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Catt takes the lead as Exiles eclipse Tykes

03 Sep 2005
Catt takes the lead as Exiles eclipse Tykes

Skipper Catt, who will be 34 later this month, has been discarded by England since playing his part in the 2003 World Cup triumph but he showed he still has plenty to offer in the GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP. His precision pass sent his centre partner Rod Penney in for the opening
Irish try, a probing kick led to a fortuitous second for full back Delon Armitage and then he stretched the Leeds defence beyond breaking point with the long pass which enabled Armitage to put Justin Bishop in for the third.

The fourth Irish try came in the second minute of injury time from flanker Kieron Dawson and their fine display of finishing provided French flanker Olivier Magne with a winning start on his English club debut.

Magne, who is hoping to continue his 83-cap career this season made a solid start, fitting in well as Irish produced their trademark solid forward performance. It all proved too much for Leeds, who had New Zealand scrum-half Marshall making his debut after calling time on his international career. He never gave up trying to get Leeds moving but they failed to respond to his prompting.

Leeds struck the first blow when left-wing Tom Biggs finished off a cross field move in the left-hand corner, taking the final pass from full-back Iain Balshaw, to dive over after only five minutes. It was a sweet start for Balshaw on his return to competitive action – and to
Twickenham – after a thigh injury suffered in last season’s Powergen Cup Final victory over his former club Bath cost him his place on the British Lions tour to New Zealand.

Fly-half Barry Everitt, who contributed the other seven Irish points, and Gordon Ross exchanged penalties before Catt’s exquisitely-timed short pass released Penney on his explosive run for the posts. Everitt converted to put Irish 10-8 ahead before Ross’ second penalty edged Leeds a point in front.

But the Scottish international unintentionally presented Irish with their second try when Catt’s low kick rebounded off him and bounced into the grateful arms of Armitage who provided a flamboyant diving finishing in the corner with Everitt converting from the left-hand touch line.

It was third time lucky for Armitage who had twice come close to scoring with kick-and-chase attempts which took him over the Leeds line.

In the second minute he was a finger-tip away from a touch down and then, in the 20th minute, Leeds centre Roland De Marigny got to the ball just ahead of him. Ross added to his misery by missing a simple penalty in first-half injury time and Leeds ran out of ideas as Irish closed the game down after Bishop scored their third try, in the 55th minute.

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