Leicester Tigers suffered a 22-9 defeat at London Irish in Round 2 of the Gallagher Premiership season on Sunday.
Hosting their first-ever game at the new Brentford Community Stadium, Irish led 13-3 at half-time, claiming the only try of the opening period after Zack Henry put his name into the history books with the first points at the venue from an early penalty.
Two penalties early in the second half from replacement Joaquin Diaz Bonilla brought the gap back to four points and gave Tigers fresh hope of taking some reward from the afternoon.
But two kicks from Paddy Jackson dragged Irish clear again in the closing quarter and the Ireland international landed the final blow with another three-pointer with the clock on 80 minutes to leave Tigers empty-handed from the trip south.
Irish were forced into a late change when Seán O'Brien dropped out with a calf strain to be replaced by Jack Cooke in the No6 jersey and it was Tigers, wearing the new blue change kit for the first time, who got the game under way against the background of multi-coloured empty seats in the twilight of a late afternoon kick-off.
The opening six minutes saw four penalties apportioned equally before Henry had the honour of producing the first points at the stadium with a kick from 40 metres.
But the lead lasted just a couple of minutes before Jackson replied from the tee.
Kobus Van Wyk, who would last only 30 minutes before being replaced by Guy Porter, and Freddie Steward both showed their strength in the air and Brink, on his first start, won turnover ball to allow Henry to kick in behind the Irish defence.
Jackson missed a second shot at the posts but, with play still in the Tigers half, loose ball in midfield allowed Blair Cowan to find space in attack for Irish and, when they chipped play down the left wing towards Ollie Hassell-Collins, van Wyk was penalised and sin-binned for slapping the ball into touch.
They dropped ball at the lineout but the Exiles quickly won another penalty and this time Jackson kicked to give the hosts a 6-3 lead on 17 minutes.
Irish looked to turn the Tigers’ short-handed defence as much as possible with kicks into the corners, but Steward showed quick wits to mop up and kick 50 metres upfield from a tight angle.
Brink thought he’d grabbed a second turnover on the floor as Irish played out from a scrum, but referee Karl Dickson thought differently and penalised the South African.
Keeping possession despite strong defence from Tigers, Irish made the breakthrough as Billy Meakes found space to put in fellow centre Curtis Rona to score and Jackson’s conversion made it 13-3 on the half-hour.
The opening half ended with Hanro Liebenberg picking off opposition lineout ball and Porter chasing his own clearing kick all the way up to the Irish tryline before Tom Homer closed out the danger with the hosts 13-3 in front.
Jordan Taufua and Bonilla joined the Tigers line-up for the start of the second half, with Brink and Henry giving way, but a mistake in attack allowed Irish to take play up the other end of the field before Wiese and Taufua combined to win a penalty on the floor.
Taufua and Wiese were in the thick of it at the other end too when Tigers got forward on the ball and, despite losing ball on the floor in the shadow of the posts, won it back with Matt Scott’s work gaining a penalty which Bonilla converted to make it 13-6.
Nephi Leatigaga joined the Tigers front row and got on the ball as Steward and Liebenberg attacked on the left. With the forwards pressuring the line, Tigers gained a penalty and Bonilla added another three points to close the gap to 13-9 with less than half an hour to play.
Full-back Steward made another good catch under pressure and then gained penalty reward as Irish attacked were whistled at the tackle area.
A no-arms tackle brought another penalty in Tigers’ favour, though Harry Potter was a whisker away from making best use of the advantage as Scott’s crossfield almost found the wing.
Penalties started to mount up against the Exiles as the whistle went again at a scrum, but stolen lineout stopped a Tigers attack and Porter had to act smartly to pick up ball back in his own 22 for Wigglesworth to kick clear.
And it was Irish who made best use of their own penalty awards, with Jackson kicking twice from the 10-metre line to push their lead to 10 points at 19-9 with 10 minutes to play.
They had their visitors scrambling back too with a break on the right wing, and Scott was pushed back over his own tryline as he picked off the final pass.
Strong work in upsetting the five-metre set-piece allowed Wiese to get Tigers moving forward and Wigglesworth hammered clear but the visitors were unable to establish a position to create one final chance to take something from the game and ended it back on their own line as Jackson added the final kick.