The Most Memorable Win of Recent Times for Irish?
Only the most biased of supporters (even I wasn’t too confident) would have predicted a win away at Saracens, the club many are backing to win the Premiership. In fact, Saracens are so strong at home they had never lost a regular season game in their short tenure at Allianz Park…but win London Irish did.
It was a brilliant display from all who graced the pitch with their sheer force of grit and determination, but where does it stand in terms of the most memorable of victories in recent times?
Gloucester away: 2012/13 season
Last year before Christmas the club were a torrid state of affairs. Sure from the outside looking in we are in a similar position this year but with fresh investment coming in, performances being exceptionally better (particularly in defence) and the squad being as close knit as they are, we are leaps and bounds better off.
With Sale starting to show signs of improvement we needed a win badly. However, Kingsholm is not the place that this usually happens and with London Irish coming in with no form and no confidence, the odds were firmly stacked against us; but George Skivington had other ideas. An inspired performance from the lock forward, including two tries, pushed the team to new heights rarely seen that season.
Another mention must be given to the unsung hero from that game and during the rest of the season, Patrick Phibbs, who had just come in on loan from the Tigers. He really plugged the Tomas-sized-hole in the backline and added so much to the team. This particular win may be forgotten by some but its importance means it’s up there with the more glamorous wins. Firstly the victory gave a huge morale boost for the team and was the catalyst to the impressive end to the London Irish campaign. Without it, maybe the London Welsh points deduction would not have been enough to keep us up.
Harlequins away: 2008/09 season semi-final
It’s always nice to beat Quins wherever and whatever the stakes, but no victory is sweeter when it deprives Harlequins of a Premiership Final place. Especially if that victory is in front of the Harlequins faithful, good thing it was then!
This and the semi-final in the Heineken Cup were London Irish at their pinnacle and the semi-final played at the Stoop saw London Irish crush their rivals. Two 2nd half London Irish tries, scored by lock James Hudson and legendary utility back Mike Catt, were too much for Harlequins as they could not reply with any points of their own. You could argue Quins were never going to win with Nick Evans having a torrid time with the boot but the intensity London Irish played at made them worthy winners. Paul Hodgson’s headfirst tackle into the boot of Williams, which caused a turnover and lead to the first try, will not be forgotten. 17 of the most memorable points for any London Irish fan.
The two games above for me are absolute standouts in terms of how important they were. But with London Irish’s problems recently, it is easy to forget there a fair few to choose from. The Munster win in the group stages of the Heineken Cup was the first Heineken Cup match I went to and was another strong candidate. Going back to the win against Saracens, it was the best I have seen Irish play since the glory (even though we didn’t win anything) days and was the best defensive display I can remember. If that form can be tapped into, good times are ahead.