Lamb puts the boot in to crush Leeds

Leeds 7 London Irish 56
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The Independent Online

Ryan Lamb has been called many things, even in these embryonic weeks of the Guinness Premiership season. There was another at Headingley yesterday: blindside flanker. The top-flight's new boys might have avoided a cricket score had the London Irish fly-half remained there. As it was, after packing down for a defensive scrum following the yellow card for Nick Kennedy, Lamb returned to his pivotal role behind the scrum – and to putting the boot in on the scoreboard front.

Lamb scored 21 points but was merely a functional facilitator in this predictable slaughter, although he did produce one flash of creative magic in the final minute, with a long, whipped pass that gave Sailosi Tagicakibau a walk-over score in the left corner.

On the try front, it was Irish's left winger from Epsom who took the honours, the 15st England Under-20 man Adam Thompstone claiming a second-half hat-trick. Having seen his side pick off 40 points against Gloucester the previous Sunday, Toby Booth, Irish's director of rugby, was a happy man. "It was a very encouraging performance, because we've come to Leeds before and struggled," he said. "This group want to kick on."

Irish had the scoreboard ticking over from the sixth minute yesterday, the back-pedalling home pack conceding a penalty try. Lamb added three penalties before Leeds found a little temporary relief. Flanker Kernan Myall snaffled a Peter Hewat pass on the home 10m line and hared up-field to score. Ceiron Thomas converted, but by the interval Irish were 23-7 up, Tongan No 8 Chris Hala'ufia racing 60 yards to score their second try.

Kennedy was in temporary pitch-side exile soon after, the England lock having aimed a left-hander at Andy Gomarsall. Hala'ufia also spent time in the cooler midway through the second-half, for a high tackle, but that failed to even the contest. Thompstone had Elvis Seveali'i and Peter Richards to thank for the interceptions and feeds that gave him his first and last tries. In between came a bullocking score through the middle. Hala'ufia also dotted down in the right corner for his second try as the home guard crumbled.

Leeds: Try Myall; Conversion Thomas. London Irish: Tries Penalty, Hala'ufia 2, Thompstone 3, Tagicakibau; Conversions Lamb 6; Penalties Lamb 3.

Leeds J Goodridge; R Welding (L Blackett, 53), L Burrell, H Paul, S Armstrong; C Thomas, A Gomarsall (S Mathie, 61); G Hardy, V Ma'asi, J Gomez (T McGee, 53), E Lund, J Pendlebury (capt), K Myall (D Paul, 63), H Fourie (C Clark, 53), A To'oala (P Nilsen, 67).

London Irish P Hewat; A Thompstone, E Seveali'i (P Richards, 53), S Mapasua (C Malone, 68), S Tagicakibau; R Lamb, P Hodgson; D Murphy (C Dermody, 62), J Buckland (D Paice, 53), F Rautenbach (P Ion, 48), N Kennedy, B Casey (capt; A Perry, 53), D Danaher, S Armitage (G Stowers, 58), C Hala'ufia.

Referee R Debney (Leicestershire).

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