Ross kicks London Welsh to victory
December 1, 2012
Sailosi Tagicakibau tries to force his way past Gordon Ross
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Gordon Ross slotted five penalties to hand London Welsh a 15-9 victory over fellow Exiles London Irish at the Kassam Stadium on Saturday.
However the game was ruined as a contest by the early dismissal of number eight Chris Hala'ufia which resulted in the visitors having to play 70 minutes with 14 men. The match was a dreadful spectacle with neither side having any attacking invention to break down the opposition's defence and it was left to Ross to secure victory for his side with five penalty goals.
London Welsh took a fifth minute lead when Ross kicked his first penalty after Irish were penalised for dragging down a lineout drive. Almost immediately, Welsh suffered a big blow when influential centre Hudson Tonga'uiha left the field with what appeared to be a serious shoulder injury.
Irish had their first opportunity for points but Ian Humphreys was narrowly short with his 45-metre penalty attempt. The visitors then suffered a huge set back when Hala'ufia was sent off for a dangerous tip tackle on Welsh replacement Seb Jewell. The referee JP Doyle sought the advice of his touch judge before issuing a red card.
Hala'ufia expressed his regret by immediately walking over to the uninjured Jewell to shake his hand but the damage was already done. The resulting penalty was kicked by Ross.
With 15 minutes gone, Irish were again penalised to enable Ross to kick his third penalty to give his side a handy 9-0 advantage. Tom Homer put Irish on the scoreboard with a penalty before the visitors were given further hope when Humphreys kicked another.
When Matt Garvey carelessly lost possession, Irish again offended for Ross to be on target. With two minutes of the half remaining, Homer had the opportunity to reduce the arrears but his kick from just inside his own half sailed narrowly wide to leave Welsh deservedly ahead 12-6 at the interval.
Irish introduced Halani Aulika at prop for the second half and were unlucky not to get the first points of the half when Humphrey's penalty rebounded back off a post. The visitors' woes continued when flanker Garvey was sent to the sin bin for a deliberate offside before Humphreys again missed with another penalty attempt.
Playing against 13 men, Welsh blew their best chance. Tom Arscott neatly chipped through for Nick Scott to run on to. The wing was first to the ball and booted it over the try line but somehow Tyson Keates failed to secure the easy touchdown. Garvey returned with no damage to the score line but once again Irish offended at the line out to allow a kick from Ross to scrape over via the crossbar.
Homer missed with a long range penalty but fifteen minutes from time succeeded with another as the spirited Irish raised their game. When Sonny Parker was yellow carded for a deliberate offside with 10 minutes to go, Irish scented an unlikely win but Welsh hung on.
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