LONDON IRISH WILD GEESE 13 CANTERBURY 45
Canterbury went from first half famine to second half feast, scooping up 33 points after the break as they swept Irish aside to extend their winning run to seven games.
The bonus point victory kept the city side’s promotion challenge firmly on course after putting an unimpressive first 40 minutes behind them.
The energy and direction they generated to run in another five tries was in stark contrast to their earlier stuttering efforts. All the possession and line breaks Canterbury enjoyed had come to nothing and relegation threatened Irish twice found themselves in the lead. James Brookes kicked an early penalty goal and when the city backs finally broke through with try for Ben Neville it did not last long. George Owen’s touchdown, following some driving work from a lineout, pushed the Wild Geese back in front. Only in the final minute of the half was there a taste of things to come as Canterbury produced the try of the day. Royce Cadman carried hard, ball was recycled and great handling from JJ Murray, Sam Sterling and Neville was topped of by Dan Smart. Harvey Young converted and Canterbury, despite themselves, had a four point advantage.
Perhaps it was the quality of that score that flicked the switch because two tries in the first ten minutes of the new half put them in control. Smart got his second after a sustained attack on the right flank and when Irish spilled the ball Ricky Mackintosh quickly found a clear path to the posts, for Young to convert. With the bonus point safely tucked away Canterbury then had their only wobble. Young and Cadman were yellow carded in quick succession and Wild Geese punished those indiscretions with a catch and drive try for Brandon Baker. But even with thirteen men the city team, led by skipper Sean Stapleton’s feisty example, were hitting space and creating problems which Irish found trouble trying to absorb. They produced their own catch and drive score through Tristan King, which replacement Kyan Braithwaite converted, and remained totally in charge of the late stages. That dominance was reflected in further tries for Sterling and Braithwaite and a couple more conversions by Young polished the scoreline in a ruthless second half.
Canterbury: A.Moss. R.Mackintosh (repl C.Grimes), B.Neville, S.Sterling, J.Murray, H.Young, D.Smart (rep K.Braithwaite), A.Cooper, (rep E.Lusher), T.King, S.Kenny (rep A.Wake-Smith), R.Cadman, M.Corker, S.Rogers, (rep T.Oliver,), S.Stapleton, J.Stephens.