Guinness Premiership round-up: Vainikolo try helps Gloucester thump Irish

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The Independent Online

London Irish suffered a damaging 34-20 defeat by Gloucester at Kingsholm yesterday. The result means that the Exiles, who reached last year's Guinness Premiership Final, are unlikely to make the top four again.

Gloucester were 27-3 in front at half-time, thanks to tries by Lesley Vainikolo and James Simpson-Daniel and five penalties and a conversion from Nicky Robinson. Kieran Roche, Steffon Armitage and Dan Murphy scored second-half tries for Irish, one converted by the former Gloucester No 10 Ryan Lamb, and Tom Homer kicked a penalty. Alasdair Dickinson scored a second-half try for Gloucester, which was converted by Robinson.

"Obviously, you want to be in the play-offs," said the Irish head coach, Toby Booth. "If you want to be a consistent top-four team, as we do, you have to deal with the expectation. But we have played poorly at times and not got results."

Gloucester's Bryan Redpath, said: "We've got to go to Worcester now in two weeks' time and prove we are a side who should be in the top six. We regrouped from the middle of December and we've done reasonably well since then.

"It's a case of ifs and buts, I guess, but we will look at the here and now and we've got a big challenge in two weeks' time.

At Welford Road the leaders, Leicester, thumped Harlequins 40-22 after trailing by a point at half-time. Thanks to Northampton's defeat by Saracens, the Tigers are guaranteed to finish top of the regular-season table and play a home quarter-final against the team who finish fourth.

Toby Flood orchestrated things from fly-half for Leicester, scoring a try and kicking four conversions and four penalties. Ben Youngs and Matt Smith also scored and the Tigers were awarded a penalty try. Danny Care, George Lowe and Joe Marler scored tries for Quins and Rory Clegg kicked two conversions and a drop-goal.

Leicester's head coach, Richard Cockerill, said: "It's very pleasing to finish top of the table but we haven't won anything yet so we have to keep focused."

The Harlequins director of rugby, Conor O'Shea, said: "I thought we were magnificent and if we can continue to play with that intensity we will finish in the top four next season."


In the Magners League, the Ospreys made sure of their play-off place with a 15-11 win over Munster at Thomond Park. The Irish side’s losing bonus point helped in their attempt to stay ahead of the Cardiff Blues and Edinburgh in fourth place