Premiership: London Irish run in five tries in win over Leicester
|London Irish (22) 36|
|Tries: Hoskins, Loader, Botha, Naholo, Parton Cons: Myler 4 Pens: Myler|
|Leicester (6) 11|
|Tries: Holmes Pens: Hardwick 2|
London Irish turned on the style with five tries to record a bonus-point win against Leicester.
New Zealand winger Waisake Naholo bagged a try on his debut in a fine performance from the promoted side.
Scores by Ollie Hoskins, Ben Loader and Ruan Botha gave them a 22-6 half-time lead and Tom Parton added a length of the field interception late on.
Tigers could only muster a Jonah Holmes consolation try as they suffered their their third defeat in four games.
England head coach Eddie Jones was among the spectators, casting his eyes over the potential next crop of international players.
In the absence of any of Leicester's six members of his recent World Cup squad, he may well have liked what he saw from Irish winger Loader.
He scored the hosts' second try with a burst of pace from 30 metres out after prop Hoskins dotted down under a rolling maul for their first.
Tom Hardwick kicked two penalties either side of those scores to reduce the arrears before Stephen Myler put Irish nine points ahead from long range.
Tigers had a chance to sneak a lead before half-time, but Irish countered from a knock-on to register their third, which was brilliantly finished by lock Botha after Loader again showed his pace out wide despite the hint of an earlier forward pass.
The second half began as a scrappy affair but Leicester could find no foothold to eat away at Irish's lead.
But the Madejski Stadium crowd was brought to its feet as Irish's two debutants in scrum-half Nick Phipps and Naholo combined for their fourth try.
Wallaby Phipps showed great vision to pick out Naholo with a cross-kick to the right wing and he had the pace to finish past Jonah Holmes in the right corner.
To add insult to injury, Parton then pounced on a loose pass under his own posts before running clear for Irish's last try.
It completed their first win against Leicester in seven attempts and also recorded a first top-flight home win since February 2018.
London Irish head coach Les Kiss told BBC Radio Berkshire:
"It's a delighted dressing room. We weren't perfect but what we had to do was get the result and the way we went about our business was tradesman-like; we worked the game away.
"There are things to work on there - a few too many penalties and our set piece could be humming a bit better - but despite those interjections, we managed the pressure throughout the game and made them play from their end a lot.
"Our defence stood up and we scored tries in a variety of ways, which is nice.
"This is a tough competition; you can't afford to drop your guard at all. I just liked the way we played consistent 'foot-on-the-throat' rugby. The scoreline justified what we put out there today."
Leicester Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy told BBC Radio Leicester:
"We had a poor start and big decisions like that forward pass just before half-time do go against you over the course of a season, but that's not why we lost today.
"London Irish were the better team. They wanted it more than us, they were more physical than us and I thought their defence was exceptional.
"We were struggling to chase to get in the game, but on the whole we didn't deserve to win.
"We were not as bad as the scoreline reflects, but we can't argue with the result. We didn't really get off the bus today and in the Premiership, you can't afford to do that."
London Irish: Jackson; Naholo, Rona, Hepetema, Loader; Myler, Meehan; Hobbs-Awoyemi, Fainga'a, Hoskins, Botha, van der Merwe (capt), Cowan, Ioane, Tuisue.
Replacements: Matu'u, Dell, Chawatama, Nott, Rogerson, Phipps, Williams, Parton.
Leicester: Holmes; Thompstone, Forsyth, Hardwick, Olowofela; Reid, Harrison; Bateman, T Youngs (capt), Heyes, Wells, Green, Kalamafoni, Thompson, Taufua.
Replacements: Clare, Gigena, Leatigaga, Lavanini, Coghlan, White, Worth, Boladau.
Referee: JP Doyle (RFU).