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London Irish 38-0 Sale

London Irish (14) 38
Tries: Rudd, S Armitage 2, Hewat, Corbisiero Cons: Lamb, Malone Pens: Lamb 3 Sale (0) 0

Steffon Armitage
Steffon Armitage (centre) scored two tries for the Exiles

London Irish maintained their play-off push in emphatic style with a five-try rout of Sale at the Madejski Stadium.

Winger John Rudd touched down to open the scoring before three Ryan Lamb penalties made it 14-0 at the break.

The Exiles extended their lead with two tries from man-of-the-match Steffon Armitage - Lamb converting one.

Peter Hewat and Alex Corbisiero then went over with replacement Chris Malone adding two more points to complete a bonus-point win that puts Irish fourth.

In the sixth minute, Hewat released Rudd who fended off a last-ditch tackle from Sharks flanker David Seymour to power over.

Lamb's first points of the afternoon, from a 16th-minute penalty, saw him pass the 500-mark in his overall Guinness Premiership points tally.

The fly-half added two more three-pointers, while his opposite number Charlie Hodgson missed his only opportunity in the 22nd minute from 40 metres out.

Sale's persistent attempts to drive the ball down the middle proved fruitless as full-back Mark Cueto and winger Ben Cohen were starved of the ball.

Ryan Lamb (r)
Ryan Lamb breaks through Sale's defence

Five minutes after the restart, Steffon Armitage finished in the right-hand corner following a powerful break by umber eight Chris Hala'ufia.

Seven minutes later the back row combination worked again, with Hala'ufia off-loading to flanker Steffon Armitage who went over near the posts.

Rudd then turned provider when he popped the ball up for Hewat to score in the left corner.

Centre Matthew Tait denied his England team-mate Delon Armitage a try when he grabbed the winger's shirt as he chased his own kick.

But, despite already securing the bonus point, the Exiles opted for the scrum instead of the kick, and following three drives replacement prop Corbisiero forced his way over.

Defeat leaves relegation-threatened Sharks just two points above bottom club Worcester, who they host next Friday.

Irish, meanwhile, take on fifth-placed play-off rivals Wasps, who trail the Exiles by four points, next Sunday at Adams Park.

London Irish head coach Toby Booth:
"We are not in this competition to make up the numbers, we are in it to be in the final event.

"From being one of the best defensive sides in the last few years we've leaked points and contributed massively to our downfall but we defended well.

"Next week is a very difficult challenge for us. Wasps were very good against Northampton yesterday and were quite unlucky."

Sale head coach Kingsley Jones on decision to rest key players, and injuries to Carl Fearns (knee), Dwayne Peel and Luke Abraham (both shoulder):
"It was a bit of a high-risk strategy but we play for our lives against Worcester on Friday.

"Your darkest fears are what happened, you get a thumping and take three injuries who look like they might be out for quite a while."

London Irish: Hewat, Rudd, Seveali'i, Mapusua, D. Armitage, Lamb, Hodgson, Murphy, Buckland, Rautenbach, Roche, Casey, Stowers, S. Armitage, Hala'ufia.
Replacements: Homer for Seveali'i (41), Catt for Mapusua (67), Malone for Lamb (67), Tideswell for Murphy (65), Coetzee for Buckland (68), Corbisiero for Rautenbach (65), Garvey for Casey (68), Thorpe for Hala'ufia (65).

Sale: Cueto, James, M. Tait, Bishop, Cohen, Hodgson, Peel, Kerr, M. Jones, Forster, Cockbain, Cox, Fearns, Seymour, Koyamailbole, Abraham.
Replacements: Leck for Hodgson (52), Wigglesworth for Peel (29), Imiolek for Kerr (45), Halsall for Forster (45), O'Donnell for Cockbain (43), Abraham for Fearns (41), Schwalger for Koyamailbole (52), Kennedy for Abraham (57).

Att: 21,535

Ref: Dean Richards (RFU).

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see also
Sale 19-8 Wasps
19 Mar 10 |  English
Leicester 35-19 London Irish
06 Mar 10 |  English

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