Lamb kicks London Irish to victory over Leinster

Ryan Lamb kicked a penalty for London Irish with two minutes to go to seal a famous 9-12 victory for the Exiles over the reigning Heineken Cup champions Leinster at the  RDS in Dublin on Friday night.


An infringement by Mike Ross allowed Ryan Lamb to take the match winning shot at goal. Brad Sexton had leveled the scores just a few minutes prior.


In the final minutes Leinster threw everything at London Irish but the English Premiership team’s defence held strong despite a few tense moments for the visitors.


Lamb came on as a replacement in the second half but even though his heroics won the match for the Exiles their captain Bob Casey was named man of the match.


When French referee Romain Poite blew the final whistle he appeared to miss what looked like a high tackle from London Irish number eight Chris Hala’Ufia on Leinster captain Brian O’Driscoll deep inside the Exiles 22.

 

The crowd responded by echoing loud boos around the ground.

 

Jonathan Sexton put Leinster into a third minute lead with a penalty with Peter Hewat levelling shortly after.

 

Sexton regained the lead for the Irish champions on 12 minutes only for Hewat to convert London Irish’s second penalty to level at 6-6 at half-time.

 

Lamb put London Irish into the lead for the first time with the first of his kicks over the bar after the hour mark with Sexton responding to set up a nervy final five minutes.

 

Lamb though was to have the last word with a thumping kick from just inside the hosts’ half.

 

Leinster slipped up against a London Irish side with a superbly organised defence and the sure-footed contribution of Hewat and Lamb whose’ killer kick was as a result of a penalty awarded against Leinster’s Mike Ross.

 

Leinster will have a chance to redeem themselves in their next Pool 6 tie against French side Brive, who face Llanelli in Wales on Saturday.

 

The Dublin side will have felt aggrieved as this was a match they could and should have won. They were the side that came closest to breaking the try deadlock, but they never built on a strong opening quarter.

 

Leinster attacked with vigour at the start, with Brian O’Driscoll hurtling through a gap after just 40 seconds and Sexton converting his first penalty from the left side.

 

Producing quick ruck ball, the Magners League leaders were oozing confidence and Sexton tried his luck with a drop goal from almost halfway.

 

Irish got some relief when full-back Hewat kicked over an impressive penalty – but a high tackle by Chris Hala’Ufia on Cian Healy allowed Sexton to restore Leinster’s lead.

 

Sexton’s rifled kicks and Isa Nacewa’s high-fielding skills delighted the Dublin crowd, yet Toby Booth’s side drew strength as they weathered the storm.

 

Although his kicking was at times wayward, Chris Malone stepped to the mark to produce a try-saving tackle on Luke Fitzgerald – and Australian Hewat’s defensive skills also shone.

 

Such was the tight nature of the first half, a degree of needle always seemed likely and it was no surprise when Jamie Heaslip and David Paice saw yellow for getting involved in a touchline fracas.

 

Nick Kennedy also alleged that Shane Jennings had gouged him, an incident which the citing commissioner is sure to analyse.

 

Territorially Leinster, with Sexton, Nacewa and Fitzgerald rifling kicks away, were on top but the Exiles’ dogged defence steeled them and following a Sexton penalty miss, Hewat right-footed Irish level at 6-6 on the stroke of half-time.

 

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