Hodgson puts the Saracens boot into Exiles

England fly half Charlie Hodgson kicked 23 points as Saracens beat London Irish with a 19-28 Aviva Premiership victory at the Madejski Stadium


Saracens didn’t get out of first gear but were able to rely on Hodgson’s boot to kick them to victory.


The Premiership’s top points-scorer of all time and its top scorer this season, Hodgson and Tom Homer, perhaps unsurprisingly dominated the scoring early on with Homer kicking nine points to Hodgson’s six.


The first half never really got going with Delon Armitage, who is off to Toulon next season, providing a rare moment of inspiration to break down the right wing for a try just before the half-hour mark.


Irish probably deserved their eight-point lead at that stage but Sarries showed why they have been at the top end of the table all season, going into the half-time interval just two points adrift despite a relatively poor display thanks to two more Hodgson penalties.


And when Jamie Gibson was sinbinned ten minutes into the second half, Saracens took full advantage of the extra man with yet another Hodgson penalty and a pushover try for Will Fraser after a long drive from the pack.


London Irish clung onto their coattails though and after Gibson returned, he combined with Bryn Evans to set up Armitage for his second try of the match to reduce the home side’s arrears to just three points.


After Hodgson had edged Sarries further in front with his seventh successful kick of the afternoon, Fraser was yellow-carded for a poor tackle on Homer to give Irish a chance of pulling off a shock victory.


But, although they did have a number of opportunities, they were unable to grab the converted try they needed. Instead, the Saracens defence stood firm and that man Hodgson sealed the victory with a drop goal in the final minutes.


Final Score London Irish 19 (14) Saracens 28 (12)


Scorers


London Irish
Tries: Armitage 2
Penalties: Homer 3


Saracens
Tries: Fraser
Penalties: Hodgson 5
Conversions: Hodgson
Drop-goals: Hodgson 2


Referee: Martin Fox (78th Premiership game)


Teams


London Irish


15. Tom Homer; 14. Delon Armitage ; 13. Jonathan Joseph; 12. Joe Ansbro ; 11. Sailosi Tagicakibau ; 10. Adrian Jarvis; 9. Darren Allinson; 1.Alex Corbisiero (Captain); 2. David Paice ; 3. Faan Rautenbach ; 4. Bryn Evans ; 5. Matt Garvey; 6. Jamie Gibson; 7. Richard Thorpe; 8. Ofisa Treviranus


Replacements: 16. James Buckland; 17. Max Lahiff; 18. Leo Halavatau; 19. Jebb Sinclair ; 20. Alex Gray; 21. Topsy Ojo ; 22. Steve Shingler; 23. Ross Samson


Saracens


15 Alex Goode , 14 David Strettle , 13 Chris Wyles , 12 Brad Barritt , 11 Michael Tagicakibau , 10 Charlie Hodgson , 9 Neil de Kock , 8 Ernst Joubert , 7 Will Fraser , 6 Jackson Wray, 5 George Kruis, 4 Steve Borthwick (C) , 3 Matt Stevens , 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Rhys Gill


Replacements :16 Jamie George , 17 Mako Vunipola , 18 Carlos Nieto , 19 Mouritz Botha , 20 Justin Melck , 21 Richard Wigglesworth , 22 Adam Powell , 23 Joel Tomkins

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