BARRY IRVING looks set for a glowing future with London Scottish and Scotland after organising a surprise victory over Saracens on his club debut at a rain-swept Vicarage Road yesterday.
As Saracens, aiming for second place in the Allied Dunbar Premiership, lost their international half-backs Kyran Bracken and Alain Penaud with injuries early on, Irving, the Exiles' fourth-choice No 10 at the start of the season, scored one of Scottish's three second-half tries.
Irving, from Sevenoaks in Kent, said: "I managed to thrive today. I faced international back-rows before when I played for our second team against Harlequins. The Saracens back-row might all be internationals but they are humans and not machines."
Irving, who will be 19 this week, has a Scottish father and a half-Scottish mother and was snapped up by Scotland's Under-18 team last season.
John Steele, the Exiles coach, was thrilled with the victory and said: "We have one of the best defensive and disciplinary records in the Premiership and our style held up magnificently today."
Saracens saw off an ominous start by the visitors during which Rob Hunter, Conan Sharman and Irving came within a yard of scoring and they took the lead in the 30th minute when Brendon Daniel side-stepped over after a break by Ryan Constable.
Gavin Johnson converted, but the scoring dried up and Iain McAusland's penalty in first-half injury time was the first of four Scottish scores without reply.
Scottish went ahead with a try six minutes into the second half when Ian Bonney, Sharman and try-scorer Kenny Milligan hacked the ball all the way downfield.
McAusland converted and added the points to Irving's try eight minutes from time. That put his side 17-7 ahead and the evergreen lock Mick Watson went over two minutes from time for his side's third try.
Bracken seems likely to be out of action for three weeks after being taken to hospital for an x-ray on his cheekbone.
Saracens: Tries Daniel; Conversion Johnson. London Scottish: Tries Irving, Milligan, M Watson; Conversions I McAusland 3; Penalties I McAusland.
Saracens: Johnson; Daniel, Constable, Ravenscroft, R Wallace; Penaud (Singer, h-t), Bracken (Free, 4); Flatman (Reidy, 68), Chuter, P Wallace, Johns (Chesney, 49), Grewcock, Coker, Diprose, Pienaar.
London Scottish: McAusland; Milligan, Bonney, Eriksson, Sharman (Davis, 64); Irving, Easterby; Johnstone, Rudham (Cummins 73), Burnell, Jones, Watson, Fenn, Hunter, Holmes.
Referee: R Goodliffe (Yorkshire).
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