The supreme scoreline could seemingly no longer had been the one the returning Exile Nation craved, but the vast majority of the 3 988 crowd in attendance would have faith left the Brentford Community Stadium proud of London Irish’s efforts.
Despite going down 31-12 to reigning European and domestic champions Exeter Chiefs – with Sam Simmonds’ bagging a hat-trick of tries for the visitors – Declan Kidney’s aspect gave totally everything in a keenly-contested Round 19 clash in west London.
On a cool Could furthermore night, the yowl of the crowd greeting the groups as they took to the pitch was a pleasure to perceive, after six months of at the assist of-closed-doorways fixtures.
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That pleasure for the London Irish supporters was short-lived, nevertheless, when – after a good opening – Sam Simmonds crashed over for a seventh minute strive, with out reference to a lengthy TMO.
His brother Joe added the extras, to diagram it 7-0 early on.
Undeterred, the Exiles replied six minutes later with a strive of their very dangle. After a bunch of phases of possession deep in Chiefs territory, Ben Donnell – after one other TMO, that this time seemingly owed as mighty to the orchestrations from the Irish crowd than anything else – went over, with Paddy Jackson together with the conversion to stage complaints.
The rankings were coming thick and fast and midway via the half of, Joe Simmonds seen a gap in midfield, racing determined to touch down within the corner and restore the Chiefs lead.
Play was flowing from end-to-end now, with the heavy pre-match rainfall leading to one or two unforced errors, ensuing in like a flash counters.
Sam Simmonds – as he has been all season lengthy – was a fixed threat, and he touched down for his 2nd and the visitors’ third strive on 25 minutes.
Irish were firmly up towards it, but to their credit ranking, they persisted to ask questions of their very dangle – and they also were rewarded with a reasonably shiny strive on 31 minutes.
Jackson’s deft kick over the top was completely-weighted for the onrushing Ollie Hassell-Collins, who expertly offloaded the ball to Ben Loader to crash over the highway. It was an shiny ranking – and the noise as the winger touched down was something particular too. Wow!
That proved to be the supreme ranking of a spell binding half of, with Exeter keeping a narrow 19-12 advantage at the spoil.
The 2nd duration persisted at an equally frenetic tempo, but disaster struck for Irish eight minutes into the half of when Tom O’Flaherty seized on a moments hesitancy from Loader to dot the ball down.
O’Flaherty was rapidly on the sidelines, nevertheless, shown a yellow card for taking Tom Parton out within the air.
With the numerical advantage, Irish went on the entrance foot straight away, with Jackson’s crossfield kick met by Parton, who – in mid air – unfortunately knocked on with the strive-line at his mercy.
Staunch determined-prick probabilities were few and much between for either aspect even supposing, and with the clock ticking down, Irish had it all to attain, trailing by 12 with ten minutes to play.
The subsequent ranking was repeatedly going to be well-known and it was Exeter – and that man Sam Simmonds again – who got it 9 minutes from time, diving over within the corner to cap a masterful particular person performance and seal the visitors’ victory.
Tries: Donnell, Loader
Tries: S Simmonds (3), J Simmonds, O’Flaherty
Conversions: J Simmonds (3)
15 Tom Parton (James Stokes 68), 14 Ben Loader (Jacob Atkins 72), 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Phil Cokanasiga, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Cleave Phipps (Nic Groom 31), 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke (Facundo Gigena 62), 2 Agustin Creevy (Matt Cornish 61), 3 Lovejoy Chawatama (Ollie Hoskins 45), 4 Chunya Munga (George Nott 45), 5 Assume Simmons, 6 Matt Rogerson (captain), 7 Ben Donnell (George Nott 30) (Sean O’Brien 54), 8 Albert Tuisue
Replacements: 16 Matt Cornish, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 George Nott, 20 Sean O’Brien, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Jacob Atkins, 23 James Stokes
15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Devoto (Ian Whitten 68), 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Joe Simmonds (c), 9 Jack Maunder (Stu Townsend 62); 1 Ben Moon (Alec Hepburn 50), 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Jack Yeandle 58), 3 Harry Williams (Tomas Francis 50), 4 Jannes Kirsten, 5 Sean Lonsdale, 6 Dave Ewers, 7 Jacques Vermeulen (Tom Put 73), 8 Sam Simmonds (Richard Capstick 73)
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Tom Put, 20 Richard Capstick, 21 Stu Townsend, 22 Harvey Skinner, 23 Ian Whitten