties: Tonks 3
 
Saracens
Tries: Goode, Tompkins
Conversions: Spencer, Goode
Penalties: Goode 4
 
Referee: Luke Pearce
Attendance: 14,811

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