After a heavy defeat the previous week against one of the Tournament favourites, Irish set off to get their first victory of the season at home against Gloucester.
I arrived at the ground two hours before kickoff, and Gloucester were already training on the pitch. No sign of London Irish yet. Would this mean that the opposition would be more prepared or more tired?
Not much public today, only about 7,000 by my vague estimate, out of which there were no less than 1,000 away supporters. The game started at a great pace, and London Irish were close to score in the first minute of the game. After three minutes Shingler, our designated kicker for the day, converted the first penalty, which was corresponded with a penalty kick from Freddy Burns five minutes later.
We were treated to a good game of fast running rugby for the first few minutes of the game, and we could see some of the Brian Smith style what we were promised, quick offloads and looking dangerous with ball in hand. Some good moves from our backs saw Yarde and Topsy chase a kick on the corner, with Topsy scoring our first try of the season. Defense was our weakest point, and after a series of missed tackles Morgan scored unopposed between the posts in one of the last plays of the first half, which ended 14 16 in favour of the Cherry and Whites.
Gloucester scored first in the second half thanks to the book of Freddy Burns, but Irish came back strong with two tries from Madstad debutants Aulika and O’Leary. What seemed a well deserved victory turned out to be another defeat due to our very high penalty count and our defensive errors. Two tries from Simpson Daniel and one last try from Qera in the space of six minutes, with 5 minutes left in the clock meant that with the 31-40 score against us we could only dream of a losing bonus point, or even 2 points if we had scored a try. Some great efforts by Losi in midfield were corresponded with some desperate Glocester defense, and a last gasp drop goal from Shingler did not find the target and Irish had nothing left to do but congratulating the opposition and hope that with more defensive work in the training ground and some key players to arrive back from injuries / suspension / current teams better times will come.
Fisher was named man of the match of Irish.
After the game I went to the Cowshed, which was very busy, and a good time was had by all. I then went to see the Q&A for supporters, which included and interview with Brian Smith, who still thinks that we can target for silverware in all competitions despite the zero points after two games, the referee Greg Garner, who awarded the fair play trophy to Tomás O’Leary, and a statement from captain Declan Danaher, who seemed quite upset about how the game went and promised a lot of hard work in training to work on the next game against Wasps.
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