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Exiles: Morris on the double and Jackman's Grenoble down Toulouse

There was more pain for London Irish but positive contract news for a few ex-pats.

Niall Morris scored twice for Leicester Tigers.
Niall Morris scored twice for Leicester Tigers.
Image: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

Premiership

LONDON IRISH LOST their ninth game out of 11 in the Aviva Premiership but the continuing travails of Sale Sharks keep them off bottom spot at Christmas.

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O’Shea saw his side drop off the top of the table for two hours on Saturday before Quins set the record straight at Franklin’s Gardens.

Kiwi out-half Nick Evans was the points accumulator for the reigning champions as they defeated Northampton Saints 18-9.

Earlier in the day, Charlie Hodgson ran the show for Mark McCall’s Saracens as they battered Bath 22-0. The result saw Sarries go top of the league before Quins’ powerful response.

Worcester Warriors, featuring Neil Best at flanker and John Andress propping off the bench, climbed to ninth in the league after downing London Welsh 13-9.

Gareth Steenson kicked 11 points for Exeter Chiefs, who also gave run-outs to Ian Whitten and [sub] Tom Hayes, but it was not enough as they went down 18-16 to Gloucester, the team of left winger Shane Monahan.

English out-half Freddie Burns kicked all 18 points for Gloucs and hit the town after the final whistle:

Well deserved (in moderation) Freddie.

Penalty tries and a brace from former Leinster winger Niall Morris did for London Irish at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

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Ian Humphreys kicked three penalties for the Exiles but the Leicester Tigers pack, and Toby Flood’s boot, squeezed the life out of their challenge. Morris sealed the win with an excellent second try at the death. Geordan Murphy was back to captain the side in the 31-9 victory.

Tony Buckley and Cillian Willis were second-half replacements for Sale but could not stop the rot as the northerners lost 25-18 to London Wasps.

Job security was provided in time for the holidays for Steenson and Bath’s Ryan Caldwell, who both signed contract extensions.

France

Bernard Jackman is doing a fantastic job as defence coach at Grenoble in the Top14.

The former Leinster hooker will have been immensely proud of his players as they denied European powerhouses Toulouse a try in a 15-6 home win.

You can see the marvellous defensive efforts of the Grenoble team here:

YouTube credit: Ballboll81

In the RaboDirect Pro12, Cardiff Blues flanker Robin Copeland will be on St Stephen’s Day action as the Welsh side welcome Dragons to the Arms Park.

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Patrick McCarry

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