Leicester Tigers vs London Irish match report: Tigers’ wounds deepened by deadly Shane Geraghty

Leicester Tigers 19 London Irish 22

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Seldom in the professional era have Leicester had to show the virtues of an India rubber and bounce back from overwhelming defeat. Having had so little practice, they could not do so here and, for the first time in nearly a year, lost successive Premiership matches when Shane Geraghty kicked his fifth penalty  two minutes from time to give Irish their second victory of the season.

Geraghty’s accuracy, coupled with the set-piece experience of his forwards, paved the way for the visitors. In addition, Leicester made so many first-half errors that they could sustain no continuity.

If ever there was a time for London Irish to change their unhappy record at Welford Road (one win since 1923), it was yesterday. A Leicester side shocked by the 45-0 reverse at Bath showed an uncharacteristic uncertainty, reflected in two missed penalty attempts by Freddie Burns. Where Burns was erratic, Geraghty was inch perfect. Two long penalties were the prelude to the conversion of Halani Aulika’s try from a close range line-out maul.

Geraghty’s perfection, however, suffered when he was sent to the sin-bin around half-time, though Leicester could take little advantage. He returned to kick another penalty before Leicester drew level: their initial line-out drive was held before Vereniki Goneva emerged from the maul and crossed unchallenged.


But the loss of Jordan Crane to the sin-bin helped the Irish in the closing quarter. Geraghty edged his side ahead and, although Owen Williams levelled with a 57-metre penalty, Geraghty punished Mathew Tait for handling in a ruck and there was not enough time for Leicester to come back.


Leicester: M Tait; B Scully, V Goneva, O Williams, M Benjamin (R Barbieri, 64); F Burns, B Youngs (captain); T Bristow, L Ghiraldini (N Briggs, 28-34), F Balmain (T Pasquali, 63-68), S de Chaves, G Kitchener, J Gibson (L Pearce, 78), J Salvi, J Crane (sin bin 60-70; M Smith 70).

London Irish: A Fenby; A Lewington, F Mulchrone (E Sheridan, 54), S Geraghty (sin bin 34-44), J Short (T Ojo, 78); C Noakes, S Steele (T O’Leary, 48); T Court (M Parr, 59), D Paice (G Ellis, 78), H Aulika (L Halavatau, 59), G Skivington (captain), J Sinclair (D Leo, 54), K Low, B Cowan, L Narraway (T Guest, 48).

Referee: G Garner (Warwickshire).