Highlights & Report | London Irish 45-14 Warriors

Ignore the result, this game was all about the commitment and character of a Warriors team in the face of massive adversity.

With the financial future of the club uncertain, rugby is the least of the worries around Sixways but it was a relief and a welcome distraction from off-field events just for the team to take the field again.

Simply getting the side and support staff to London to start the season was a major achievement in itself given the financial and logistical challenges faced.

The warm reception from supporters – Warriors and Irish – when the team coach arrived at the ground showed just how much it was appreciated by true rugby fans.

With the only pre-season friendly against Glasgow Warriors cancelled it was to be expected that Warriors were to be a little ring-rusty but they were always competitive and second half tries from replacement hooker Curtis Langdon- on debut – and Jamie Shillcock gave the travelling support something to cheer about.

Warriors played their best rugby in the first ten minutes when they were aggressive and positive attack but could not turn their early pressure into points.

Instead Irish scored from their first attack when blindside flanker Ben Donnell crossed followed ten minutes later by scrum-half Ben White.

Left wing Ollie Hassell-Collins added another try five minutes later which gave Irish a 19-0 lead at the break which did not accurately reflect the run of play.

Further tries from Henry Arundell, who followed up a kick ahead from Hassell-Collins to secure the bonus point, and Will Joseph extended the lead before Warriors turned pressure into points when Langdon drove over under the posts and Owen Williams, on for

Billy Searle who failed a head injury assessment, converted.
Irish pulled back a try through former Warriors hooker Agustin Creevy but Warriors showed their fighting spirit when Alex Hearle popped a pass to Shillcock who galloped clear with Williams again converting.

Irish were not finished and Arundell had time to nip in for his second in injury time which gave the final scoreline a slightly imbalanced look.

But this was about more than a rugby match and the message of support from Irish at the final whistle that they stood together with Warriors was heartfelt and sincere.

Warriors | 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 (Dodd 55).

Replacements | 16 Curtis Langdon, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Jay Tyack, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Tom Dodd, 21 Will Chudley 22 Owen Williams, 23 Noah Heward.

14m | Donnell try 5-0
15m | Jackson con 7-0
24m | White try 12-0
25m | Jackson con 14-0
30m | Hassell-Collins try 19-0
48m | Arundell try 24-0
49m | Jackson con 26-0
58m | Joseph try 31-0
65m | Langdon try 31-5
66m | Williams con 31-7
69m | Creevy try 36-7
70m | Englefield con 38-7
75m | Shillcock try 38-12
76m | Williams con 38-14
80m | Arundell try 43-14
80m | Englefield con 45-14

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