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Even stevens at the Madejski

05 Dec 2009
Even stevens at the Madejski

London Irish dropped more home points as Worcester recorded a third straight GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP draw in a scrappy affair at the Madejski Stadium.

A fortnight after losing their unbeaten home record to Newcastle Falcons, the Exiles were again troubled with Willie Walker kicking 11 points for the visitors, who were awarded a penalty try.

John Rudd scored the hosts’ only try, while Ryan Lamb converted and kicked three penalties.

The match began with a couple of bouts of niggle between the opposing packs.

Referee Tim Wigglesworth decided to send Worcester’s Kiwi lock Greg Rawlinson to the sin-bin to calm things down, but Irish could not take advantage of the extra man.

Exiles fly-half Lamb, fresh from a match-winning performance at Bath last week, mounted the first threat to either line with a clever snipe but his floated pass failed to reach unmarked wing Peter Hewat.

Shortly afterwards the former Gloucester number 10 missed a straight-forward penalty chance.

With Rawlinson poised to return, Worcester’s 14 men opened the scoring with a Willie Walker penalty, after Irish infringed at a ruck.

Walker doubled the advantage early in the second quarter, after Irish again fell foul of the referee at the breakdown, to bring up his personal century of GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP points this season.

Tepid Irish roused themselves at last just before the half-hour and Worcester flanker Tom Wood was sent to the cooler after a blatant high tackle.

Lamb this time knocked over the kick, but his score was almost immediately cancelled out by a superb Walker effort from the touchline following yet more Irish indiscipline.

The Exiles had their first spell of sustained pressure just before the break. England scrum-half Paul Hodgson, selected on the bench but on for the injured Peter Richards, failed with a quick tap in the shadow of the Worcester posts but Irish ended a scrappy half by taking the three points on offer from an identical position to trail 6-9.

Irish went ahead for the first time early in the second period.

Wing Rudd cut a superb line through the drifting Worcester defence midway inside the Warriors half and slid under the posts.

Lamb converted but, rather than kick-starting the Irish effort, the visitors bounced back immediately, pinning Irish on their line and forcing a penalty try when referee Wigglesworth spotted handling in a five-metre scrum.

It was Worcester’s first try in almost five hours of Premiership rugby. Walker slotted the simple conversion to give his side a three-point lead.

The Exiles were turned over on the brink of the Worcester line, but Lamb’s third penalty levelled the scores just past the hour.

Irish pinned the visitors in their own half but their error count remained high and they were fortunate not to slip behind when Walker missed from a shot at goal from 25 metres.

The majority of the final 10 minutes was played out in the Warriors’ half but Irish failed to threaten a side who have still to post a league win away from Sixways this campaign.

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