Home is where the heart is for London Irish as they recorded back-to-back Aviva Premiership victories with a 30-19 win over capital rivals London Wasps.
A fortnight ago Saracens left the Madejski empty handed and the Exiles recorded a fourth-straight home win in all competitions thanks to Marland Yarde’s superb try after the break.
Before that Wasps had led 16-14 at the interval as that man Christian Wade was at it again, crossing for his ninth Aviva Premiership try to cancel out Shane Geraghty’s for the hosts.
But man-of-the-match Chris Hala’ufia released Ofisa Treviranus whose superb offload sent wing Yarde racing away, Tom Homer kicking London Irish to a sixth win in eight games since the turn of the year to give their survival hopes a major boost.
London Irish were sharp and decisive in the opening exchanges and when Homer’s first penalty attempt hit the upright his second sailed unmistakably through the posts to open the scoring.
The Exiles continued to exert severe pressure on the Wasps try-line and TMO David Grashoff was called into action twice in quick succession, Hala’ufia and Yarde being denied tries, the latter courtesy of some last-ditch tackling from Wade.
Homer extended Irish’s lead to 6-0 before Stephen Jones got the visitors on the scoreboard with his second penalty attempt.
But it was Irish who scored the first try of the game after quick thinking from a penalty when Ian Humphreys caught the Wasps’ defence unawares to send Geraghty over in the right corner, Homer unsuccessful with the tough conversion.
But Wasps came roaring back and after two Jones penalties the fly-half then sent the in-form Wade away to dot down in the right corner.
Unlike Homer, Jones made no mistake with the extras out wide to give his side a two-point half-time lead.
The second half began with the sin-binning of Hala’ufia after the Tongan No.8 was seen leading with his elbow in a challenge with T. Rhys Thomas as he carried from the restart.
Jones’ fourth penalty extended the visitors lead to 19-14 but London Irish refused to lie and despite the numerical disadvantage continued to apply pressure as Homer knocked over a fourth penalty.
And when Hala’ufia returned he had an instant impact, bursting through the defensive line to off-load to his back row partner Treviranus who sprinted 20 metres before delivering a perfectly-timed pass for Yarde to collect and race untouched to score. Homer’s added extras saw Irish lead 24-19.
Irish’s attack was proving to be relentless and when the metronomic boot of Homer slotted two further penalties, the Exiles were 30-19 to the good and looking in complete control.
For all their endeavour, the Wasps fightback was being undone by handling errors and an unrelenting defensive wall and they slipped to a first Aviva Premiership defeat in six games.