Fixtures - Top Bar

Match Reaction: London Irish 32 Saracens 36

Mark McCall could only sit back and applaud his players’ bravery after a bold decision not to kick for the posts late on paid off for Saracens.

With Sarries three points behind London Irish in the closing stages, skipper Brad Barritt opted to send a kickable penalty into touch.

The resulting rolling maul piled over the Exiles’ line at the Madejski Stadium and Billy Vunipola grabbed the winning try.

Earlier Alex Lexington had claimed a hat-trick as Irish sought to repeat their Aviva Premiership Rugby victory over Saracens last season, but it proved not to be enough.

“There are no right or wrong answers with that and we’ve always had a policy, since I’ve been at the club, to leave it to the players to make those decisions,” said McCall.

“Would I have made the same decision? Probably not but Brad had the belief to go for it. Our maul has been a weapon all season, we’ve worked incredibly hard on it. It was a brilliantly executed maul and the players had the nerves to go for it.

“London Irish, if they play like that will cause some teams problems this year, they are a young, energetic, physical team that make you work for things.

“Some teams will come here and not win, and I hope that’s the case to be honest but you’ve just got to look after yourselves. We’re probably disappointed with how we did today.”

As well as Lewington’s trio, Blair Cowan also crossed over for Irish who were able to take two bonus points from the clash.

But Vunipola, as well as tries for Tim Streather and Richard Wigglesworth and the respective boots of Owen Farrell and Alex Goode, ensured that was all.

But for London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith, attentions quickly switch to another big test next weekend – Leicester Tigers.

“Preparation is going to need to be good before going to Leicester away next,” he said.

“That was a very physical contest, Sarries are a massive team and they are a massive squad and they are very, very physical so we’ve got some boys that are very disappointed right now.

“We go up to Leicester next and we’ve played very well up there recently. We possibly did enough to win that game, we’ll dust ourselves off.

“We just need to digest today because it takes a bit of getting over. It was like a train smash at the end there.

“It’ll take a couple of days to get over but by Tuesday we’ll firmly set our sights on the Tigers, our tactics and the group to go forward for that. These coming weeks are a big challenge for us.”
 
London Irish: Fenby; Lewington, Mulchrone, Geraghty, Short; Noakes, Steele (O’Leary 50); Court, Paice, Aulika, Skivington, Sinclair (Leo 55), Cowan, Treviranus (Low 30 (blood); Guest 52), Narraway
Not used: Ellis, Parr, Halavatau, Sheridan
 
Saracens: Goode; Ashton, Streather (Taylor 59), Barritt, Wyles; Farrell (Hodgson 66), Wigglesworth (de Kock 59); Gill (Barrington 51), George, Longbottom (Johnston 51), Hamilton (Botha 60), Smith, Joubert, Burger (Wray 43), Vunipola
Not used: Spurling

Scorers
 
London Irish
Tries: Cowan, Lewington 3
Conversions: Geraghty 3
Penalties: Geraghty 2
 
Saracens
Tries: Streather, Wigglesworth, Vunipola
Conversions: Farrell 2, Goode
Penalties: Farrell 3, Goode 2
 
Referee: Luke Pearce
Attendance: 6,655
 

Latest News

Match Report: Harlequins 32 Wasps 13

Nick Evans capped a memorable final appearance for Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop by scoring 22 points as they downed…

Alafoti Faosiliva commits future to Worcester Warriors

Samoa international Alafoti Faosiliva will continue his Sixways career after committing his future to the Club. The 31-year-old arrived at…

Alafoti Faosiliva

AUDIO: Preview of this weekend’s Aviva Premiership action

It's the penultimate round of regular-season matches in the Aviva Premiership this weekend - Russell Hargreaves has the details.

Saracens name side to face Bristol Rugby

Saracens have named their team to face Bristol in round 21 of the Aviva Premiership on Saturday at Allianz Park,…

Schalk Brits

Northampton Saints team news versus Exeter Chiefs

The Northampton Saints team has been named for the Aviva Premiership Round 21 trip to Exeter. Injuries to Louis Picamoles…

JJ Hanrahan

Garvey to start for Bath Rugby in West Country derby

Matt Garvey will make his first start for Bath Rugby since January in the West Country Aviva Premiership derby against…

Matt Garvey

Gloucester Rugby make just one change for trip to Bath

Gloucester Rugby keep faith with the majority of the side that triumphed in La Rochelle last weekend, making just one…

Mariano Galarza

Exeter Chiefs side to face Northampton Saints

Rob Baxter says it’s vital his Exeter Chiefs grasp every opportunity afforded to them as they look to maintain their…

Gareth Steenson

Leicester Tigers team news for final home game

Graham Kitchener and Adam Thompstone will make their 100th starting appearances in a Leicester Tigers shirt in the final home…

Adam Thompstone

Team News for Bristol Rugby to face Saracens

Olly Robinson returns to the starting line-up as Bristol Rugby face reigning Premiership champions Saracens on Saturday (3pm KO). The…

Olly Robinson

Four Changes For Sharks Ahead of Tigers Clash

Sale Sharks have named their side to take on Leicester Tigers this Saturday at Welford Road in the Aviva Premiership…

Josh Charnley

Callum Chick not given up on top-six finish for Newcastle Falcons

Promising Newcastle Falcons flanker Callum Chick hasn't given up on helping his side qualify for a Champions Cup place next…

Jack Singleton still buzzing after baptism of fire at Worcester Warriors

Jack Singleton admits he never expected to get as much Aviva Premiership Rugby game time as he has had this…

Saracens sign Wales international lock Dominic Day

Saracens have completed the signing of Wales international lock forward Dominic Day for the for the upcoming 2017/18 season. 31-year…

Dominic Day

Tom Heathcote extends his stay at Worcester Warriors

Worcester Warriors are delighted to announce that Scotland international Tom Heathcote has put pen to paper on a new contract…

Tom Heathcote

Minimum standards criteria results

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has considered the findings of an independent audit report of the Greene King IPA Championship…

World Rugby welcomes Berlin Consensus Statement on concussion in sport

Expert group publishes comprehensive review of scientific papers on concussion Rugby continues to be aligned with recommended best practice Cross-sport…

Mark Lambert issues rallying call for Harlequins’ top-six push

A third season in a row without top flight European rugby is not an option for a club of Harlequins’…

Gloucester’s Henry Trinder: Top-six place at stake adds to West Country derby

Gloucester will be travelling to The Rec for their West Country derby against Bath in the Aviva Premiership on Sunday…

Henry Trinder