Exiles fightback tames Tigers
Irish clinch dramatic draw at Welford Road
Last Updated: 07/11/11 5:32pm
Irish fought back from a seemingly hopeless position
London Irish produced a stunning fightback to grab a dramatic 24-24 draw against Leicester in their Premiership clash at Welford Road on Saturday.
From a seemingly hopeless position at 24-7 inside the final 20 minutes, the Exiles dug deep to claw back the deficit and continue the Tigers poor run of form at home.
Eager to add to their 34-13 away thumping of Sale Sharks last week, Leicester were quick out of the blocks, although Toby Flood missed a sitter of a penalty from 25 metres early on.
The England fly-half made up for the miss with a simple penalty moments later but Irish hit back minutes later with the first try of the match.
Jebb Sinclair fed England centre Shontayne Hape, who beat the last defender to score after the Tigers had driven up the right to take them into the visitors' 22.
Full-back Tom Homer added the extras but Irish found themselves a man down on 20 minutes when captain Dan Bowden was sin-binned for holding on in a ruck.
The Tigers opted for the scrum and immediately put the Exiles pack under pressure, finally winning a penalty try when their set-piece collapsed.
Homer saw a long-range penalty from just inside his own half dip under the crossbar, but Flood made no mistake from in front on the stroke of half time to take his side into the break with a six point lead.
Flood added another penalty two minutes after the restart and added three more on 56 minutes to take the score to 19-7 as the hosts began to ramp up the pressure.
Their efforts paid off five minutes later when flanker Tom Croft went driving for the line and centre Horacio Agulla crossed for the try.
But Irish would not lay down and on 65 minutes replacement wing Adam Thompstone scampered over from 20 metres on the left.
Homer made it 24-14 with a magnificent touchline conversion and three minutes later closed the gap to seven points with a 30-metre penalty from in front of the posts.
With just four minutes to go Flood saw his clearance kick charged down and replacement Matt Garvey grabbed the high catch to crash over in the right corner.
Another superb touchline conversion from Homer put the sides on level pegging and as the clock ticked down Leicester pushed hard inside the Exiles' 22.
Flood had one last chance to win it after the clock turned 80 minutes, but his 25-metre drop goal attempt skewed wide of the uprights and the sides shared the spoils.