Full-time: London Wasps 18 London Irish 13
March 05, 2012
London Irish slipped to their fourth consecutive Aviva Premiership defeat, despite scoring the only try of the game through their impressive winger Sailosi Tagicakibau.
Exiles were beaten by six penalties from Wasps fly-half Nicky Robinson, putting a massive dent in their hopes of finishing high enough in the table to qualify for next season's Heineken Cup.
Steven Shingler, a late call-up at fly-half for Irish after Adrian Jarvis had reported ill, landed two penalties in the first half to ensure his side went in on level terms.
But Robinson, who successfully kicked all but his first attempt at goal in changing conditions of sun, wind and rain, put Wasps 12-6 ahead before Irish hit back in style through Tagicakibau.
Largely starved of possession, the powerful Samoa international greedily seized on a pass before shrugging off two tackles to score an excellent try.
Shingler kicked a difficult conversion from out wide to put Exiles ahead for the first time with just 13 minutes remaining.
But two more penalties from Robinson in the closing stages ensured victory for an injury-hit Wasps side, who eased their relegation fears by ending a run of nine successive league defeats.
London Irish coach Toby Booth said: "I am terribly disappointed for the fans who have come to watch.
"Wasps played with the desperation you would expect and they were good for the win.
"They managed the game and the contact area better than we did and at the set-piece they got the upper hand as well.
"It's a very disappointing performance all round.
"You have to manage what is in front of you and we did not react well enough to the situations we were presented with.
"We forced it a little bit too much in our own half.
"That resulted in set-piece opportunity and the interpretation was that they were dominant there.
"So they got rewarded with a couple of penalties and that changed the game."
Irish now have two weekends off before facing Leicester Tigers in their St Patrick's Party game at Madejski Stadium on March 25.
Booth said: "We cannot sit here and lick our wounds. It is really important that we respond well in that.
"We have had a lot of changes (in personnel) and are going through a period of transition. We need to ride that storm out.
"Players and coaches will have to look at themselves and what they have contributed to this performance because we are all in it."
Booth accepted that Irish did not utilise their back three enough.
He added: "That again comes down to game management.
"You need your key players to have the ball in key areas.
"We just invited too much pressure.
"They piled numbers into breakdowns and we were unable to deal with that well enough.
"The conditions were greasy so you had to be patient about getting the ball wide.
"That brought in how you kicked the ball and when you kicked the ball."
The Exiles' boss added: "There was frustration, but there is certainly not a lack of ambition from people who want to influence the game and do as well as we can for London Irish and get the win column ticking over.
"But it comes down to ability to do that and that is down to game management.
"There are 20 lineouts or scrums, but there are 150 contact areas and we did not manage the contact area well enough or the game well enough."