The Long Good-bye
September 30 2019
So the curtain came up on the final season of London Irish’s 20 year tenure at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday, when local rivals Harlequins visited for the second round of the Premiership Cup.
We started very poorly, allowing a pretty soft try to James Lang when we failed to number up properly in the wide backs defence. However, it was mostly London Irish for the rest of the first half, with some excellent forward pressure causing the Harlequins to concede 2 yellow cards, and when they were down to 13 men we were able to force a try after pounding away on their line through Terence Hepetema. A second try to LI came later on in the half after a horrendous Quins over-thown lineout meant Saia Fainga’a had to just catch it and flop over the line.
A penalty for each side made the halftime score 15-8, and another Harlequins try came halfway through the second half when Gabriel Ibitoye showed huge strength and pace to run through our rather weak defence. Alex Dombrandt then scored another try for Quins with about 10 minutes left, to level the score at 18-18, and in a breathless last 10 minutes we had a try disallowed after brilliant a Ollie Hassell-Collins 50m run, and then finally Brett Herron finally found his range and slotted a penalty for Quins with a couple of minutes left to seal a narrow win for Quins 18-21.
New player watch?
Paddy Jackson looked pretty assured in most of his play, albeit missing a conversion from nearly in front of the posts. His kicking from hand was particularly impressive, and he looked to have extra “time on the ball“ which is usually the sign of a special player.
Curtis Rona had a fairly quiet game, but boshed a couple of good runs up in midfield. He generally made some strong tackles, but struggled to break free from a well marshalled Quins defence.
George Nott looked solid in the lineout, and provided plenty of grunt in the pack, and looked a decent acquisition.
Probably give it to non-stop Blair, closely followed by FVDM.
The crowd was advertised at approximately 3,500 but looked to be a lot less than that, and it was hard not to feel that this last season in Reading is going to be dismally supported. Glos had nearly 10,000 last week at Kingsholm to see their near academy side – so it’s difficult to argue with the logic of the LI move back to London…pqs: qs:
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