London Irish edge Grenoble in Challenge Cup

London Irish edged Grenoble 43-41 in their European Challenge Cup clash at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Needing to secure a five-point win to take over from Cardiff Blues at the summit the Exiles, under the charge of Glenn Delaney for the first time following Brian Smith’s midweek exit, started quickly with a score from Alex Lewington and a penalty try.

The French side hit back and tries from Laurent Bouchet (2), Julien Caminati, Louis Marrou, with James Hart and Caminati adding the rest of their points with the boot, looked to have given them the win. But Tom Guest, Geoff Cross and Fenby kept Irish in it, with Myles Dorrian’s late try, converted by Tom Homer, sealing a thrilling win.

Irish had come out of the traps firing, with a Fenby pass sending Lewington over, and a powerful forward surge ending in a penalty try and a 12-0 lead. Back came the visitors with two tries from prop Bouchet and a conversion from Hart tying the scores.

A lack of discipline was hurting Irish and Hart and Caminati knocked over four penalties between them, plus a drop goal for the latter, to a solitary Shane Geraghty penalty, to put the French club 27-15 to the good.

Guest landed a crucial blow on half-time when he surged over to cut the deficit, with Geraghty slotting two penalties on the resumption as Grenoble had Jonathan Owen and Mahmadou Diaby binned.

But, with the hosts firmly on top, Paice saw red to swing the clash back in the French side’s favour.
They still managed to work Cross over to take the lead, only for Caminati to respond in no time at all for Grenoble.

When Marrou crossed the game looked up, with Irish trailing 41-31, but they finished brilliantly as Fenby got over and then Dorrian scored with time running out, with Homer’s conversion completing a remarkable comeback.

Final Score London Irish 43(20) Grenoble 41 (27)

Scorers

London Irish
Tries : Lewington, Penalty, Guest, Cross, Dorrian, Fenby
Pen : Geraghty (3)
Con : Geraghty, Homer
Drop :

Grenoble
Tries : Bouchet (2), Marrou, Caminati
Pen : Caminati (2), Hart (2)
Con : Hart (3)
Drop : Caminati

Match Officials
Referee:
Dudley Phillips (Ireland),
Assistant ref: Eddie Hogan-O’Connell (Ireland),
Assistant ref: Nigel Correll (Ireland)

Teams

London Irish: Andrew Fenby; Topsy Ojo, Fergus Mulchrone, Eamonn Sheridan, Alex Lewington; Shane Geraghty, Scott Steele; Tom Court, David Paice, Halani Aulika, George Skivington (c), Jebb Sinclair, Tom Guest, Blair Cowan, Ofisa Treviranus

Replacements: Jimmy Stevens, Leo Halavatau, Geoff Cross, Dan Leo, Kieran Low, Tomas O’Leary, Myles Dorrian, Tom Homer

Grenoble: Julien Caminati; Robinson Caire, Xavier Mignot, Geoffroy Messina, Daniel Kilioni; Jordan Michallet, James Hart (c); Alexandre Dardet, Laurent Bouchet, Jonathan Owen, Ben Hand, Ross Skeate, Thibault Rey, Mahamadou Diaby, Florian Faure

Replacements: Loick Jammes, Denis Coulson, Dayna Edwards, Kevin Goze, Louis Marrou, Joannes Henry, Lilian Saseras, Clement Gelin

With thanks to EPCRugby.

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