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Page last updated at 09:10 GMT, Friday, 10 April 2009 10:10 UK

London Irish 30-32 Bourgoin

London Irish (12) 30
Tries: Mapusua, S Armitage Con: D Armitage Pens: D Armitage 5 Drop: Kennedy
Bourgoin (9) 32
Tries: A Forest, M NicolasCons: Parra 2 Pens: Parra 4 Drop: Boyet 2

Delon Armitage
Delon Armitage's miss leaves the Exiles to focus on the Premiership

Delon Armitage missed a stoppage-time conversion chance to take the game into extra-time as London Irish went out of the European Challenge Cup to Bourgoin.

A stirring comeback from the Exiles, consisting of Nick Kennedy's drop-goal and a try from Steffon Armitage, fell short of clawing back the visitors.

A closely-fought match had entered the final 10 minutes level at 22-22.

Bourgoin then surged ahead through a Benjamin Boyet drop-goal and Mattieu Nicolas' try before grimly hanging on.

After 212 points in three home group matches in the competition, it was a far cagier first half than the Madejski Stadium crowd might have expected.


Armitage's boot ensured the hosts a three-point half-time lead, but they slipped behind almost straight from the restart.

Anthony Forest cruised over before Seilala Mapusua crashed through to swing the game back Irish's way on 55 minutes.

Morgan Parra and Armitage then traded penalties before the encounter's see-sawing final stages.

London Irish coach Toby Booth:
"I don't think we paid them enough respect. We did not come in with the right frame of mind.

"They had nothing to lose after they secured their Top 14 status next season and said 'let's roll the dice'.

"We were appalling at times tonight defensively. If we have scored 30 points and that's not enough to win the game then something's wrong.

"For long periods of the first half we were not prepared to put our bodies on the line.

"You saw the real London Irish come out in the last 10 minutes but if you leave yourself a mountain to climb then sometimes you have too much to do.

"I was very honest with the players afterwards but I said we can't waste time feeling sorry for ourselves."

Bourgoin captain Wessel Jooste:
"This was like a present for us because we had secured our Top 14 safety last week.

"We surprised ourselves because we know they are capable of ripping us to bits but we were like a French side tonight that were free spirits on the field.

"But I am quite sure that if the game had gone into extra-time that we would have fallen apart because we were dead out there."

London Irish: D Armitage, Ojo, Mapusua, Gower, Tagicakibau, Hewat, Richards; Murphy, Coetzee, Lea'aetoa, Kennedy, Hudson, Roche, S Armitage, Thorpe.
Replacements: Hodgson for Gower (53), Dermody for Murphy (57), Paice for Coetzee (57), Hala'ufia for Roche (61). Not Used: Johnson, Fisher, Thompstone.

Bourgoin: A Forest; R Coetzee, D Janin, Y David, J Coux; B Boyet, M Parra; A Tchougong, J Genevois, K Wihongi, C Basson, C Levast, J Frier, W Jooste [capt], Y Labrit.
Replacements: M Nicolas for Coux (64), T Genevois for Parra (79), Cardinali for Wihongi (27). Not Used: Roux, Fevre, M. Forest, Viazzo.

Att: 6,455

Ref: Peter Allen (RFU)

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see also
London Irish 38-21 Bristol
04 Apr 09 |  English
European Challenge Cup R6 review
25 Jan 09 |  Rugby Union
European Challenge Cup R5 review
18 Jan 09 |  Rugby Union
European Challenge Cup R4 review
14 Dec 08 |  Rugby Union
European Challenge Cup R3 review
06 Dec 08 |  Rugby Union
European Challenge Cup R2 review
19 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union

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