Sailosi Tagicakibau is not just a mouthful, he is also a handful, as the London Irish match-winner demonstrated against bottom-of-the-table Worcester yesterday.
With three minutes left the Exiles won a line-out. The ball was moved out to the centre Seilala Mapusua, who slung out a perfect double miss-pass to Delon Armitage. The full-back, who had spent 10 minutes in the sin-bin for a trip on Marcel Garvey, was powerful enough to stay on his feet, turn and deliver a perfect offload for Tagicakibau.
The Samoan swatted aside the former All Black wing Rico Gear and another defender to score. Armitage kicked the conversion. Worcester, without a Premiership win this season, did earn themselves a losing bonus point.
Until Tagicakibau's intervention the match, played in chill, swirling fog, was disjointed at best. There were times when it looked as if none of the players had the foggiest how to finish things off. Even hanging on to the ball looked difficult. If it had been oil the spillages would have constituted an ecological disaster.
Irish began promisingly, the prop Richard Skuse burrowing through a tangle of bodies in the fifth minute for his first try for the club. Armitage converted and exchanged penalties with Shane Drahm as Worcester did not let the Exiles slip too far ahead.
Drahm landed another penalty on the stroke of half-time and five minutes after the interval Worcester were ahead, thanks to their other major New Zealand signing. Sam Tuitupou took advantage of Armitage's enforced absence to run a great line off Drahm and touch down under the posts. Drahm converted.
On his return, Armitage more than made up for his transgression by landing two more penalties and then setting up Tagicakibau for the winning try.
London Irish: Tries Skuse, Tagicakibau; Conversions D Armitage 2; Penalties D Armitage 3. Worcester: Try Tuitupou; Conversion Drahm; Penalties Drahm 3.
London Irish: D Armitage; T Ojo, G Tiesi, S Mapusua, S Tagicakibau; S Geraghty, P Richards (P Hodgson, 61); C Dermody (T Lae'aetoa, 61), D Paice, R Skuse, N Kennedy (J Hudson, 77), B Casey (capt), D Danaher, S Armitage (J Leguizamon, 70), P Murphy (R Thorpe, 61).
Worcester: C Pennell (T Delport, 65); R Gear, D Rasmussen, S Tuitupou, M Garvey; S Drahm, M Powell; M Mullan, A Lutui, T Taumoepeau, G Rawlinson, C Gillies, N Talei (D Hickey, 75), P Sanderson (capt), K Horstmann.
Referee: A Rowden (Berkshire).Reuse content