TOP BAR - Fixtures

Match Reaction: London Irish 23 Gloucester Rugby 18

London Irish boss Tom Coventry is convinced the Exiles’ battling 23-18 win over Gloucester in Reading can be the perfect catalyst for his side to enjoy a great run of form at the end of the Aviva Premiership Rugby season.

Irish cut the gap to 11th-placed Newcastle Falcons to just five points with five games remaining and are now firmly in contention to retain their status in the division.

Blair Cowan’s late try and the boot of Greig Tonks sealed a victory at the Madejski Stadium that could prove vital in the final reckoning for Coventry’s side.

Winless since February and having conceded 98 points in their previous three outings, the Exiles nonetheless entered the game with confidence after a good performance against table-toppers Saracens in New Jersey last weekend.

“There were some times when we had our backs to the wall,” Coventry said. “But they fought and they scratched and did what they needed to do to get to the finish line.

“Do I think we can stay up, absolutely – I believe in this side and I believe in our quality and spirit.

“Obviously it is just one game out of a number that we need to perform well in, but it’s a start, isn’t it?  

“Some of the finishing today meant that we lost the lead to go 10-all at half-time. Maybe if we’d have finished off a couple of the tries in the first spell it might’ve been a different result, it might’ve been a lot more comfortable in the second half.”

The Exiles scored in the first half as Halani Aulika muscled the ball over the line from a metre out following a jinking run from Topsy Ojo with ten minutes played.

Gloucester scored a try against the run of play, Lewis Ludlow bundling the ball over the line, with James Hook adding the conversion to make it level at the break.

The visitors took the lead for the first time in the contest on 56 minutes, when Henry Trinder snuck inside the touchline down the left, having done well to chase down Hook’s kick and keep himself in play, before Hook missed a difficult conversion.

Irish made the most of their numerical advantage late on after a Gloucester sin-binning, when Cowan touched down following a good maul from the Exiles, Tonks coolly converting to give the hosts the lead once more at 20-18.

And closing out the game was made even easier when Tonks scored a penalty under considerable pressure on 76 minutes to leave the visitors needing a try that they could not muster.

Gloucester’s director of rugby David Humphreys, meanwhile, was left visibly irritated by his players’ below-par showing, which dents their hopes of a top-six finish.

“We feel a huge sense of frustration, a huge sense of disappointment,” Humphreys said. “Today’s performance wasn’t acceptable.

“We know in any season that there’s going to be ups and downs. Last week was a bit of a down, but we fully expected to bounce back and produce the level of performance that we have in the previous five or six weeks.

“There was very little free-flowing, a lot of stop-start. It was a case of what we’ve built our performances in the big games on throughout the course of the season is a strong set-piece, a strong defence.

“Today, our set piece failed. Last week, we lacked a physical edge. Today, I don’t think it was necessarily a physical edge. It was just one of the key parts of the game wasn’t there.

“We can look at reasons, but for me it was pretty much around that indiscipline on set-pieces.”

London Irish: Maitland (Mulchrone 57), Lewington, Hearn, Williams, Ojo, Tonks, Steele (McKibbin 75), Court (Smallbone 42), Cruse (Paice 45), Aulika (Halavatau 55), Lloyd (Sexton 55), Symons, Narraway (c), Cowan, McCusker (Sinclair 54)
Replacements not used: Brophy Clews

Gloucester Rugby: Marshall, Sharples (Cook 43), Meakes, Twelvetrees (c), Trinder, Hook, Braley, Wood (Dawidiuk 28), Hibbard (Thomas 28), Afoa (Doran-Jones 63), Thrush (Savage 49), Galarza, Kalamafoni, Kvesi, Ludlow (Evans 63)
Replacements not used: Randall, Cook

London Irish
Tries: Aulika, Cowan
Conversions: Tonks 2
Penalties: Tonks 3

Gloucester Rugby
Tries: Ludlow, Trinder
Conversion: Hook
Penalties: Hook 2

Referee: Matt Carley
Attendance: 17,752

Latest News

London Irish name side for Ealing Trailfinders clash

London Irish have named a 30-man squad for this Friday’s pre-season clash with Ealing Trailfinders at Hazelwood (kick-off 7.30pm). The…

Gloucester Rugby announce line-ups for preseason friendly at Leinster

Gloucester Rugby will give game time to a number of their first team squad in Leinster on Friday evening as…

American rugby players and coaches to get once in a lifetime opportunity

Thirty American rugby players and coaches are being handed the chance of a lifetime to train in England with Premiership…

Stephen Myler: Northampton Saints ready to fight for the title

Stephen Myler is predicting the closest ever Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign and believes his Northampton Saints side will be right…

Sonatane Takulua expecting big things from Newcastle Falcons this season

Sonatane Takulua believes unity and a collective purpose, combined with an improved playing pool, can help propel Newcastle Falcons up…

Sonatane Takulua

Wasps name team for first pre-season fixture against Ulster

Dai Young has named a 26-man squad to take on Ulster Rugby at Kingspan Stadium in the first pre-season fixture…

Anglo-Welsh Cup 2017-18 launched

WORCESTER WARRIORS have the honour of hosting the opening match in this year’s Anglo-Welsh Cup on Friday 3 November, when…

Leicester Tigers win the Anglo Welsh Cup

Ally Hogg pleased by Newcastle Falcons’ early progress

Ally Hogg believes Newcastle Falcons are well set to attack the new Aviva Premiership season after a double dose of…

Ally Hogg

Topsy Ojo relishing Exiles return to Aviva Premiership Rugby action at HQ

Topsy Ojo believes there could be no more fitting way for London Irish to announce their return as an Aviva…

Newcastle Falcons’ Sonatane Takulua sees Philadelphia trip as a ‘great opportunity’

Newcastle Falcons’ Sonatane Takulua insists his side’s September clash with Saracens in Philadelphia will be no holiday for the players,…

Sonatane Takulua

Harlequins statement: Luke Wallace and Jonas Mikalcius

Harlequins can confirm today (Tuesday 15th August) that flanker Luke Wallace dislocated his hip during the pre-season friendly against London…

Luke Wallace

London Irish kick-off Anglo-Welsh Cup at home to Bath

London Irish will host Bath Rugby at the Madejski Stadium in the opening round of the Anglo-Welsh Cup on Saturday…

London Irish kick-off Anglo-Welsh Cup at home to Bath

HITZ graduate secures first full time job after being inspired by Premiership Rugby final

A teenager from Leigh who overcame a troubled home life and tackled confidence and communication issues thanks to Premiership Rugby…

Lucy Neal

Nick Kennedy delighted with first pre-season hit-out for London Irish

London Irish director of rugby Nick Kennedy is looking forward to seeing his side build on Saturday’s thrilling contest against…

Nick Kennedy

Philadelphia bound Nick Civetta can’t wait for American Series challenge with Newcastle Falcons

NICK CIVETTA HAS had an unlikely path to the top level but as he prepares to embark on his second season…

Nick Civetta

Demetri Catrakilis relishing chance to reunite with old friend Tim Swiel

Harlequins fly-half Demetri Catrakilis has revealed he is ready to join forces with  compatriot and old acquaintance Tim Swiel – insisting…

Worcester Warriors to use number of players in Hartpury test

Warriors will look to use up to 37 players during their fixture against Hartpury College this Saturday in their first…

GJ van Velze

Emergency Services workers invited to London Double Header

Saracens are offering up to eight free tickets to any member of the London Emergency Services for the upcoming London…

London Double Header

Newcastle Falcons teams for double-header v Doncaster and Nottingham

Three-time French title winner Maxime Mermoz is among the Newcastle Falcons players making their debuts in Saturday’s home double header…

Nili Latu