Aviva Premiership: London Irish 22-9 Worcester

James O'Connor

London Irish (6) 22

O'Connor 5

Worcester (6) 9

Pennell 3

James O'Connor scored all 22 points, including his first try, as London Irish defeated troubled Worcester.

The sides were level at the break with O'Connor and Chris Pennell trading a couple of penalties each.

Australian O'Connor added three unanswered penalties before crossing and converting his own try for Irish.

Pennell reduced the deficit to 22-9 with another penalty but despite a late yellow card for London Irish's Jamie Hagan Worcester could not score again.

The result means Warriors remain bottom with just three points, while London Irish move ahead of Newcastle near the bottom of the Premiership table.

It was the Exiles' first win in seven games and the result leaves Worcester still searching for their first victory in what has been a troubled campaign.

Warriors' 17th successive Premiership defeat equals the joint second worst record since the competition began, matching the 17 suffered by Bedford between May 1999 and March 2000.

The only worse record is Rotherham's 30 straight defeats, begun in February 2001 and rounded off when they went through the entire 2003-04 season without winning a game.

After missing an earlier effort O'Connor put Irish ahead with an 11th-minute penalty before Worcester hit back through Pennell, who successfully converted an effort of his own to make it 3-3.

O'Connor then missed another kick and, against the run of play, Pennell kicked his second penalty to put Worcester ahead.

Their lead lasted just six minutes though before O'Connor drew the teams level just before half-time - and Worcester would never be in front again in the match.

A loss of possession by Ravai Fatiaki and an excellent kick from Tomas O'Leary gave Irish early impetus at the start of the second half and they took a 9-6 lead when O'Connor drilled over his third penalty of the match.

The Exiles pack then became the dominant force with the visitors conceding another penalty, which allowed O'Connor to kick his fourth goal and increase the gap between the teams.

Pennell was narrowly short with a long-range penalty before Irish produced another formidable line-out drive. The Warriors dragged it down and in a double blow for the visitors, Leonardo Senatore was yellow carded before O'Connor slotted over his kick.

With 20 minutes remaining, the game was up for Worcester with O'Connor's try putting the match beyond them.

Irish had battered the visitors' defence, allowing O'Connor the space to race outside Josh Drauniniu for the only try of the match, which the full-back also converted.

Pennell kicked his third penalty as Worcester saved their best period of pressure for the last 10 minutes but, even when Irish replacement prop Hagan was yellow carded for repeated scrummage offences, the Warriors could not get any closer as they slumped to yet another loss, with their last victory coming against Wasps on 1 March 2013.


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Post-match: London Irish's Brian Smith

London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith:

"James O Connor is a world class player and should be playing for his country.

"He'll go back to Australia in January 2015 to put his hand up for a Wallabies Test place.

"We have him until the end of the season but we'll be really fortunate if we can have him after that.

"There is massive money in Japan and France, who are throwing ridiculous money at players. French clubs are paying double and can blow you out of the water."

Worcester boss Dean Ryan:

"We didn't manage the game well enough in the difficult conditions.

"We came second in the set-piece, lacked discipline and showed how vulnerable we can be.

"We are really disappointed with that performance. We are not giving up but we have to get a win on board as it all becomes a bit hollow."


London Irish: O'Connor, Ojo, Mulchrone, Sheridan, Tagicakibau, Geraghty, O'Leary, Yapp, Mayhew, Halavatau, Skivington, Rouse, Low, Cowan, Treviranus.

Replacements: Lewington for Tagicakibau (76), Parr for Yapp (10), Stevens for Mayhew (67), Hagan for Halavatau (53), Danaher for Cowan (69), Sinclair for Treviranus (67). Not Used: Humphreys, Hoadley.

Sin Bin: Hagan (75).

Worcester: Pennell, Stephenson, Grove, Fatiaki, Drauniniu, Warwick, Su'a, Fainga'anuku, Brooker, O'Donnell, Percival, Galarza, De Carpenier, Betty, Senatore.

Replacements: Matavesi for Fatiaki (57), Jones for Warwick (65), Arr for Su'a (51), Porter for Fainga'anuku (72), Shervington for Brooker (64), Andress for O'Donnell (65). Not Used: Taulava, Mieres.

Sin Bin: Senatore (56).

Att: 7,139

Ref: Wayne Barnes (RFU).

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