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Grayson boots Saints past Exiles

04 Jan 2004
Grayson boots Saints past Exiles

But the Saints needed to turn up the gears in the second-half after early tries from Paul Sackey and Michael Horak gave the Irish a 15-10 at the break.

Indeed, Northampton looked down and out after losing both locks, Ian Hunter and Jon Phillips, to first-half injuries.

Hunter was carried off with his neck in a brace after being hurt scoring Northampton's opening try while Phillips had limped away 20 minutes earlier.

Centre Chris Hyndman also went off, and his replacement Mark Tucker suffered a head wound – all before half-time.

But Saints, who gave a first Premiership start to front-row recruit and former Tonga Test captain Tevita Taumepeau, kept battling away – and it was thanks to Grayson's supreme tactical kicking that the visitor's managed to march back into the game.

In addition to his clutch of penalties and conversions, his perfectly-weighted kick into space caught the Irish defence flat-footed and allowed Bruce Reihana to cross the line.

The home side could not cope with the burgeoning pressure and failed to register a single point in the second period.

Mark Robinson added the coup de grace by sprinting over four minutes into injury-time, leaving Irish to contemplate how they could have slumped to their third consecutive Zurich Premiership home defeat.

For London Irish:Try: SackeyCons: Mapletoft 2Pen: Mapletoft

For Northampton Saints:Tries: Blowers, Reihana, RobinsonCons: Grayson 3Pens: Grayson 5

For more news, try out London Irish v Northampton Saints

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