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Smith hails 'best win of season'

London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith hailed his side's best win of the season after they became the first team to beat Saracens at Allianz Park in a regular Aviva Premiership match.

Irish saw two men sin-binned in the first half but still led 22-8 at the break thanks to tries from Matt Parr, Alex Lewington and George Skivington.

Marcelo Bosch's try had given Sarries an early lead and while Schalk Brits crossed the line five minutes before the end of the match they failed to overhaul the Exiles.

And Smith, whose side are now comfortably clear of bottom side Worcester Warriors, claimed their fourth win of the Premiership season was their best.

"It's the best win of the season," he said. "Sarries are a quality outfit - their line speed, defence and heat they put on the ball in every tackle situation - and they are a champion team at the top of their game.

"We came into the game with a very simple plan but we had to execute it. We knew if we were to have a chance today we would have to out work them and because they're a massive work- rate team.

"We deserved the win but that five-minute patch where we scored those two tries swung the whole contest in our favour as until then everything had been going to script for them by going into the wind first half."

Saracens' hold on top spot is now vulnerable with Northampton Saints able to take over as leaders should they get the required result against Exeter Chiefs.

And Sarries director of rugby Mark McCall admitted his side needed to strike when Irish were twice reduced to 14 men.

"The result is disappointing. With five minutes to go till half-time it was 10-8 and we were going to have the wind in the second half and I think we would have taken that," he said.

"But then we lost 12 points in the last three minutes before half-time and that gave us a mountain to climb.

"We dominated the first 20 to 25 minutes of the game. We had a lot of lineouts and scrums five metres from their line.

"The referee gave a couple of yellow cards in that period. Clearly you want to come away with some points like we have done all season but we couldn't do it."

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