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Exiles relieve relegation pressure

London Irish took a huge step towards Aviva Premiership survival with a deserved 30-19 win over high-flying Wasps at the Madejski Stadium.

Buoyed by an outstanding performance from number eight Chris Hala'ufia and 20 points from the boot of Tom Homer, they turned around a 16-11 deficit to finish comfortably on top.

With this win Irish will be strong favourites to avoid the drop as they have fellow strugglers London Welsh, Sale and Worcester as their three remaining home fixtures.

Two Homer penalties had the Exiles 6-0 but a Stephen Jones penalty put Wasps on the scoreboard before a quick piece of thinking from Ian Humphreys saw Irish score the first try. They were awarded a penalty in front of the visitors' posts which the alert Humphreys took quickly to enable Shane Geraghty to force his way over.

Wasps steadily grew in confidence to dominate the last 15 minutes of the half with two penalties from Jones reducing the arrears before Christian Wade put the visitors in front by evading two tackles to squeeze in at the corner for a try which Jones converted.

Just before half-time Homer kicked his third penalty but Irish still trailed 16-14 at the break.

Soon after the restart, Irish suffered a double blow when Hala'ufia was yellow-carded for a dangerous challenge on hooker Rhys Thomas with Jones kicking the resulting penalty.

Irish did not suffer in the absence of Hala'ufia however as the only score during that period was a fourth penalty from Homer.

However, on his return, Hala'ufia immediately inspired Irish, making a powerful run to send Ofisa Treviranus away to create a try for Marland Yarde which Homer converted.

Homer then kicked another penalty to give the hosts a 27-19 lead going into the final quarter, and despite a few late positional changes from Wasps as they tried to recover, Homer made the points safe for the Exiles with a late penalty.


From Belfast Telegraph