Search

London Irish stun Saracens with famous away day upset

17:24 08 February 2014

Eamon Sheridan of London Irish takes on the Saracens defence. Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Eamon Sheridan of London Irish takes on the Saracens defence. Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

2014 Getty Images

Premiership: Saracens 13 London Irish 22

All good things must come to an end and London Irish provided one of the upsets of the season to do just that to Saracens’ proud unbeaten regular season record at Allianz Park.

Only Northampton had beaten the Men in Black at their new home - which celebrates its first anniversary next week - but that was in last term’s play-off semi-final. In the league, Sarries had been imperious and today was expected to be no different against an Exiles side that had only won three games all season.

Now Saints have a chance to leapfrog the Hendon outfit at the summit if they can see off Exeter in this evening’s kick-off.

But in a windy north London, Irish stung the hosts to come off better in a crazy first half that saw them on the back foot for large periods, before they restricted Sarries to one late Schalk Brits score in a frustrating second session for the hosts.

Saracens dominated possession and penalty count in the first half but only had Marcello Bosch’s try to show for their efforts. That had put his side 5-3 in the lead after a James O’Connor penalty from the halfway line had opened the scoring in the Exiles’ favour.

Once Matt Parr had barrelled over for his first ever league try for the visitors, the Sunbury side never relinquished the lead despite seeing Fergus Mulchrone and Blair Cowan sent to the bin for separate incidents.

They had to make good use of a strong wind at their backs and an O’Connor goal was followed by two quick-fire scores before the break to put them in the box seat.

Saracens fly-half Charlie Hodgson narrowed the deficit to 8-10 with a penalty but was then at fault in both Exiles scores as first, his grubber cannoned off the thigh of Eamonn Sheridan into the path of Tomas O’Leary who scooped up the ball and set free Alex Lewington to race clear.

O’Connor missed the conversion but straight from the restart Sarries failed to deal with a high, swirling kick and Lewington dribbled the ball through a sea of black shirts but should have been stopped by Hodgson who fumbled. That allowed the winger to toe-poke the ball forward into the path of second row George Skivington who showed the legs to belie his huge frame to, outpacing the far from slow Jamie George to flop on the ball.

O’Connor added the extras to make it 22-8 in his side’s favour at half time and that’s how the scoreboard stayed until late in the second half when Brits squeezed the ball home. Hodgson’s conversion miss summed up Sarries’ afternoon and virtually ended any hopes of a late rally from the hosts and confirmed a famous win for Irish.

Saracens: Ransom (Tomkins), Ashton (Wilson), Bosch, Wyles, Strettle, Hodgson, De Kock (Wigglesworth), Barrington (Saunders), George (Brits), Stevens (Johnstone), Borthwick (c), Botha (Kruis), Wray, Burger, Joubert (Hankin)

Saracens scorers: Try – Bosch, Brits; pen - Hodgson;

London Irish: O’Connor (Fowlie); Lewington, Mulchrone, Sheridan, Fenby; Geraghty (Humphreys), O’Leary (Kennedy); Parr (Yapp), Paice (Stevens), Hagan (Halavatau); Skivington (capt), Rouse (Ellis); Low, Cowan, Treviranus (Sinclair).

London Irish scorers: Try – Parr, Lewington, Skivington; con – O’Connor 2; pen – O’Connor;

Referee: Dean Richards

Attendance: 9,012

Related articles

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

Yesterday, 19:00

Sean Cronin was sent off against his former club as Wingate & Finchley fought back to force a replay in their FA Trophy tie at Wealdstone.

Yesterday, 18:57

Arsene Wenger confirmed key defender Shkodran Mustafi will miss Arsenal’s crucial forthcoming fixtures after he picked up a ‘bad’ hamstring strain during the 3-1 win over Stoke City at The Emirates.

Yesterday, 18:03

A touchy Mark Hughes stormed out of his post-match press conference after he was quizzed on his views about Stoke City fans at The Emirates singing about Aaron Ramsey’s career-threatening injury.

Yesterday, 16:54

Arsenal went top of the table as they maintained their good form by beating Stoke City 3-1 at The Emirates this afternoon with goals from Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil and Alex Iwobi, after Charlie Adam had earlier put the Potters 1-0 up with a first half penalty.

Fri, 22:30

Mauricio Pochettino says Dele Alli’s “naughty” streak is a key part of his game, and the Tottenham manager is pleased to see the 20-year-old taking centre stage again.

Fri, 14:48

Mauricio Pochettino is expecting a quiet January transfer window at Tottenham – and he says the club has already shown its ambition by extending the contracts of 10 players.

Fri, 14:13

Mauricio Pochettino says Jose Mourinho will go down in history as one of the best football managers ever as Tottenham prepare to visit Manchester United on Sunday.

Thu, 12:00

Jan Vertonghen believes Tottenham can win the Europa League after last night’s victory over CSKA Moscow secured a place in the last 32 of the competition.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now