Newcastle (5) 8
Try: Wilson Pen: Clegg
London Irish (10) 24
Tries: Thorpe, S Armitage, Danaher Cons: Hewat 3 Pen: Hewat
London Irish made light of having key players on international duty as they ran in three tries to win at Newcastle and move to third in the table.
But the home side began more brightly with Brent Wilson opening the scoring with a try from a close-range line-out.
Richard Thorpe responded for the Exiles and Peter Hewat's penalty put them five points ahead at the break.
Rory Clegg's penalty closed the gap but Steffon Armitage then scored a try and helped set up one for Declan Danaher.
Newcastle director of rugby Steve Bates:
"We missed Carl Hayman today and that was a massive problem we could have done without.
"Ed Williamson's shoulder has been a bit sore and now he's twisted his ankle. Russell Winter has pulled his hamstring so we may well be forced into changes.
"That in itself is frustrating because along with Brent Wilson, they were two of our better performing forwards of late."
London Irish coach Toby Booth on squad rotation:
"Gone are the days when there were automatic choices for us.
"It's a new thing having blocks of England players and other internationals away. We're in unfamiliar territory.
"But if a player comes to me at the end of a game and says 'I told you so', then I've probably got it right."
Newcastle: Jones, D. Williams, May, Tu'ipulotu, Rudd, Clegg, Charlton, Golding, Long, Ward, Swinson, Sorenson, Williamson, B. Wilson, Dowson, Winter.
Replacements: Vickers for Long (56), D. Wilson for Ward (60), Parling for Swinson (65), Winter for Williamson (62), Dillon for Winter (70).
Not Used: Grindal, Davey.
London Irish: Hewat, Ojo, Seveali'i, Geraghty, Bailey, Catt, Hodgson, Dermody, Paice, Rautenbach, Kennedy, Roche, Thorpe, Danaher, Hala'ufia.
Replacements: Gower for Bailey (74), Lalanne for Hodgson (77), Corbisiero for Dermody (53), Buckland for Paice (61), Lea'aetoa for Rautenbach (64), Johnson for Roche (64), S. Armitage for Hala'ufia (53).
Ref: Rob Debney (Leicestershire)