Bed­ford feel the force of Ir­ish in Cham­pi­onship Cup

The Rugby Paper - - News - By MARK WOOD

SMALL changes made a big dif­fer­ence for Lon­don Ir­ish as they scored 26 unan­swered sec­ond half points to tri­umph at Gold­ing­ton Road.

Bat­tling Bed­ford pushed them hard in the first half, but too many er­rors al­lowed the muchim­proved Ex­iles to cut loose and run in six tries.

Head coach Les Kiss said: “I think we just had to hun­ker down as a team and get the ba­sics right.

“We pos­si­bly lacked a bit of en­ergy at times, and just that ex­tra bit of fo­cus in terms of get­ting the lit­tle things right that make a game big­ger so we can score the tries. We had to be a good team to­day against Bed­ford.”

Bed­ford got off to the per­fect start when Lewis Robling’s fourth-minute penalty sailed over for 3-0.

Things got even bet­ter mo­ments later when Rich Lane’s scin­til­lat­ing break swal­lowed up half the field to earn Bed­ford field po­si­tion. Huw Wor­thing­ton was then able to break away from a maul to touch down, al­though the con­ver­sion was missed.

With two in­cred­i­bly tight en­coun­ters be­tween the sides al­ready un­der their belts, this one was no dif­fer­ent, with Bed­ford dis­play­ing tena­cious de­fence against their for­mer Premier­ship visi­tors.

A mas­sive Ir­ish catc­hand-drive move was held up be­fore Ben Loader danced through for the Ex­iles on 15 min­utes, only for the nor­mally-re­li­able Stephen Myler to skew his con­ver­sion wide.

As Bed­ford pushed for­ward Ir­ish du­bi­ously won back posses­sion on the blind­side and, as the hosts scram­bled back, Alex Rae was sin-binned for a high tackle.

More great de­fence from the hosts saw Ir­ish held up again, only for the ball to be spread wide for Topsy Ojo to score a sim­ple try in the cor­ner on 32 min­utes. Myler’s con­ver­sion thud­ded against the post.

Bed­ford en­sured they had their noses just in front at the break when Robling’s sec­ond penalty sailed over for 11-10.

The Blues were archi-

tects of their own down­fall in the sec­ond half as too many avoid­able er­rors handed the as­cen­dancy to Ir­ish.

A dropped kick-off gave Ir­ish field po­si­tion and Saia Fainga’a was driven over, with Myler con­vert­ing.

Ir­ish were held up for a third time, be­fore Dave Porecki raced on to a great pop pass on 52 min­utes for an­other con­verted try.

A bull­doz­ing run by Ofisa Tre­vi­ranus opened Bed­ford up for Ter­rance Hepetema to score on the hour and Matt Roger­son forced his way over from close range seven min­utes later as Ir­ish threat­ened to run riot.

With the game gone, Bed­ford played with more free­dom at the death but, de­spite Ir­ish be­ing re­duced to 13 in the clos­ing stages with Blair Cowan (high tackle) and Bar­ney Mad­di­son (tech­ni­cal) sin-binned, they couldn’t get through.

De­spite match­ing them for long pe­ri­ods over three matches Bed­ford No.8 Wor­thing­ton said: “Nearly isn’t good enough for what we want to achieve. We want to be turn­ing these over on our home patch. It’s dis­ap­point­ing, but there’s a lot of pos­i­tives to take out of it.”

PIC­TURES: Nigel Rudgard

Wing­ing in: Ben Loader scores Ir­ish’s first try

Break­out: Alex Penny at­tacks for Bed­ford

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