London Irish stun Saracens
February 8, 2014
Saracens found life hard against London Irish © Getty Images
London Irish stunned Saracens winning 22-13 in the Aviva Premiership at Allianz Park.
The Exiles had won just one of their last six matches against Sarries but led 22-8 at the break thanks to tries from Matt Parr, Alex Lewington and George Skivington. Saracens had led briefly through Marcelo Bosch's try in the 13th minute but - despite London Irish twice being reduced temporarily to 14 men with Furgus Mulchrone and Blair Cowan shown yellow - the league leaders failed to build any momentum.
Schalk Brits' try five minutes before the end gave them hope but Charlie Hodgson failed with the conversion attempt as Irish ran out deserved winners.
Samu Manoa scored a try three minutes from time as Northampton took full advantage of Saracens' defeat to go top of the league with a 17-16 win over Exeter, their ninth victory in a row.
Tries from James Wilson and Manoa had been just reward for a successful opening spell from the Saints, but three Gareth Steenson penalties meant they held a slender 10-9 lead at half-time. The home side came out swinging after the break and had soon crossed the whitewash themselves, with Dave Lewis going over to put Exeter out in front after GJ van Velze had been sent to the sin-bin for Northampton.
The Saints rallied in the closing stages but it looked as though they had missed their chance to go top of the table, only for Manoa to crash over from close range under the posts with time running out, giving Stephen Myler the simplest of conversions and he held his nerve to score.
Bath huffed and puffed their way to a 24-6 win over Newcastle Falcons to help cement third place in the league.
Tries from Horacio Agulla, Leroy Houston and Francois Louw, all converted by George Ford, secured the points in the 24-6 win but it was a far from convincing performance. Phil Godman's two penalties edged the Falcons into a 6-3 lead early in the second half before Bath's power game wrestled the initiative away.
Ford misses a host of penalties in the first-half as the conditions wrecked havoc with the place kicks but it was Bath who crossed first, though they had to wait until after the break. Agulla, who replaced the injured Nick Abendanon profited from good work from Ford to dart in after 48 minutes. Houston crossed five minutes later with Louw rounding off the win in the final stages of the game.
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