Eight try London Irish smash Agen in Challenge cup

Alex Lewington scored two tries for London Irish

London Irish earned a 48-10 bonus point European Rugby Challenge Cup victory over Agen at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

The Exiles outscored Agen by eight tries to one in the match with Alex Lewington scoring two and Scotland winger Sean Maitland scoring his first for London Irish.

The eight-try triumph came courtesy of first-half debut scores from Johnny Williams and Joe Trayfoot, with hooker Gerard Ellis crossing for a double. It was more of the same in the second-period with Alex Lewington going over for a quick-fire brace, with Rob McCusker and Sean Maitland also on the score sheet.

There was a moving moment before kickoff as the Agen players passionately sang La Marseillaise during a minutes silence in tribute to those affected by last night’s Paris attack. And it was the French side who took the lead through outside-half Francois Bouvier, who nailed a tricky penalty to put his side into the lead after just three minutes.

But that was as good as it got for the visitors as debutant Williams snatched his chance in the Challenge Cup limelight. Aseli Tikoirotuma raced clear after a Darren Allison break and fed the young wing, who crossed at the corner for a dream start to his first European appearance.

The hosts were at it again minutes later through barnstorming hooker Ellis, who broke through some weak Agen defence to bundle over the line. But Chris Noakes failed to convert, meaning Agen were still well in this game at 10-3 down. But the much changed Exiles saw their chance to make a statement, and it was another debutant, Trayfoot, who went over for the third try after some powerful forward play.

Not to be outdone, Ellis was at it again just before half-time. After showing his prowess in the loose, the front-rower was shunted over for the bonus-point try. Noakes converted this time for a 24-3 half-time lead. Irish were not done there though.

With Agen looking ragged in defence, wing Lewington dived over at the corner before McCusker and Maitland got in on the act. Biut there was still time for Felicien Vergnon to score a consolation try.

Final Score London Irish 48 (24) Agen 10 (3)

Scorers

London Irish
Tries – Williams, Ellis 2, Trayfoot, Lewington 2, McCusker, Maitland
Pen –
Con – Noakes 4
Drop –

Agen
Tries – Vergnon
Pen – Bouvier
Con – Darbo
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee: Gary Conway (Ireland),
Assistant ref: Eddie Hogan-O’Connell (Ireland),
Assistant ref: Richard Kerr (Ireland),
Citing Commissioner: Tim Lowry (Ireland)

Teams

London Irish: Sean Maitland; Alex Lewington, Aseli Tikoirotuma, , Topsy Ojo; Chris Noakes, Darren Allinson; Tom Court, Gerard Ellis, Halani Aulika, Eoin Sheriff, Matt Symons (c), Rob McCusker, Joe Trayfoot, Tom Guest

Replacements: Tom Cruse, Tom Smallbone, Leo Halavatau, David Sisi, Luke Narraway, Connor Murphy, Theo Brophy Clews, Dom Waldouck

Agen: François Tardieu; Filipo Nakosi, Julien Heriteau, Vincent Roux, Jason Deschamps; Bautista Guemes, Paul Abadie (c); Quentin Bethune, Marc Barthomeuf, Nicolas Chocou, Jean-Baptiste Roidot, Denis Marchois, Antoine Miquel, Nicolas GAL, Marc Baget

Replacements: Charly Morlay, Viliamu Afatia, Dave Ryan, Léo Bastien, Felicien Vergnon, Clement Darbo, François Bouvier, Benoit Sicart

With thanks to EPCRugby

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