March 12, 2016
Saracens Defeat London Irish In First Aviva Premiership Rugby Match In USA
Photo: Doug Coil
The first Aviva premiership match on United Sates soil provided an exciting close match that was witnessed by the 14,811 in attendance, as well as countless others watching NBC Sports Network in the USA and BT Sports in England. Only 3 points separated the team until the 79th minute when Nick Tomkins found a gap for a try and a Saracens win against the London Irish.
Alex Goode, the 27 year old fullback was clearly the man of the match with 19 points. Earlier this week he was released by England, thus enabling him to participate in this match.
Early in the match, the London Irish thought they had the first try when Alex Lewington apparently touched the ball down in the corner. A TMO proved otherwise, but a penalty went to the London Irish. Greig Tonks slotted the ball through the uprights and the Exiles lead 3-0. (7′)
Shortly later Saracens scrumhalf Ben Spencer, had the opportunity to tie the match with a penalty kick. The kick careemed off the left upright. The Saracens were able to gain the lead with the first try of the match by Alex Goode as he sidestepped defenders. Spencer converted and the score was 3-7 Saracens. (13′)
The London Irish recaptured the lead when Alex Lewington slipped through the defense for a try, which was converted by Scottish international Greig Tonks for a 10-7 lead. (19′)
Greig Tonks added another penalty kick at 26 minutes to increase the London Irish lead to 13-7. While the rest of the first half saw attacks from both sides, at halftime the score remained 13-7 in favor of the London Irish.
The second half began with the Saracens attacking deep into London Irish territory. When the London Irish were penalised, the Saracens went to Alex Goode to kick, instead of Ben Spencer. Alex Goode slotted the kick and narrowed the Exiles lead to 13-10 at 45 minutes. He would add two more penalty kicks at 49 and 55 minutes for the Saracens to have their first lead of the match 13-16.
The lead dissipated at 58 minutes when Greig Tonks notched his third penalty kick in knotting the match at 16 all. That’s the way it would stay until the Saracens took the lead at 68 minutes with Alex’s Goode’s 4th penalty kick of the half to lead 16-19. Greig Tonks attempt to tie the match narrowly missed the uprights 4 minutes later.
The match result was there to win for either side until finally in the 79th minute, Nick Tomkins found a gap for the winning try. Alex Goode slotted the conversion and the final score was London Irish 16-24 for the Saracens.
London Irish: 1 Tom Smallbone, 2 Tom Cruse, 3 Halani Aulika, 4 Matt Symons, 5 Elliott Stooke, 6 Luke Narraway (c), 7 Blair Cowan, 8 Rob McCusker 9 Scott Steele 10 Greig Tonks 11 Topsy Ojo 12 Johnny Williams 13 Ciran Hearn 14 Alex Lewington 15 Sean Maitland 16 Gerard Ellis, 17 Tom Court, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Will Lloyd, 20 Joe Trayfoot, 21 Darren Allinson, 22 Theo Brophy Clews, 23 Fergus Mulchrone
Saracens: 1 Richard Barrington 2 Jared Saunders 3 Juan Figallo 4 Hayden Smith 5 Jim Hamilton 6 Michael Rhodes 7 Jacques Burger 8 Jackson Wray 9 Ben Spencer 10 Nils Mordt 11 Chris Wyles 12 Brad Barritt (c) 13 Nick Tompkins 14 Mike Ellery 15 Alex Goode 16 Dave Porecki 17 Titi Lamositele 18 Petrus Du Plessis 19 Alistar Hargreaves 20 Kelly Brown 21 Neil de Kock 22 Nathan Earle 23 Ben Ransom
Prior to the beginning of the match the Saracens needed to make a change in the starting lineup. Nick Tomkin starts at #13 in place of Marcelo Bosch, who was sick, and Nathan Earle will be a reserve.
Includes DJCoil Rugby interviews with Chris Wyles, Hayden Smith and Titi Lamositele.