Northampton Saints 13-14 London Irish, Aviva Premiership, September 17
Booth happy to win 'ugly'
September 17, 2011
London Irish No.8 Chris Hala'ufia storms forward © Getty Images
London Irish coach Toby Booth was delighted to see his side register their first Aviva Premiership of the season with a 14-13 at Northampton.
A penalty two minutes from time by Tom Homer proved crucial and Northampton were left to feel aggrieved as there seemed to be an Irish knock-on as Jonathan Joseph unloaded to Homer just prior to the hosts being penalised. It was an undistinguished game, and a draw would have been a fairer result as neither side was able to produce any flowing rugby despite the excellent playing conditions.
Booth said: "It certainly wasn't the prettiest of games and we won playing ugly but I am delighted to get an away win in the Premiership. There is a real adrenaline injection from winning a game. The Premiership is unrelenting, it's like a juggernaut out of control but it was a fantastic victory."
Booth was hoping his side would improve for the win, saying "We have 20% of our squad away but we have Jamie Gibson, Dec Danaher and Fran Rautenbach to come back hopefully for next week."
Northampton could have won the game; they dominated the set scrum and did not take advantage of Leo Halavatau's absence in the sin-bin.
Saints coach Jim Mallinder said "We are very disappointed to lose. We didn't play well and had we won it would still have covered up a number of faults. We had a dominant scrum but did not look after the ball and made lots of mistakes."
As for referee Martin Fox's call on the vital knock-on call, Mallinder said "It's gone things like that happen in the last two to three minutes and you have got the previous 77 to get yourself in the clear."
Next week Northampton travel to Sale with Mallinder insisting: "It's only three games gone but we need to do better and go up to Sale and get a win. We hope to have Lee Dickson and Roger Wilson back in the near future and they will make a difference as they are key players."
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