Exiles underline Irish love of a challenge


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The Independent Online

If England already sufficiently aware of the challenge facing them in Dublin his afternoon, London Irish offered another example of a Green triumph out of adversity with a remarkable 29-16 victory over title-chasing Saracens in rugby union's Aviva Premiership.

Sale's 21-16 defeat of Exeter on Friday night had put them right on the heels of the Exiles at the foot of the table, but Brian Smith's men came up with the most unlikely of ripostes courtesy of a second-half surge. They claimed only their fourth league victory of the season thanks to tries by Shane Geraghty and Ofisa Treviranus, who benefited from Topsy Ojo's kick ahead as Saracens, pushing desperately for victory, gave the ball away. Tom Homer, who had kept pace with Charlie Hodgson's kicking in the first half, finished up with five penalties and two conversions.

Leicester took full advantage of Sarries' slip as Adam Thompstone scored two tries to steer them to a comfortable 28-12 victory over London Welsh. Dan Bowden also went over for a try and George Ford kicked two conversions and three penalties. All the Welsh could manage in reply was four penalties by George Ford.

At the Rec, Bath cut loose after the break to coast to a 32-9 victory, and a welcome bonus point, over Worcester.

After tries by Peter Stringer and Rob Webber in the first half, Tom Biggs added another and Horacio Agulla two more as Tom Heathcote, taking over the kicking from the wayward Stephen Donald, contributed a couple of conversions.

Johnny May scored two tries – Gloucester's first in four Premiership matches – and Rob Cook amassed 17 points as the Cherry and Whites won 27-11 at Northampton to move above their rivals in the table.

And if England needed any other bad omens for this afternoon, Alison Miller scored a hat-trick as Ireland's women stunned England, the seven-time defending Six Nations champions, with a 25-0 victory to record their second win of the campaign.