London Irish vs Edinburgh Rugby, Sat, 12/12/2015 - 15:00

With wholesale changes to the lineup that put up a strong performance in defeat to Ulster last week, today’s match was not only a chance for head coach Alan Solomons to test the club’s strength in depth but also an opportunity for a number of players to put their hands up for a place in the starting team.

Head coach Alan Solomons said: “It was a very disappointing performance and our strength in depth was found wanting.

“Our kicking game was poor and our inability to finish was key.

“We must have had five opportunities to score and didn’t take them. All credit to London Irish, they deserved to win.”

A sparky opening ten minutes saw the visitor unsettle the opposition and force errors, resulting in two neatly taken penalties by Greig Tonks, at stand-off. Ultimately these were the only points Edinburgh would score at the Madejski.

Within a minute of the restart from the second penalty, Irish winger Fenby took his chance with a fumbled pass and broke 30m down the park to cross, the conversion wide. Before Edinburgh’s defence had time to regroup, Fenby had spotted the gap again and ran the line to score three minutes later, Geraghty ensuring the conversion this time.

Just shy of 20 minutes, Edinburgh had regained their mojo and a good passge of play saw the ball out wide to centre Michael Allen. Irish infringed at the ensuing breakdown and Tonks lined up another penalty. This time it just skirted the uprights, however.

With just six points between the sides, Katoa broke up the wing and threw the ball wide, Fife kicking ahead and looking like he would ground the ball on the other side of the whitewash. However the referee had spotted a knock-on and pulled the sides back.

A moment of confusion at the breakdown, approaching the half hour, gave the home side an opportunity for a third score. A gap in the defence opened up and Lewington crossed, Geraghty adding the extras, to make it 19-6.

Despite a couple of promising passages of play, mainly involving Ritchie and Watson, it was Irish who scored again, on half time, to secure the bonus point, Williams crossing in the corner and Geraghty getting the luck of the rebound off the uprights to make it 26-6 at the break. Just seconds before an offside by Tonks earned him a yellow card and a longer break at half time.

Hidalgo-Clyne replacing Fowles was the only change going into the second half. Forays into the Irish half came to nothing though no further points were given while Edinburgh were a man down. Magnus Bradbury replaced Ritchie, Simon Berghan came on for Andress and Damien Hoyland replaced Brown around the 50-minute mark.

With both sides at fault for slipped passes and missed tackles, it was a challenge to see where the next score would come from however it was Irish who seized the next opportunity as Tikiorotuma dotted down.

Going into the closing ten minutes George Turner came on for Watson and Blair Kinghorn replaced Fife, after the latter had nearly crossed in the corner, collecting a chip ahead.

Two minutes before the whistle another combination of missed tackle and loose pass opened up the line for man of the match Fenby to secure his hat-trick, the extras added to make it 38-6.

Drawing a line under the encounter Solomons added: “There must be no excuses, the performance was unacceptable.”

Team lineups

London Irish
Edinburgh Rugby

Backs

15 Sean Maitland
14 Alex Lewington
13 Aseli Tikoirotuma
12 Johnny Williams
11 Andrew Fenby
10 Shane Geraghty
9 Brendan McKibbin

Backs

Forwards

1 Tom Court
2 Gerard Ellis
3 Ben Franks
4 Eoin Sheriff
5 Jebb Sinclair
6 Luke Narraway
7 Conor Gilsenan
8 Ofisa Treviranus

Substitutes

16 Jimmy Stevens
17 Tom Smallbone
18 Leo Halavatau
19 David Sisi
20 Blair Cowan
21 Darren Allinson
22 Theo Brophy
23 Dom Waldouck
Man of the match: 
Fenby

European Rugby Challenge Cup 2015/16 table

PosTeamPWLDPts
1Grenoble651022
2London Irish633017
3Edinburgh Rugby642017
4Agen60602