Lamb guides Exiles to win
Ryan Lamb punished his former club with an immaculate goal-kicking display as London Irish climbed to second place in the Aviva Premiership with a 23-16 win over Gloucester.
The Exiles fly-half booted 13 points through a five from five return, condemning Gloucester to their second defeat in three starts this term.
Hooker James Buckland and number eight George Stowers, who was sent off during last weekend's narrow loss at Bath, added tries in each half to leave Irish three points behind unbeaten leaders Northampton. Irish once again look title play-off material, even at this early stage of proceedings, yet Gloucester could find themselves facing a long, hard winter.
Lamb and Nicky Robinson exchanged early penalties but Irish looked dangerous from the outset, cleverly mixing their running and kicking games before Gloucester's defence was unlocked after 19 minutes.
Precision passing by the Irish backs stretched Gloucester in all directions before flanker Declan Danaher delivered a scoring ball to Buckland and Lamb converted for a 10-3 lead.
Robinson cut the deficit through his second penalty soon after and he completed his penalty hat-trick at the beginning of the second half, while Lamb's strike after Irish's forwards were held over Gloucester's line restored a four-point advantage.
Irish eagerly attempted to inject some urgency, sparked by scrum-half Paul Hodgson's darting breaks in front of watching England attack coach Brian Smith, and with Gloucester's discipline showing signs of fraying, another Lamb penalty made it 16-9.
Seilala Mapusua stormed into Gloucester territory, and when quick ball was rifled out to the Irish backs wing Johnathan Joseph found an unmarked Stowers, who blasted through Robinson's challenge.
Lamb added the extras, and with Irish safe on the scoreboard they began to rediscover the attacking enterprise that has become a trademark under their coaching team of Toby Booth and Mike Catt.
Gloucester, in contrast, lost their shape and composure despite the consolation try as the pressure is now inevitably cranked up on head coach Bryan Redpath prior to next Saturday's appointment with Wasps.