London Irish 24, London Welsh 9

London Welsh captain Tom May was sent off his side went down to their 11th Aviva Premiership defeat of the season at Reading’s Madejski Stadium Reading yesterday.

The bottom-of-the table clash erupted after 34 minutes when May appeared to lash out with a swinging elbow.

London Irish replacement Dan Leo initially appeared to be defending himself, but having grappled May to the floor, he punched the Welsh centre.

Both players were shown red cards after referee Greg Garner had consulted the television match official (TMO).

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It was a close game until the sendings-off, but after the interval, the home pack dominated their opponents to secure a 24-9 victory, which leaves winless Welsh 13 points adrift at vthe bottom of the table.

In a game of poor quality, Alex Lewington, Geoff Cross and Tom Court scored tries for the Irish with Tom Homer converting all three and kicking a penalty.

Three penalties from Will Robinson were Welsh’s sole response.

Both sides made sweeping changes following heavy defeats last weekend.

Irish, who crashed 48-16 at Wasps, made five changes , with lock Nic Rouse returning after injury and Shane Geraghty switching to centre to accommodate Chris Noakes at fly-half.

Welsh changed seven after their 78-7 hammering at Saracens, with Nick Scott included on the wing and Dean Schofield in the second row.

Irish had the better of a dreary opening but Homer missed two penalties, one from halfway.

After 15 minutes, Welsh made their first trip into the opposition half and took the lead when Robinson made no mistake with an excellent kick from 50 metres out.

Irish equalised through Homer’s penalty after Welsh fly half Piri Weepu was penalised for a high tackle.

After 29 minutes, Irish scored the first try. A chip ahead by Geraghty bounced awkwardly for the visitors’ defence, and Fergus Mulchrone collected to send Lewington in for the try which Homer converted.

Lock Leo, who had temporarily replaced Kieran Low just before Lewington’s try, then departed along with May following their bust-up.

Robinson kicked his second penalty for Welsh, but the hosts looked to have extended their lead when another chip from Geraghty was pounced upon by Topsy Ojo for the wing to touch down.

However the replay showed Ojo to be just in front of the kicker so the try was ruled ou, leaving Irish with a 10-6 lead at the interval.

Irish took off Noakes at half-time, replacing him with flanker Conor Gilsenan to strengthen their forward unit as Geraghty switched from centre to fly-half.

This paid dividends as the Irish pack continued to be in control and were rewarded when prop Cross forced his way over from close range for a try which Homer converted.

Robinson kicked his third penalty to make it 17-9 at the end of the third quarter, Irish clinched victory when Court finished off a line-out drive for their third try which Homer again converted to ensure Welsh are still seeking their first victory at the halfway stage of the season.

London Irish: Homer, Ojo, Mulchrone, Geraghty, Lewington, Noakes (Gilsenan 41), Steele (O’Leary 65), Court (Halavatau 79), Paice, Cross (Aulika 58), Skivington, Rouse, Low (Leo 26), Cowan, Sinclair (Sheridan 79). Reps not used: Allen, Fenby
London Welsh: Robinson, Kear, May, Jewell, Scott; Weepu (Stegmann 62), Lewis, Trevett (Reeves 52), Vella (Morris 68), Vea, Down, Schofield (Pienaar 66), McCaffrey (Browne 52), Kirwan, Fenua. Reps not used: Cooper, Rowley, Tincknell.
Referee: G Garner.
Attendance: 7,097.


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