London Irish vs Saracens match report: Billy Vunipola has the final say

Saracens 36 London Irish 32: England number 8 breaks Irish's heart as Sarries battle from the brink once again

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The Independent Online

A last-minute try by Billy Vunipola from a driving maul saved Saracens’ unbeaten record just as a rejuvenated London Irish had seemed set to pull off a remarkable comeback win from 20-7 down.

Irish’s flying wing Alex Lewington was their hero, scoring a hat-trick of tries. Blair Cowan also crossed, the impressive Shane Geraghty kicking the rest of the points.

Saracens were ahead after only 50 seconds when Vunipola’s charge created a try for Tim Streather. Owen Farrell converted and added a penalty, but Irish responded with an excellent try by Blair after Geraghty’s clever chip.

Sarries scored a second try when Richard Wigglesworth spotted a gap to run 25 metres, Farrell converting for 20-7.


Irish wouldn’t lie down, though, and it became the Lewington show as he crossed three times, first from a Chris Noakes cross-kick, then when racing on to Scott Steele’s chip, and finally when racing away from three defenders.

Goode kicked two penalties for the visitors to tie the scores at 29-29 but he missed other chances before Vunipola’s late effort, converted by Hodgson, broke Irish hearts.


London Irish: A Fenby; A Lewington, F Mulchrone, S Geraghty, J Short; C Noakes, S Steele; T Court, D Paice, H Ailika, G Skivington (capt), J Sinclair, B Cowan, O Treviranus (K Low), L Narraway.

Saracens: A Goode; C Ashton, T Streather, B Barritt, C Wyles; O Farrell, R Wigglesworth; R Gill, J Gerge, K Longbottom, J Hamilton, A Hargreaves (capt), E Joubert, J Burger, B Vunipola.

Referee: Luke Pearce (RFU).