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Ollie Hassell-Collins hat-trick helps in-form London Irish claim Newcastle win

By PA
Ollie Hassell-Collins has been one of many young stars cutting a dash in the Premiership (Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

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Winger Ollie Hassell-Collins scored a hat-trick as London Irish continued their good run of results with a comfortable 43-21 victory against Newcastle Falcons.

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The Exiles have now lost just one of their last eight games in all competitions and they were clinical in running in six tries at a chilly Brentford Community Stadium.

They certainly gave signs of their growing maturity as they saw out their third win of the Gallagher Premiership this season without fuss and backed up last week’s victory at champions Harlequins.

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London Irish dominated the opening stages and their pressure paid off after seven minutes when Kyle Rowe weaved his way through a couple of tacklers to score under the posts.

The Exiles’ other winger was in just three minutes later, as Nick Phipps and Paddy Jackson quickly moved the ball left to Hassell-Collins, who broke through a tackle before sprinting clear from 40 metres out.

Jackson converted both early tries to put the hosts 14-0 up, but a scrum penalty led to Newcastle having a lengthy period inside Irish’s 22.

A couple of other infringements later, and the Falcons were back in the game as lock Sean Robinson was sent scurrying through a gap by Will Haydon-Wood, who added the extras.

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It did not take long for the hosts to pull clear again, though, as Jackson’s superb long pass out to the left looped into Hassell-Collins’ arms and he dived over in the corner to score his second.

After 33 minutes, the Exiles had the bonus point in the bag when Steve Mafi plunged his way over from a metre out, the score being awarded following a TMO review.

Newcastle then had their second try of the afternoon three minutes before half-time, when Callum Chick repeated Mafi’s feat at the other end, with Haydon-Wood’s conversion closing the gap to 28-14 at the break.

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Jackson nudged Irish further in front with a penalty from 30 metres five minutes after the restart and they effectively made the game safe with their fifth try, after 52 minutes.

Following a strong break down the right by Rowe, the ball was moved to the other side and Agustin Creevy’s one-handed pass sent Hassell-Collins clear to complete his hat-trick.

Olly Cracknell then had a score chalked off by the TMO for carrying on after being tackled, though it was not long until Irish were over yet again.

It came when Argentina hooker Creevy forced his way over – it looked as though it would be his last involvement, but he was soon back on due to his replacement Mike Willemse taking a blow to the head.

Adam Radwan was largely denied space, but the England speedster did run in a late consolation for the Falcons, typically leaving several defenders trailing in his wake.

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