The London Irish opened their 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership account with a more than convincing performance against Worcester Warriors at Gtech Community Stadium, winning 45-14.
Seven magnificent tries were scored that day by Declan Kidney’s side, with Ben Donnell the man who led the Irish with more tries from Ben White and Ollie Hassell-Collins giving them a 19-0 lead at half-time.
Henry Arundell’s introduction only extended the procession of exiles further, grabbing the try bonus with another sensational, globe-trotting, sensational score from his first touch.
The substitute recorded another to conclude proceedings with the clock in the red, with fellow internationals Will Joseph and Agustín Creevy scoring tries themselves during an attacking rugby display at Gtech.
Worcester posed defensive questions to the Irish in the opening five minutes, using lively phase play which was only improved by the Irish’s resolute set which concluded with a Worcester double move, after an excellent tackle by Ollie Hassell-Collins.
Two contact detectors from Paddy Jackson propelled Irish into promising positions, but Will Joseph was contacted to end Irish’s hopes for the time being.
Curtis Rona’s hand kick was stopped by a recovery tackle, Worcester were then on the breakaway and were met by another impressive effort from Hassell-Collins on the ground, chasing to regain Irish footing once again. more.
Hassell-Collins also demonstrated his ability with the ball in hand, cutting across the face of the pitch perpendicular to Irish’s attacking move to expose space in the Warriors’ backline and find Benhard van Rensburg.
The South African then found his midfield partner Rona in a fluid numerical ascent into the Irish backs, the Australian connecting with Ben Donnell who headed a fantastic line of support to cut the ball up the field for the brand academy product – Jackson adding conversion.
The Exiles put on a broken show, Facundo Gigena seizing the ball beautifully to stop the opposing teams’ progress in midfield.
It was the aforementioned full-backs involved who this time incorporated Will Joseph, with the England international delivering the killing blow in the form of an incisive ball inside scrum-half Ben White to point, with Jackson making no mistake.
A penalty conceded in their own half by Worcester only got worse when official Wayne Barnes ran them back 10 yards, with the Irish duly forcing a touchdown in hopes of scoring their third goal.
The Irish’s skilful interplay saw them do just that – working from right to left with a cutting edge pass from Curtis Rona proving decisive in his side’s progress, James Stokes finding fellow full-back Hassell-Collins swerved. smashing through three tackles to land in the left corner.
Worcester were not unanswered, only for an Alex Hearle shot they were yards away from the whitewash, and another Gareth Simpson spill rewarded Irish.
A few disagreements between the teams, with the penalty initially awarded to Worcester after a solid first half in the Exiles set-piece, saw Barnes reverse his decision after a post-scramble altercation.
The Irish would once again have their way to the scrum, this time turning the ball over in another massive display before half-time.
The Warriors’ Cameron Nield was penalized for playing the ball shortly after play resumed, but the Irish were unable to capitalize and bring home a try bonus after a forward from Donnell.
The Exiled Nation were rewarded for their patience with a Trial for the Ages, enjoying the advantage after Worcester collapsed a maul with Jackson finding Hassell-Collins on the wing.
The form flyer got ahead but was deflected – that was no problem for the recently introduced Henry Arundell however, making up for the lack of football this weekend with an impressive half-volley forward to collect the milk of lime and conclude the trial bonus.
The Irish, never complacent, had the proverbial tail up, Jackson’s sublime error locating a surging Donnell but the flanker’s offload could not be salvaged.
Talk about impact subs, Danilo Fischetti’s first involvement contributed to another scrum win for the Exiles and the Irish were back in the corner.
While there was nothing for the Irish to do out of the rolling maul, a punch from Worcester played into the hands of the Irish with Joseph dancing through a gap to reach out and land in a throwback. home crowned for the club’s first capped English stars in a decade.
The Warriors earned their first five points of the afternoon with 15 minutes remaining thanks to former Irishman Curtis Langdon, who ducked under the posts to give Owen Williams an easy pop at another two points.
While Arundell’s audacious chip-and-chase failed to materialize this time, his fellow Academy graduate and England star retook the Irish ball with a diligent turnover.
Speaking of internationals, substitute Agustín Creevy was next in the act, spotting a gap beyond the ruck to score – but his one-handed offload in earlier stages will be the talk of town for the much adored hooker as Englefield substitute. added the extras.
Steve Diamond’s side gave visiting supporters something to shout about late, with new signing Fergus Lee-Warner switching to an oncoming Alex Hearle to find career-making full-back Jamie Shillcock.
Arundell marked his return to rugby at Brentford with a brace, van Rensburg tossed a ball pass to the youngster who landed unopposed, Englefield capped off the bright afternoon in west London with the final conversion of the affair.
Scoring sequence (London Irish first): 5-0, 7-0, 12-0, 14-0, 19-0, 24-0, 26-0, 31-0, 31-5, 31-7 , 36-7, 38-7, 38-12, 38-14, 43-14, 45-14
London Irish: Tries: Donnell (15), White (24), Hassell-Collins (31), Arundell (47) (80), Joseph (58) Creevy (70); Conversions: Jackson (16) (25) (48), Englefield (70) (80).
Worcester Warriors: Tries: Langdon (65) Shillcock (75); Conversions: Williams (66) (76).
15 James Stokes (Arundell 47), 14 Will Joseph, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Benhard van Rensburg, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson (Morisi 59), 9 Ben White (Englefield 59); 1 Facundo Gigena (Fischetti 47), 2 Matt Cornish (Creevy 51), 3 Lovejoy Chawatama (Parker 59), 4 Rob Simmons (c), 5 Adam Coleman (Ratuniyarawa 55), 6 Ben Donnell, 7 Tom Pearson, 8 Josh Basham (Cooke 68).
16 Agustín Creevy, 17 Danilo Fischetti, 18 Ciaran Parker, 19 Api Ratuniyarawa, 20 Jack Cooke, 21 Caolan Englefield, 22 Luca Morisi, 23 Henry Arundell.
15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Ollie Lawrence (Heward 59), 12 Francois Venter, 11 Alex Hearle, 10 Billy Searle (Williams 35), 9 Gareth Simpson (Chudley 59); 1 Valeriy Morozov (Sutherland 47), 2 Hame Faiva (Langdon 47), 3 Murray McCallum (Tyack 45), 4 Joe Batley, 5 Andrew Kitchener, 6 Fergus Lee-Warner, 7 Cameron Neild (c) (G Kitchener 68), 8 Matt Kvesic (Todd 55).
16 Curtis Langdon, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Jay Tyack, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Tom Dodd, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Noah Heward.
Referee: Mr. Wayne Barnes