Tom Homer kicked 19 points as London Irish gave their Aviva Premiership survival bid a huge boost by inflicting a first defeat in nine games on Saracens.
With Sale Sharks beating Exeter Chiefs on Friday night the Exiles were under serious pressure at the wrong end of the Aviva Premiership table heading into their clash with Sarries and they didn’t disappoint.
Homer’s 19 points – plus tries from Shane Geraghty and Ofisa Treviranus – ensured the home side secured just their fourth Aviva Premiership win of the season.
Sarries – without the likes of England backs Chris Ashton, Alex Goode and Owen Farrell – saw their points come from David Strettle’s try and 11 points from Charlie Hodgson but it was not enough.
Sarries drew first blood when Hodgson kicked a three-pointer however it was 3-3 when Homer made a tricky-looking penalty from out wide look easy.
Hodgson’s first three-pointer wasn’t the cleanest of strikes however his second attempt, after Matt Garvey was penalised for crossing, was perfectly struck to put Sarries back ahead.
Former England prop Matt Stevens was penalised for a tip-tackle on Halani Aulika on the quarter-hour mark and Homer’s penalty once more levelled proceedings.
Hodgson blotted his copy book midway through the half when his third penalty attempt was off target
Pat Phibbs then wasted a golden chance to score the first try of the game for the Exiles just after the half-hour mark before Homer missed a very kickable penalty minutes later when Sarries were penalised at the scrum.
Homer made no mistake on 35 minutes when the visitors were again guilty at scrum time – the full-back kicking his side into the lead for the first time in the contest.
It was to prove to be short-lived however when the Hodgson-Homer kicking duel continued with the Sarries No. 10 putting a penalty over, with the help of the crossbar.
First blood in the second half went to the home team when Saracens were penalised for going over the top and full-back Homer kicked an easy three points.
On 52 minutes Geraghty’s interception try gave the home side some breathing space. The Exiles had been putting huge pressure on the visitors with a flat defensive line throughout the second half and Geraghty duly profited to run in.
Homer added the extras and the home side had a ten-point margin. The home full-back extended that lead just after the hour mark with another penalty after Steve Borthwick was penalised.
Irish were buoyant but the wind was taken firmly out of their sails when Strettle’s try, plus Hodgson’s extras, made it 22-16 on 66 minutes.
However minutes later Irish promptly scored a second try when Topsy Ojo’s fantastic offload allowed replacement Treviranus to cross.
Another impressive kick from Homer made it 29-16 and the Exiles were able to celebrate back-to-back Premiership wins.