London Irish earn vital Gloucester victory

Blair Cowan tackles James Hook

London Irish took a step closer to survival in the Aviva Premiership by beating Gloucester 23-18 at the Madejski Stadium.

The result puts the pressure back on to Newcastle Falcons on 22 as London Irish move up to 17 points with five matches to play.

An early try from Halani Aulika helped their cause, before a late score from Blair Cowan sealed the win for the Exiles.

A well-worked try finished off by Henry Trinder had given Gloucester the lead for the first time, before Cowan’’s score gave the home side victory.

Relegation-threatened Irish took just five minutes to strike, as tighthead prop Aulika picked up from the back of a ruck before burrowing his way to the line just to the right of the posts, making the conversion a formality for Greig Tonks.

A quick exchange of penalties saw James Hook open Gloucester’’s account, before Tonks restored his side’’s seven-point lead after 16 minutes.

Despite London Irish pressing for a second try, Gloucester levelled the scores just before the break as number eight Lewis Ludlow powered his way to the try line before Hook converted from the tee.

Tonks restored Irish’’s lead on 51 minutes, before Hook levelled it up once more just three minutes after.

Gloucester then took the lead for the first time in the game on 56 minutes, as Trinder latched on to Hook’’s chip to crash over in the corner, doing well to stay in play. Hook’’s conversion sailed wide of the uprights.

As Gloucester tried their best to keep London Irish away from the try line, two cynical fouls in three minutes saw Yann Thomas and Tom Savage sent to the sin-bin.

With Gloucester down to the 13 men, a try from Cowan coming from the back of a driving maul gave Tonks the chance to give Irish the lead from the conversion, which he slotted excellently.

A 75th minute penalty from the boot of Tonks extended the Exiles’ lead to five points, ensuring a kick at goal wouldn’t be enough for Gloucester to take the lead.

Final Score London Irish 23(10) Gloucester 18 (10)

Scorers

London Irish
Tries – Aulika, Cowan
Pen – Tonks (3)
Con – Tonks (2)
Drop –

Gloucester
Tries – Ludlow, Trinder
Pen – Hook (2)
Con – Hook
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee :Matthew Carley (41st Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell & Paul Dix.
TMO: Trevor Fisher.

Teams

London Irish

15 Sean Maitland, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Ciaran Hearn, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Topsy Ojo, 10 Greig Tonks, 9 Scott Steele, 1 Tom Court, 2 Tom Cruse, 3 Halani Aulika, 4 Will Lloyd, 5 Matt Symons, 6 Luke Narraway (c), 7 Blair Cowan, 8 Rob McCusker

Replacements: 16 David Paice, 17 Tom Smallbone, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Jerry Sexton, 20 Jebb Sinclair, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Theo Brophy Clews, 23 Fergus Mulchrone

Gloucester

15. Tom Marshall; 14. Charlie Sharples, 13. Bill Meakes, 12. Billy Twelvetrees (capt), 11. Henry Trinder; 10. James Hook, 9. Callum Braley; 1. Nick Wood, 2. Richard Hibbard, 3. John Afoa; 4. Jeremy Thrush, 5. Mariano Galarza; 6. Sione Kalamafoni, 7. Matt Kvesic, 8. Lewis Ludlow

Replacements:16. Darren Dawidiuk, 17. Yann Thomas, 18. Paul Doran-Jones, 19. Tom Savage, 20. Gareth Evans, 21. Harry Randall, 22. Mark Atkinson, 23. Rob Cook

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