Rugby Union

London Irish put Covid hell behind them to force draw at ‘hurting’ Harlequins

London Irish emerged from their Covid hell to dramatically force a draw at Harlequins.

The Exiles were playing their first game since before Christmas after having two matches cancelled due to coronavirus in their camp.

And when Quins led 27-15 with 13 minutes left it seemed their misery would continue.

But late tries by Albert Tuisue and Oli Hoskins forced the first draw in this season’s Premiership – with Paddy Jackson nailing the crucial touchline conversion.

“Tough is one word for the past fortnight,” said Irish coach Les Kiss, whose side picked up three points to pull clear of relegation trouble.

“Lads had to train at home and they deserve credit for making sure they stayed in great shape and ready for this challenge.”

Prop star Hoskins, on his 100th appearance, had a try controversially chalked off before making no mistake a minute from time.

His team mates were not wholly successful in obeying the league’s new non-celebration rule, which could yet land them in hot water.

Their joy was understandable given the frustration of matches against Bath and Northampton being cancelled.

“I would not wish the illness I have seen with some of the players on anyone at another club,” said Exiles director of rugby Declan Kidney.

Quins counterpart Paul Gustard made no attempt to hide his disappointment at another win thrown away.

"When you get to 27-15 with 15 minutes left you have to see that game through,” he said.

“We make too many simple errors and are the architects of our own downfall. The team is hurting and are upset. We all need to improve."

Leicester have been awarded four points and Northampton two after Saturday’s derby was cancelled due to a Covid outbreak in the Saints camp.

QUINS – Tries: Smith. Brown, Steele. Cons: Smith 3. Pens: Smith 2.

IRISH – Tries: Rona, Matu'u, Tuisue, Hoskins. Cons: Jackson 2. Pen: Jackson.

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