London Irish 40 Gloucester 10By Alan Manicom
September 14, 2009
Toby Booth praised fly-half Ryan Lamb for showing vision and nerve against his old club and orchestrating London Irish’s first Guinness Premiership win of the season.
Lamb kicked four out of five penalty attempts and made all four conversions on his home debut.
It was in stark contrast to his erratic kicking performance in the Exiles’ opening-day defeat by Saracens.
And the 23-year-old’s passing game behind a dominant pack allowed Irish to run Gloucester ragged.
A delighted Booth said: “We brought Ryan for a reason because we thought he was going to implement and add to our attacking game.
“People have questioned his defensive frailty, but his defence was very, very good (against Gloucester) as it was last week (against Saracens).
“The difference this week was that his kicks went over.
“He will admit he is by no means the finished article. But the true merits of a good player and one who wants to be an international is how they bounce back.
“Everyone has bad games in them, but it is important not to have two bad games in a row.
“We are delighted for Ryan Lamb because he was playing against his old club and he wanted to send a message.
“But what is more important is that he showed some of the attributes that are going to be beneficial to London Irish.”
London Irish’s display, though, was overshadowed by an injury to Delon Armitage and a mass punch-up in the closing minutes.
Armitage’s suspected dislocated shoulder is expected to keep him out of action for between three and six weeks.
And there may be some fall-out over the ugly scenes once the RFU’s task force and the citing commissioners study the video footage.
Irish replacement No 8 George Stowers was left bloodied and bruised by punches thrown by Gloucester captain Gareth Delve.
Stowers then found insult added to injury when he was yellow carded along with Delve, reducing Gloucester to 12 men.
As the Exiles’ big Samoan made his way to the sinbin, there was another angry confrontation between Delve and Irish captain Bob Casey, who had been substituted earlier.
Booth said: “I think Bob was reminding him that there is a price to pay. With rugby being what it is and emotions running high, the last thing we needed was another Emmanuel Adebayor incident.”
Gloucester coach Bryan Redpath claimed that Delve has taken exception to what he believed as a cheap shot on Gloucester’s replacement scrum-half Dave Lewis.
He said: “He felt the London Irish player had hit Lewis late.”
But Booth insisted: “George got the 9 and the ball.
“Delve has taken the law into his own hands. That is what the refs and touch judges are there for.
“I am sure there will be repercussions if he has overstepped the mark. But I cannot comment on that.”
Booth added: “George has a cut and a big bruise around the eye area. He was surprised to get a yellow card.
“But you have to have sympathy for the ref, there, if there was retaliation, even in the heat of the moment, because the common sense approach from a ref’s point of view is that if there is a big brawl then two are going.”
Booth believed that the bust-up was sparked by Gloucester’s inability to get a foothold in the match.
He said: “Frustration plays a big part in these things. There was a little bit at the end of the first half.
"It looked like they came out for the second half with a few different intentions. Things looked like they were boiling over.
“They must have been very frustrated with the way Nick Kennedy was disrupting Alex Brown at the line-outs and I thought their scrums were massively under-pumped.”
Gloucester’s Charlie Sharples, Akapusi Qera and Pierre Capdevielle all spent time in the sinbin for a variety of technical or reckless acts.
But Irish were the better side long before their numerical superiority allowed them the chance to widen the winning margin.
They won all their scrums and lineouts, something Gloucester failed to achieve, while their backs were far more inventive.
Delon Armitage and Sailosi Tagicakibau scored tries as Irish raced into a 26-3 half-time lead.
Although Sharples went over for Gloucester, Exiles’ pressure led to a penalty try and Tagicakibau danced around tired tackles late on to bag a bonus point.
Scoring 1st half: 0-3 (Robinson pen), 3-3 (Lamb pen), 8-3 (D Armitage try), 10-3 (Lamb con), 13-3 (Lamb pen), 16-3 (Lamb pen), 21-3 (Tagicakibau try), 23-3 (Lam con).
2nd half: 26-3 (Lamb pen), 26-8 (Sharples try), 26-10 (Robinson con), 31-10 (pen try), 33-10 (Lamb con), 38-10 (Tagicakibau try), 40-10 (Lamb con).
London Irish: 15. D Armitage (rep: P Hewat, 61), 14. A Thompstone, 13. E Seveali’i (rep: P Richards, 53), 12. S Mapusua, 11. S Tagicakibau, 10. R Lamb, 9. P Hodgson (A Lalanne, 75), 1. C Dermody (rep: D Murphy, 61), 2. D Coetzee (rep: J Buckland, 61), 3. P Ion (rep: F Rautenbach, 61) , 4. N Kennedy, 5. B Casey (captain)(rep: A Perry, 63), 6. D Danaher, 7. S Armitage, 8. C Hala’Ufia (sin-bin: 50-60)(rep: G Stowers, 61)(sin-bin: 78 -).
Gloucester: 15. O Morgan, 14. T Voyce, 13. T Molenaar (rep: J Simpson-Daniel, 40), 12. E Fuimaono-Sapolu, 11. C Sharples (sin-bin: 35-45), 10. N Robinson, 9. R Lawson (rep: D Lewis, 63), 1. A Dickinson (rep: N Wood, 40)(rep: A Dickinson, 68), 2. S Lawson, 3. G Somerville (rep: P Capdeville, 40)(rep: G Somerville, 72), 4. D Attwood, 5. A Brown (rep: M Bortolami, 56), 6. A Strokosch, 7. A Hazell (rep: A Qera, 43)(sin-bin: 68-78), 8. G Delve (captain)(sin-bin: 78-).