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Saracens beaten by last-gasp Paddy Jackson penalty for Irish

By PA
(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

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A last-minute penalty from Paddy Jackson was enough for London Irish to snatch a late victory in a thrilling Gallagher Premiership encounter as they toppled second-placed Saracens 32-30 at Brentford. In a lightning-quick start, Benhard van Rensburg was left all alone on the left touchline and crossed over in the corner after taking a long pass from Curtis Rona to give the hosts the lead inside the opening two minutes.

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Jackson was unable to convert and the lead remained at five, with a penalty from Alex Lozowski soon after bringing the gap down to just two. Just past the midway point of the half, the hosts were on the board once more, Rona again providing the assist by feeding van Rensburg to cross over in the right-hand corner untouched for his second score, with Jackson this time adding the extras to give them a 12-3 lead.

The rest of the half passed without much incident until Tom Woolstencroft bundled over from the back of a driving maul following a lineout, with Lozowski adding the extras to cut the lead back to just two at the break.

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The second half was off to a quick start again for the hosts. Less than a minute in, Adam Coleman perfectly read and charged down Ruben de Haas’ box kick before scooping the ball over and touching down himself, with Jackson’s extras putting the home side’s lead back to nine points.

When Sean O’Brien was sin-binned soon after for straying offside, Lozowski slotted over the resulting penalty and Saracens were presented the perfect opportunity to get back into the game. But it was the home side that got the next points though as a collapsed scrum gave Jackson the opportunity to slot through a penalty from just inside his own half to push their lead back to nine.

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Saracens eventually made their advantage count though with Rotimi Segun sprinting into the corner from 22 metres out after the ball had been spun through the backs, while Lozowski got some luck with his conversion as it bounced off the post and over to cut the Irish lead back to just two. Irish hit back with a bonus-point try straight away as Ollie Hassell-Collins touched down in the corner just as the sin bin expired after some quick passing from the backs, with Jackson on target with the conversion.

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A penalty from Lozowski with less than seven minutes to play cut the lead to six and set the stage for a nail-biting finish, with the tension only increasing when Coleman was sent off for a high tackle on Alex Lewington with five minutes remaining.

A try in the corner from Nick Tompkins at the back of a rolling maul cut the lead, with Lozowski keeping his cool to put the visitors ahead for the first time in the game with three minutes remaining. 

Irish made one last push to grab the victory and a penalty for offside against Saracens – right in front of the posts in the dying seconds – was slotted over with ease by Jackson to take the points and move the hosts up three places to fifth in the table.

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