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Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Saturday, 26 April 2008 16:47 UK
Heineken Cup semi-finals 2008
26-27 April, 2008

London Irish (10) 15
Tries: Ojo, Tagicakibau Cons: Hewat Pen: Hewat

Toulouse (15) 21
Try: Ahotaeiloa, Servat Cons: Elissalde Pens: Elissalde (3)

Topsy Ojo
Topsy Ojo's first-half try was not enough to help Irish secure victory

London Irish's European adventure is over after they were beaten in a tense semi-final encounter at Twickenham.

The Exiles looked dangerous with the ball in hand, with winger Topsy Ojo a constant threat.

Ojo crossed early in the first half, while Sailosi Tagicakibau went over in the second, but Toulouse always managed to maintain their lead.

Manu Ahotaeiloa and William Servat both crossed for Toulouse to see the French side into the final in Cardiff.

The Exiles almost made the dream start with Ojo close to going over in the corner but Yves Donguy did superbly to beat his fellow wing to Peter Hewat's kick through.

Ojo then did likewise from a Jean-Baptiste Elissalde kick, beating Donguy to the ball and preventing a certain try.

The first points of the game came soon after, with Elissalde sending over a straightforward penalty after Irish had been penalised for offside.


But Hewat levelled after a cagey yet entertaining opening 15 minutes.

The game sparked into life midway through the first-half courtesy of a wonderful individual try by Ojo.

Ojo found space out wide and set off on a jinking run just inside the Toulouse half that saw him breeze past both Elissalde and Cedric Heymans before diving over for the opening try.

Hewat sent over the extras with Toulouse also missing a penalty shortly after as the French side looked to get back in the game.

Toulouse struggled to assert any sustained pressure though due to a combination of poor handling errors and an erratic set-piece with Exiles second-row Nick Kennedy particularly impressive in disrupting their line-out.

Hewat kept his side going forward with some fine kicking from hand but Toulouse should have got back in the game on the half hour, and would have scored a try had Pelous found Donguy out-wide.

Instead his pass was forward and low and the overlap Toulouse had was wasted.

But the missed opportunity only galvanised Toulouse who soon got the reward their pressure deserved with Ahotaeiloa going over in the corner after a flowing three-quarter move saw the centre find space out wide.

The conversion was missed as Irish held a two-point advantage but just before the break Toulouse crossed for their second try.

A line-out was well caught and driven towards the Irish line and after several phases hooker Servat bundled over from close range.

Elissalde added the conversion to send the French side into the break five points up.

Four minutes after the restart, London Irish were level.

Tagicakibau capitalised on yet another weak tackle from Heymans who was easily brushed aside by the London Irish winger. He then steamed down the touchline to dive over in the corner.

But two quick Elissalde penalties soon gave Toulouse a six point advantage.

Ojo came so close to inspiring his side's third try of the game with a stunning solo break that saw him eventually release to fellow wing Tagicakibau who was superbly tackled by Byron Kelleher with the try line at his mercy.

Shane Geraghty, who had been unusually quiet for long periods, almost sparked delirium inside Twickenham with a fine break that looked certain to result in a crucial try.

But again Toulouse scrambled well and made several last ditch tackles to prevent Irish from crossing.

It was the last pressure that Toulouse had to sustain as they held on to make the final.

London Irish: Hewat, Ojo, Richards, Mapusua, Tagicakibau, Geraghty, Hodgson, D. Murphy, Paice, Rautembach, Kennedy, Casey, Danaher, S. Armitage, P. Murphy.
Replacements: Lea'aetoa, Mackie, Hudson, Thorpe, Leguizamon, Mordt, Hickey.

Toulouse: Heymans, Medard, Ahotaeiloa, Jauzion, Donguy, Elissalde, Kelleher, Human, Servat, Perugini, Pelous, Albacete, Bouihlou, Nyanga, Sowerby.
Replacements: Vernet-Basualdo, Hasan, Millochlusky, Dusatoir, Mermoz, Maka, Lamboley.

Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)

see also
Heineken Cup as it happened
26 Apr 08 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup photos
26 Apr 08 |  Rugby Union
Smith hits out at referee Lewis
26 Apr 08 |  London Irish
London Irish 24-26 Toulouse
13 Jan 07 |  London Irish
Toulouse 37-17 London Irish
29 Oct 06 |  London Irish

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