Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Booth backs Armitage over tackle

Delon Armitage
Delon Armitage

London Irish head coach Toby Booth defended a first-half incident in his side's 29-22 Aviva Premiership victory over Exeter at the Madejski Stadium which could have landed England star Delon Armitage in more hot water.

Full-back Armitage was on song, with Booth describing his rousing performance as 'great' as Irish put themselves into third place in the table. But Argentinian fly-half Ignacio Mieres was left shaken for a few minutes on the touchline when Armitage clattered into him, with an arm around his head, as the fly-half fielded the ball by his own 22.

Booth said: "He went in for a tackle from behind and, as the player has bent down, he has gone up over the top of him. It is a penalty at most in my opinion. But, as always, because of what has gone before, people will have a closer look."

Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter said: "It certainly dazed him. There is definitely an arm over the top. That is not alleged, you can see that pretty clearly.

"The touch judge was in a pretty good position and he gave his worth on what he thought it was. I'm not too concerned about that, you just have to get on with it and play."

Booth added: "We took our chances and I'm delighted about that. We started exceptionally well, we took the game by the scruff of the neck and the reason why we didn't dictate was probably because the penalty count was two-to-one in their favour.

"We have made life more difficult for ourselves than we needed to but make no bones about it, we are delighted with the outcome. We just could have been a bit smarter.

"What I would say about the contest is that there was a lot of endeavour from both sides and, from a crowd point of view, it would suggest to me that it was an enthralling contest. People were positive and that has to be good for everyone."

Baxter thought his men did well despite losing.

He said: "Ultimately, that first 20 minutes, we didn't play enough. In reality, we are a team which is learning. The only goal we gave ourselves this season was to be better. We came here last year and got nothing, now we have got a losing bonus point. We are just a better side when we go for it."

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