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Below-par Norwich get what they deserve in rugby union derby

PUBLISHED: 09:54 19 February 2018

Norwich on the front foot on a disappointing day at Ipswich. Picture: Andy Micklethwaite

Norwich on the front foot on a disappointing day at Ipswich. Picture: Andy Micklethwaite

Archant

After the highs of last week’s Norfolk Cup victory over Diss, this was Norwich’s most disappointing performance of the season by far.

Things started well enough when Theo Elliott scored, following a crossfield kick by Chris Parrott over the defence, with Elliott beating the cover to the touchdown. He was unable to convert his own try.

Norwich then gifted Ipswich their opening score when a blind pass behind to no-one in particular was seized by an Ipswich player who strolled in under the posts for a converted try.

The visitors struck back shortly afterwards when Nick Austin cut a lovely line through the defence, carried on by Jonny Wheater, with the ball looped over the top to Elliott who scored his second of the game. Mike Lawton added the conversion.

The end to end rugby continued with Ipswich pressuring the Norwich line and No 8 Chris Blom took a nice inside ball to crash over. The conversion was missed.

Ipswich stretched ahead to 15-12 with a penalty on 22 metres, shortly after which Norwich lost Lawrence Austin to a neck injury. They still looked quite capable of hitting back but basic errors prevented them from doing so.

There was some hope that, after half-time, Norwich would realign their game in accordance with what was needed but, if anything, things got steadily worse as the hosts started playing with more confidence and the visitors seemed unable to string together more than one or two phases of play. Confusion in the backs then led to the softest of penalties for crossing, giving Ipswich an easy kick to stretch their lead.

Mike Lawton provided a rare moment of cheer for the visiting supporters as he ran diagonally half the length of the pitch, being halted just two metres short. With the hosts under pressure Norwich were awarded a penalty in front of the posts that Lawton slotted to reduce the arrears to just three points.

When Jake Wharton was sent to the sin bin shortly afterwards for a high tackle Ipswich used their one man advantage well and aided by some weak tackling ran through to score an uncoverted try in the corner.

Ipswich then closed the game out, being deserved winners in a game that they clearly wanted more than the visitors.

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