Today’s game was one of those games where the result is unimportant but people leaving made it a special occasion. On top of this however a win for either side to take them up to 7th and Tom Homer had a chance to gain the Golden Boot.
The London Irish squad only has a few changes with Garvey moving to the bench in order for Bob Casey to start and captain the side for the final time, Gibson switching positions from 7 to 6 with Sisi coming in to fill the void. Gloucester hoping to break their worst run of form in the last 11 years by losing their last 5 games introduced Hamilton starting as the Capitan for the first time among several other changes which include Savage replacing Buxton on the blindside and Lawson in as hooker.
Irish opened up the score board with a Homer penalty however within seconds of the game restarting a penalty was given away meaning it was 3-3 within 6 minutes. However momentum stayed with Irish who slotted further penalties on 12, 15 and 18 minutes. Voyce however soon closed the gap with a simple run in from a ruck near the try line on 23rd min to make it 12-8.
Soon once again moment went Irish’s way with a further penalty. Before Homer got a penalty and a neat try following a break from Armitage who managed to find, Allinson who in turn scored a try which Homer added the extras. Burns got a Gloucester penalty soon after on 32 mins to make the score 22-11. The rest of the second half was all Irish as Tagicakibau scored after receiving an off load where he ran in from the just inside of the 22. Joseph also scored a try with a dummy passing creating the space for him to make it to the line from outside the 22, Homer only converting one of the tries making the score at half time 34-11.
The second half started off slow however a fight kicked off between Paice and Hamilton where they both got Yellow carded. On the way off however Paice seemed to say something to fire up Hamilton again and a full team brawl kicked off, where the touch judge got knocked over. This not only meant that Paice got his head split open both players both red carded and it seems the citing commissioner has some footage to look over. Gloucester were shortly after play resumed then reduced to 13 men as Tindall was caught holding back a support running Homer slotting the penalty on the 55th min to give Irish at 26 point lead.
7 minutes later near the east stand an excellent chip over the top of the rushing Gloucester defensive line which was well collected by Yarde meant he dived over the line to get his first try for the day. 3 minutes later on the 65th min a further try this time from the half way line was scored by Delon Armitage stepping inside and then turning on the speed which took him all the way to the line. This seemed a fitting end to his current stint at London Irish. At 47-11 it seemed all the scoring was done however Yarde scored a second try and Voyce scored a consolation try from the 5 meter line following a pop pass and a step creating the space to go over which was converted on the 80th min to make the final score 52-18.
The MotM was Big Bob who when substituted during the game received a standing ovation following his services to the club. It is also worth noting that for other players it was also their last game the complete list (according to the programme) being:
I would like to thank them for their help and commitment whilst at London Irish and wish them good luck in the future.
Overall for the last game of the season, this was a resounding victory for Irish, questions have been raised by some about why they couldn’t have done this earlier in the season. However it was a fitting end and I look forward to seeing what next season brings.
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