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Irish play-off hopes still alive

London Irish maintained their hopes of obtaining an Aviva Premiership play-off place by defeating London Wasps 25-12 in an error-ridden encounter at the Madejski Stadium.

Irish remain in fifth position as they seek to overtake Northampton or Gloucester to secure that spot.

Toby Booth, the Irish coach, said afterwards "We are delighted with the win. We are very difficult to beat at home. The play-off spot is not in our hands. We've relinquished control of that, but we must put our best foot forward. We've got to start winning on the road, beginning with Sale at the Reebok in a fortnight's time.

Wasps put in a better performance than in last week's heavy defeat at Northampton. They led 12-3 early on, but then fell away badly, allowing the Irish pack to dominate and giving away frequent penalties which resulted in home wing Tom Homer kicking six from eight attempts.

Booth praised Wasps for their start, saying: "We've got to give them credit. They were camped in our half for the first 15 minutes and we couldn't get the ball. It was a test of character for us and we showed good resilience to get a foothold back in the game".

Leon Holden, the Wasps director of rugby, said afterwards "I thought it was going to be our day.

"Our defence and set-piece was very good and we played all the rugby in the first half and got no reward. I was disappointed with all the penalties but it was much more encouraging and we got stuck into our work a lot more".

Unfortunately for Wasps, they lost lively centre Dominic Waldouck with a serious injury in the first half, with the centre splitting an Achilles tendon which could put him out of the game for up to a year.

Wasps cannot now qualify for next season's Heineken Cup unless they win the Challenge Cup, with a quarter-final at the Stoop against Harlequins on Friday coming up.

On that, Holden added: "It's a huge must win game. We'll only have one training run on Wednesday so with all the injuries it'll all be down to good old-fashioned guts"


From Belfast Telegraph