London Irish beat Sale to stay in the hunt

London Irish kept their hopes of reaching the play-offs with a hard-fought 20-34 victory over Sale Sharks at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday.

London Irish turned Sale Sharks’ Reebok dream into a nightmare as they eased
to a comfortable victory.

In front of a record 16,428 home crowd for Sale, tries from Topsy Ojo, David
Paice, Dan Bowden and Armitage guided Irish to within play-off contention.

Sharks hit back in the second period thanks to scores from locks Sean Cox and
Wame Lewaravu, and 10 points from the boot of Hodgson, but it wasn’t enough
to overcome a powerful away side.

Hodgson and Irish winger Homer missed two kickable early penalties before the
Reading-based outfit opened the scoring when winger Ojo intercepted a Hodgson
pass to touch down, Homer converting.

Sale fought back and Hodgson reduced the deficit with a penalty. But Irish
continued to hammer at the Sharks’ line and the pressure eventually told when
hooker Paice powered over, Homer once again adding the extras.

And Sale’s Reebok experience was turning into a nightmare as fly-half Bowden
shrugged off the attentions of prop Henry Thomas to go in unopposed for a converted
try.

24-3 at half-time was reduced two minutes into the second period when Hodgson
kicked a penalty.

However, Homer responded with one of his own. Sale then suddenly became inspired
and scored two tries in as many minutes.

Firstly, Cox burrowed over from close range before good hands sent Lewaravu
down the left touchline. Hodgson converted both and the hosts were suddenly
within losing bonus-point territory.

But a final minute converted Armitage try off a driving maul saw Irish put
pay to that.

Final Score Sale Sharks (3) 20 London Irish (24) 34


Scorers


Sale Sharks
Tries: Cox, Lewaravu
Cons: C Hodgson 2
Pens: C Hodgson 2


London Irish
Tries: Ojo, Paice, Bowden, S Armitage
Cons: Homer 4
Pens: Homer 2


Referee: JP Doyle (23rd Premiership game)


Teams


Sale Sharks : 15 Nick Macleod , 14 Paul Williams , 13 Chris Bell , 12 Andy Tuilagi , 11 Will Addison , 10 Charlie Hodgson (Captain) , 9 Will Cliff , 1 Eifion Lewis Roberts , 2 Neil Briggs , 3 Henry Thomas , 4 Sean Cox , 5 Wame Lewaravu , 6 James Gaskell , 7 Carl Fearns , 8 Sisa Koyamaibole


Reserves : 16 Marc Jones , 17 Lee Imiolek , 18 Andrew Sheridan , 19 Chris Jones , 20 Neil McMillan , 21 Dwayne Peel , 22 Rob Miller , 23 Kyle Tonetti


London Irish:15. Delon Armitage; 14. Topsy Ojo; 13. Elvis Seveali’i; 12. Seilala Mapusua (captain); 11. Tom Homer; 10. Dan Bowden; 9. Paul Hodgson; 1. Alex Corbisiero; 2. David Paice; 3. Paulica Ion; 4. Nick Kennedy; 5. Bob Casey; 6. Jamie Gibson; 7. Steffon Armitage; 8. George Stowers


Replacements: 16. James Buckland; 17. Clarke Dermody; 18. Faan Rautenbach; 19. Gary Johnson; 20. Richard Thorpe; 21. Jonathan Joseph; 22. Chris Malone; 23. Darren Allinson

TEAMtalk.

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