LONDON IRISH were unable to continue on their winning run from 2015, as they lost their opening Premiership game of the new year at Gloucester 27-14.

Exiles boss Tom Coventry picked the same team which won at the Madejski Stadium against Northampton Saints on Boxing Day.

Heavy rain made the game in the West Country a muddy affair and it was the home side who took the lead after just three minutes, as James Hook converted a penalty.

Irish hit back almost immediately as a clever chip through from Brendan McKibbin won the visitors a five metre lineout.

From this Ciaran Hearn was able to find himself some space and scored the first try of the game, going in under the posts in the seventh minute. Chris Noakes added the extras to make it 7-3.

Gloucester closed the gap from the boot of Hook, with his second penalty of the game.

Once again, the Exiles replied with another try on the 32 minute mark, as Noakes’ cross field kick saw Alex Lewington win the ball and go over for the visitor’s second score. Noakes made no mistake with his conversion and the visitors led 14-6 at half-time.

After the interval, Gloucester’s Hook kicked his third penalty and then with Lewington sent to the sin bin, Hook took his tally to 12 points for the game with his fourth penalty.

The boot of Hook, then put the home side in front with 20 minutes to go. Gloucester then made sure of victory with two tries in the final 10 minutes of the contest.

Matt Kversic was the first to go over from the base of a maul on 68 minutes and then nine minutes from time, Billy Burns also touched down after an excellent move to take the score to 27-14.

Irish spent the final minutes trying to get a try to at least go home with the losing bonus point, but it was not to be and the Exiles left empty handed.

Next up for the Exiles is a crunch basement battle with the Newcastle Falcons at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday January 10 (1pm) as both sides fight to avoid relegation.