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London Irish 47 London Welsh 28

20 Apr 2013
London Irish 47 London Welsh 28

Halani Aulika took his try tally into double figures for the season as he powered London Irish to a 47-28 win in the Aviva Premiership against London Welsh.

Already guaranteed to finish bottom of the table there was little to cheer for Lyn Jones whose side shipped seven tries at the Madejski Stadium.

Aulika went over twice, as did centre Guy Armitage while Matt Garvey, Sailosi Tagicakibau and Chris Hala’ufia all crossed once for the hosts.

The game was tight up until the hour mark however, some accurate kicking from Gordon Ross in addition to tries from Seb Stegmann and Nick Scott keeping Welsh in the game.

Greg Bateman did cross for a late consolation for the visitors but the damage was already done by then as Aulika moved to 11 tries for the season in all competitions.

Former Scotland international fly-half Ross was off target with a couple of early penalties but was unerring thereafter from the kicking tee, opening the scoring with his third attempt in the sixth minute.

Irish’s first try came from Armitage just moments later however, the centre breaking a couple of tackles to dive over after being fed by Tom Homer, Ian Humphreys adding the conversion.

Stegmann, who was playing at outside centre rather than on the wing, had already made two clean breaks in the opening exchanges but both times Lyn Jones’ side failed to make the most of the initial advance.

But Irish clearly had not learned their lesson because moments later the former Quins man was over for Welsh’s first try, diving over to make it 8-7 to the visitors, Ross missing with the conversion.

It was a breathless first half full of running rugby and Humphreys burst clear as Irish continued to carry the more potent attacking threat, Tagicakibau also carrying with real menace.

Quite how Brian Smith’s side had not added a second try was a credit to some last-gasp scramble defence from Welsh as well as a lack of killer instinct from the hosts.

And it was Welsh who added the second try somewhat against the run of play, Stegmann again involved with a fine initial break that saw Scott dive over in the corner, Ross’ conversion taking it to 15-7.

But Irish were soon back in contention and it was that man Aulika, the prop diving over from close range with Humphreys’ conversion making it 14-15 to the visitors with a few minutes to go until the interval.

But Irish were back in front before the break, Marland Yarde was tackled centimetres short of the tryline but Hala’ufai found space to barrel over for Irish’s third try of the first half to make it 19-15.

Straight after the interval Aulika bagged his second, picking up and driving over from short range as Hala’ufia forced his teammate over the line.

Humphreys’ conversion went over off the post to put Irish 26-15 to the good but Welsh were not going to roll over and Ross’ two penalties in quick succession meant that with the hour mark approaching Welsh were only down 26-21.

Still it was Irish who carried the greater attacking threat though and only a George Skivington knock on prevented their fifth try of the game.

With Aulika desperately searching for his hat-trick it was Tagicakibau who scored the decisive try as he went over in the corner, Humphrey’s conversion stretching the lead out to 33-21.

The departing Garvey then celebrated his last game in Irish colours with the sixth try before Armitage scored his second,  Bateman adding a late consolation try for the visitors.

For more news, try out Leicester Tigers London Welsh Match Report