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London Irish draw with London Wasps as match is decided with final kick

London Irish draw with London Wasps as free-scoring match is decided with final kick

Graeme Copas

James Haskell scored Wasps' fifth try.

London Irish 40 (22), London Wasps 40 (18)

London Irish and London Wasps shared 10 tries, 80 points and all the plaudits for an entertaining head-to-head at the Madejski Stadium.

It was the hosts who nearly came away with the victory after Shane Geraghty's perfectly executed cross kick had allowed Andy Short to touch down in the corner to level proceedings in the final seconds.

This set up a potential match-winning conversion effort from the influentuial No.12, but his strike - the last action of the game - was narrowly wide.

It was an appopriately exciting climax to an absorbing match which will have left the crowd of 9,295 satisfied they received value for money.

In a match where defence took second place to attack, Irish took the lead on five minues when Andrew Fenby scored in the corner.

Wasps hit back five mintes later through Guy Thompson, but almost immediately Irish were back ahead after a quick break was finished off by their man of the match Alex Lewington.

Wasps' Sailosi Tagicakibau bagged an unconverted try after an overlap was worked, but again minutes later Irish fly-half Chris Noakes won a chip and chase to touch down the fifth try of the half.

Penalties were then traded in the minutes before the interval, with Andy Goode notching with the last kick of the half, to leave Irish ahead 22-18 in what had been a breathless 40 minutes of rugby.

The second period saw just as much willingness to run the ball from both sides and enough space to expolit for those who were keen enough to do so.

The tit-for-tat nature of the scoring continued and tries for Wasps' Tagicakibau and Rob Miller seemed to give them the edge, although two penalties and then a try for James Short meant the result was always in doubt.

When skipper James Haskell burrowed over from close range, and Goode converted to put the visitors ahead 40-35, it looked as if that would be the decisive score.

But some magic from England hopeful Geraghty - first a cross kick to get behind the Wasps defence, then another to set Andy Short free to score on the corner, almost won it for ther hosts.

But his conversion went agonisingly wide leaving both teams to share the points and reflect on a match which at times was more akin to sevens session than a Premiership clash.

Irish ended their campaign a disappointing 10th in the 12-team division having conceded more points than any other team except relegated London Welsh.

In contrast, Wasps finished as the leading points scorers with 672, and secured sixth place which means European rugby nexts season.

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