Match Centre: London Irish 31-31 Sale Sharks

Marland Yarde was one of the try-scorer for Sale Sharks
Marland Yarde was one of the try-scorer for Sale Sharks

London Irish 31-31 Sale Sharks, Community Stadium

Paddy Jackson's last-minute penalty hit the post as the second round Gallagher Premiership clash between London Irish and Sale Sharks at Community Stadium ended in a 31-31 draw.

The result meant London Irish are yet to win a game in this season as they are at ninth place with four points while Sale Sharks are at fifth position with seven points.

The Sharks had a 14-31 lead at the break but could not any more to their tally in the second half as the Exiles made a remarkable comeback through a double from Tom Parton and a touchdown from Curtis Rona.

Manu Tuilagi played an influential role in setting up the opening try that was completed by AJ MacGinty. The fly-half also kicked the conversion to see Sale Sharks raced to a 0-7 lead.

The visitors doubled their tally in the 14th minute as Marland Yarde dived over and MacGinty improved making it 0-14 before the home side finally managed to get their first points as Ben White dived from close range in the 16th minute and Paddy Jackson followed with the conversion reducing the deficit to seven points.

The start of the second quarter saw Sale Sharks complete their third try as MacGinty produced a splendid kick allowing Sam James to beat a couple of defenders on his way over the line. MacGinty, who kicked the conversion also followed with a penalty goal making it 7-24.

The final stages of the opening half saw Agustin Creevy and Will Cliff exchange tries as the teams headed into the break with Sale Sharks having a 14-31 lead.

The start of the second half saw referee Wayne Barnes rule out a try from Curtis Langdon but the Exiles moved into the ascendancy with Tom Parton diving on the right corner. The 68th minute saw Parton completing his second as he touched down at the back of a line out but Jackson missed out both the conversion making it 24-31.

With two minutes left in the game, Curtis Rona provided the much needed hope for Declan Kidney's men as he sprinted over in the left corner. Jackson's conversion helped London Irish level the scores but his penalty kick in the final minute hit the post as the teams settled for a 31-31 draw.

Team line up:

London Irish: Parton; Rowe, Rona, Hepetema, Hassell-Collins; Jackson, White; Goodrick-Clarke, Creevy, Van der Merwe, Simmons, Coleman, Rogerson (capt), Donnell, Tuisue.

Reserves: Willemse, Dell, Hoskins, Nott, Mafi, O'Brien, O'Sullivan, Van Rensburg.

Sale Sharks: Hammersley; McGuigan, S James, Tuilagi, Yarde, MacGinty, Cliff; Rodd, Taylor, Schonert, Wiese, JP Du Preez, Dugdal, B Curry, Ross (capt).

Reserves: Langdon, Harrison, Oosthuizen, Birch, Ashman, Warr, Wilkinson, Solomona.

Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the can only be the Gallagher Premiership.

The division is becoming more and more exciting as each year passes by so who will be lifting silverware at Twickenham in May?

At Talking Rugby Union, we aim to provide match reports and news together with our specially commissioned features and interviews.