Rugby Union: Irish green light

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The Independent Online
Wasps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21

London Irish. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22

LIFE in the Green Party has not been so jolly this winter. In fact, it has been a bitch. London Irish have found themselves stuck at the back of the queue waiting for the signals to change and for a while now the red light must have been blinding.

Not only that, Simon Geoghegan, missing here with a broken toe, is already looking at greener pastures and they do not cover the Second Division, the Ireland wing tearing up his Wasps registration form and signing one instead for a proposed move to Bath. Smart thinking, too, only yesterday at Sudbury it was all systems go for the Irish.

Wasps, meanwhile, have been steering a steady if unspectacular course and only last month beat the Irish 29-14 away in a postponed league fixture. Complacency, though, can be a killer and Wasps - albeit minus some vital components, among them Rob Andrew - found the Irish quite prepared for a desperate survival fight.

Good for them, and what a cracker of a match developed. On a lovely spring day, there was spring in the step and the star of the show wore a green jersey. While the pack refused to die and Rob Saunders played a blinder behind them, Mike Corcoran could hardly be faulted.

He collected all the Irish points and began his work with a magical 40-yard weaving run down the left for a try which he converted. It was with the right boot, however, that the former Chelsea apprentice did the real damage, landing five penalties from seven attempts.

Wasps, in the meantime, saw to it that the exictement level never dropped, Nick Greenstock and Andy Maddock scoring tries, Huw Davies dropping a goal and Maddock adding two penalties and a conversion.

Come the last few minutes and it was desperate stuff. Irish sought to maintain their slim advantage, while Maddock twice fired off penalty attempts and Davies saw his drop shot fall short. Then the Irish could celebrate, hopes of survival still just alive, alive oh.

Wasps: Tries Greenstock, Maddock; Conversion Maddock; Drop goal Davies; Penalties Maddock 2. London Irish: Try Corcoran; Conversion Corcoran; Penalties Corcoran 5.

Wasps: A Maddock; M Adeyemi, N Greenstock, G Childs, L Scrase; H Davies, S Bates; G Holmes, P Delaney, J Probyn, R Kinsey, S O'Leary, M Greenwood, D Ryan (capt), P Scrivener.

London Irish: J Staples; R Hennessey, R Henderson, D Curtis, M Corcoran; S Cathcart, R Saunders; M McCormack, R Kellam, G Halpin, R Sussum, C Hall, J Sharkey, P Collins (capt), C Bird.

Referee: A Spreadbury (Bristol).