|London Irish (19) 29|
|Try: Hassell Collins, Cunningham South cons: Jackson 2 Pens: jackson 5|
|Muslims (10) 20|
|Try: Beveletti, Maitland cons: Pharrell 2 Pens: Pharrell 2|
London Irish side survived a spell with just 12 men to hand the Arabs their first Premier League defeat in a thrilling contest.
Ole Hassell Collins and Chandler Cunningham crossed South for the Irish and Buddy Jackson kicked 19 points, as both sides saw red on high tackles.
Jackson landed five penalties to punish an undisciplined Surrey and converted both scores as the Irish held out.
Scrappy Sarries crossed paths with Kapeli Pifeleti and Sean Maitland.
Exiles captain Adam Coleman went into the opening of the 40th when his shoulder connected with Tom Wollstencroft’s hooker head, while Saracen Ben Earl’s failure to turn and connect with the header also saw him off in the first half which lasted nearly an hour.
Wollstencroft had to leave after the heavy blow, but only after rugby match manager McCall said he was “awake”.
Despite suffering defeat, Surrey remain 10 points clear of second place Sale was beaten at Newcastle.
Having narrowly missed out on defeats at the hands of Leicester, Exeter, Harlequins and Gloucester by less than five points, Declan Kidney will be happy to see the Irish on the right side of the scoreboard.
It was just their third win of the season, and it was the product of great heart and determination to knock out the league leaders and deny them their forfeit bonus point.
Not only did they get Coleman a red card, but within minutes of Rory Jennings and Rob Simmons they were down to 12 – and they also overcame the loss of Will Joseph to injury, which left them trailing for the better part of the match.
They dominated the batting range, sprinting past the visitors’ checkout line and forcing a slew of free kicks into the scrum, with Jackson’s half chipping away at the back of their advantage with a solid carry.
Hassell Collins’ bump and spin resulted wide as a result of sharp hands on the back of the field position created by a sensational kick from Ben Loader, while a raging Tom Pearson ran late in the stat set for Cunningham-South.
However, it was a defensive mentality, in the face of some fierce attacks, that helped the hosts cross the line, thwarting a Saracen side who won their first nine Premier League matches of the season.
Although it was their first league game since November, Mark McColl’s Surrey side had their European exams against Edinburgh and Lyon in recent weeks.
But at Brentford, set-piece problems hurt them, while a stellar full-back side of Elliott Daly, Owen Farrell and Alex Good could not provide enough threat when the numerical advantage was with them.
Peveleti cut his way past an Exiles penalty just before the break, while Daly’s goalkeeper Lucio Cente fouled Maitland’s score.
In the end, despite getting to the score, the Irish kept them at arm’s length for a priceless victory.
London Irish director of rugby Declan Kidney told BBC Radio:
“It was a game to watch, lots of ebbs and flows, what happened there really took me by surprise. We were knocking on the door, but we got a little bit of a payoff tonight. You get to look at some of the pivotal points in a match and there were a lot of them tonight which made it so entertaining .
“The players are a pleasure to work with. Tonight we’ve stopped them over the line, let go of goal, and give up an attacking position. But these little things make a big difference.
“You have to learn to win, Muslims know how to win. We are learning how to win, and we showed a lot of what we learned tonight. One swallow doesn’t make for a summer, but I’m just happy for everyone in the organization because there’s been a little adversity. Everyone’s team effort has been great.”
Mark McCall, Director of Rugby for Muslims, told BBC Radio in London:
Hats off to the London Irish, they were by far the better team and they deserved their win.
“We seemed to be out of the game from the start, never playing with the energy and clear minds we usually have. We seemed disoriented and distracted.
“We were in their goal, they’re down to 12 men and you have to find a way to score in that situation – for whatever reason we haven’t.”
London Irish: loader. Sinti, Joseph, Van Rensburg, Hasel Collins; Jackson, Wyatt Godric-Clark, Willems, Hoskins, Ratoniarawah, Coleman (captain), Gonzalez, Pearson, Vasu.
Alternatives: Ruiz, Fichte, Parker, Monga, Simons, Cunningham-South, Inglefield, Jennings.
Sen Bin: Jennings (60), Simmons (61)
red card: Coleman (15)
Muslims: Judd Lewington, Daly, Tompkins, Maitland; Farrell (Capt), Van Zyl; Revelation M, Woolstencroft, Riccione, East, Tizard, Christie, Earle, B Revell
Alternatives: Beveletti, Hislop, Bellew, Kitchener, Ray, Davies, Howlett, Malins
red card: Earl (29)
to rule: Matthew Carly
#London #irish #muslim #thriller #red