Planet Rugby

Toulon grab bonus to top pool

18th December 2010 17:19

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Olivier Missoup score Toulon v London irish

Opening try: Olivier Missoup

Toulon scored five tries against fourteen-man London Irish to win 38-17 and take the lead in Pool Three of the Heineken Cup on Saturday.

Toulon led 17-0 at the break thanks to tries from flank Olivier Missoup and hooker Mickael Ivaldi.

The game looked to have been over when the Exiles' Sailosi Tagicakibau received a second yellow card on 45 minutes but Exiles mounted a spirited fight back to level the scores at 17-all in the second half thanks to second-half tries from Malone and then Alex Corbisiero.

The extra space however allowed Toulon to run rampant in the final quarter as the home side turned on the after burners and scored two tries in the last 10 minutes, through Tom May and Christian Loamanu to dash any Irish hopes of an historic comeback in Pool Three.

The loss saw the Exiles' European dreams put to an end and their losing streak extended to seven games in all competitions.

Felipe Contepomi opened the scoring for the star-studded French outfit after seven minutes and the visitors were dealt another blow when Tagicakibau was sent to the sin-bin after 23 minutes.

Toulon needed no second invitation to make their numerical advantage pay and opened the try scoring just a minute later thanks to Missoup. The flanker found a gap from close range and touched down in the corner where Tagicakibau should have been defending.

Contepomi converted to give his side a 10-0 lead. Delon Armitage had the opportunity to cut the deficit but he failed to convert a long range penalty after 34 minutes.

And just before half-time Toulon landed a knock-out blow on the Exiles. They had been attacking deep in Toulon's half when former Wallaby George Smith won a penalty at the breakdown.

The Exiles were marched back 10 meters for back chat and Pierre Mignoni tapped and kicked down field. Paul Hodgson was able to take the ball in to touch but from the following lineout Toulon made several drives at the London Irish line and scored through Mickael Ivaldi. Contepomi converted to give the hosts a 17-0 half-time lead.

Irish were dealt another major blow when Tagicakibau was given a second yellow card and his marching orders for infringing at the breakdown after 45 minutes.

But they almost instantly struck back when Malone slotted a penalty for his side's first points of the day. And visitors continued to defy the odds with a try just moments later. Armitage hit a Malone pass at pace and broke the Toulon defence, Malone was on hand to receive the off-load and dive over. Malone converted the try to make it 17-10.

Amazingly Irish drew themselves level after 64 minutes when Corbisiero powered over from close range and Malone converted. But just moments later Contepomi danced through the London Irish defence beating several players to grab a vital try that he then converted.

They then broke Irish hearts when Tom May raced clear after shaking off Steffan Armitage before Loamanu compounded their woes.

The scorers:

For Toulon:
Tries: Missoup, Ivaldi, Contepomi, Loamanu, May
Cons: Contepomi 5
Pens: Contepomi

For London Irish:
Tries: Malone, Corbisiero
Cons: Malone 2

Red cards: Tagicakibau (London Irish - 2 yellow cards )

Toulon: 15 Benjamin Lapeyre, 14 Rory Lamont, 13 Geoffroy Messina, 12 Tom May, 11 Rudi Wulf, 10 Felipe Contepomi, 9 Pierre Mignoni, 8 Joe van Niekerk, 7 George Smith, 6 Olivier Missoup, 5 Dean Schofield, 4 Jocelino Suta, 3 Davit Kubriashvili, 2 Mickael Ivaldi, 1 Laurent Emmanuelli.
Replacements: 16 Jean-Charles Orioli, 17 Saimone Taumoepeau, 18 Mehdi Merabet, 19 Christian Loamanu, 20 Joe El Abd, 21 Paul Sackey, 22 Laurent Magnaval, 23 Kris Chesney.

London Irish: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Jonathan Joseph, 13 Seilala Mapusua, 12 Dan Bowden, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Chris Malone, 9 Paul Hodgson, 8 Chris Hala'Ufia, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Richard Thorpe, 5 Bob Casey, 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Faan Rautenbach, 2 James Buckland, 1 Clarke Dermody.
Replacements: 16 Brian Blaney, 17 Alex Corbisiero, 18 Paulica Ion, 19 Kieran Roche, 20 George Stowers, 21 Topsy Ojo, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Darren Allinson.

Venue: Stade Félix Mayol
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Simon McDowell (Ireland), Alan Rogan (Ireland)
Television match officials: Tony Redmond (Ireland)

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