Monday 19 February 2018

Exiles hit summit

London Irish returned to the summit of the Aviva Premiership as a last-gasp try from winger Jonathan Joseph secured the bonus point in a 39-26 victory over Sale Sharks at the Madejski Stadium yesterday.

The Exiles looked to have blown the chance of replacing Northampton, who went top on Saturday, at the top after an unlikely comeback from Sale.

The Sharks had looked finished after Ryan Lamb, Joseph and George Stowers had run in tries to help Irish establish a 26-6 lead as the final quarter loomed.

But instead of probing for the bonus point needed to overhaul Northampton, the Exiles were forced to mount a desperate rearguard action.

Sale's fightback began with a 58th-minute try from Anitelea Tuilagi before Ben Cohen added a second shortly after.

With out-half Nick MacLeod producing a faultless kicking display -- he finished with 16 points -- Irish were left glancing nervously at a scoreboard that read 26-26.

But Joseph intercepted Chris Jones' pass deep into injury-time to secure the bonus point after two late penalties from Lamb.

Lewis Moody prepared for England's clash with New Zealand next Saturday by playing the full 80 minutes as Bath drew 6-6 at Harlequins.

The points were shared after Quins out-half Nick Evans and Bath centre Olly Barkley landed two penalties apiece at the Stoop.

In yesterday's other game, Leeds Carnegie slumped to their seventh successive Premiership defeat as Wasps returned to winning ways with a 17-8 victory at Headingley.

Irish Independent

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