Toulon edge out London Irish in Heineken Cup

Toulon edged out London Irish 13-19 handing the exiles their their second Heineken Cup defeat in Pool 3 at the Madejski Stadium.

The visitors fronted up in Reading and will be disappointed they did not convert their possession into more points.

Philippe Saint-Andre’s men moved above the Ospreys in the table and welcome London Irish to the South of France for next weekend’s return fixture.

Ryan Lamb missed an early shot at goal for London Irish and after that the majority of rugby was played by the visitors.

Aggressive and dedicated defence brought two penalties Toulon’s way and England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson was on song with both efforts giving his side a 6-0 advantage.

The French side looked dangerous with the ball in hand and once they turned Irish over on their own ten metre line a try looked on the cards.

The ball was sent wide a neat interchange between Gabi Lovobalavuand skipper Joe Van Niekerk sent Rudi Wulf clear for the first try and Wilkinson added the conversion from in front of the posts.

Toulon deserved more from the first half but it was London Irish that got the last score of the first forty.

Again a turnover created the space for the attack and the hosts looked sharper as they attacked down the right flank. Delon Armitage collected a chip through to score and Lamb added the conversion for a 7 – 13 half time score.

The second half continued in much of the same vain as the first with Toulon creating chances but not finishing.

Against the run of play Lamb kicked three points for Irish but then failed with a second attempt a few minutes later.

His opposite number Wilkinson had no such problem slotting two penalties to take Toulon out of sight.

Toulon’s South African backrow star Joe van Niekerk said that the win was key for the team.

“This was really needed after the away defeat against Munster, which was a really heavy one,” said van Niekerk, who was named man of the match.

“This will be a real confidence booster for the boys.”

Final Score London Irish (7) 13 Toulon (13) 19


London Irish
Tries: D Armitage
Cons: Lamb
Pens: Lamb, Bowden

Tries: Wulf
Cons: Wilkinson
Pens: Wilkinson 4

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)


London Irish: D Armitage, S Tagicakibau, E Seveali’i, S Mapusua, J Joseph, R Lamb, P Hodgson, C Dermody [capt], J Buckland, F Rautenbach, N Kennedy, B Casey, R Thorpe, S Armitage, C Hala’Ufia.

Replacements: B Blaney, A Corbisiero, P Ion, K Roche, G Stowers, T Ojo, D Bowden, D Allinson

Toulon: B Lapeyre, P Sackey, G Messina, G Lovobalavu, R Wulf, J Wilkinson, P Mignoni, S Taumoepeau, S Bruno, C Hayman, D Schofield, K Chesney, O Missoup, J El Abd, J van Niekerk [capt].

Replacements: M Ivaldi, B Basteres, M Merabet, C Loamanu, T Sourice, T May, L Magnaval, J Suta


With thanks to ERCRugby

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