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Page last updated at 17:33 GMT, Saturday, 18 December 2010

Toulon 38-17 London Irish

Toulon (17) 38
Tries: Missoup, Ivaldi, Contepomi, May, Loamanu Cons: Contepomi 5
London Irish (0) 17
Tries: Malone, Corbisiero Cons: Malone 2 Pen: Malone

Toulon's Olivier Missoup (centre) crosses for Toulon's first
Missoup goes over for Toulon's first try

Toulon crushed 14-man London Irish's second-half revival to win convincingly and end the Exiles' hopes of making the Heineken Cup knockout stage.

Olivier Missoup and Mickael Ivaldi tries gave Toulon a 17-0 interval lead.

Sailosi Tagicakibau saw red after being given his second yellow card but Irish upped their game with Chris Malone and Alex Corbisiero crossing to level it.

However, Felipe Contepomi, Tom May and Christian Loamanu all ran over as the home side triumphed with a bonus point.

Although Irish's chances of progressing are over, the result blew Pool Three wide open, with Toulon now top of the table, two points ahead of second-placed Munster and three in front of Ospreys.

Veteran fly-half Contepomi, starting in place of the rested Jonny Wilkinson, notched the first three points of his eventual 13-point tally with a seventh-minute penalty to open the scoring.


Tagicakibau was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on in the 23rd minute and Irish were made to pay the price for his indiscipline.

Flanker Missoup picked up at the breakdown less than a metre from the line and sneaked over on the blindside where Tagicakibau should have been stationed, before Contepomi added the extras.

Delon Armitage missed a long-range penalty attempt and the French side extended their lead on the stroke of half-time.

Paul Hodgson was bundled into touch after collecting a neatly-placed tap-kick from scrum-half Pierre Mignoni, and from the resulting line-out Toulon again drove for the score.

Mignoni missed a man to superbly pick out Mickael Ivaldi, who burrowed over as Contepomi again obliged with the kick.

Alex Corbisiero celebrates his London Irish try
Corbisiero scored an equalising try for the Exiles

It looked like Irish might be completely overrun when Tagicakibau received his second booking for not letting go at the breakdown in the 45th minute.

The loss of the giant Kiwi winger, however, spurred Irish into life, and they got their first points on the board when Malone slotted over off the tee.

Moments later, Malone sent Armitage away on the right and the Australian fly-half was on hand to receive the full-back's neat offload to break through Toulon's defence and run over.

Malone converted his own try to reduce the gap to seven points, and in the 64th minute it was all square.

The visitors went through the phases to reach the Toulon line before Corbisiero picked up and powered over from close range, as Malone converted.

However, just when Irish had found their rhythm, Contepomi wove his way through the Irish rearguard and fended off Armitage to cross and then notch two more points.

Mignoni was again the architect when May raced over with eight minutes remaining. The scrum-half pinged a delicious pass to Rory Lamont on the wing and the Scot laid off back inside to Englishman May who ran for the line from deep inside his own half.

Three minutes later, Contepomi gathered a dismal Armitage clearance in midfield, advanced 20 metres and then distributed to Loamanu, who scuttled past the flailing Irish tackles with ease to touch down.

The 33-year-old Contepomi rounded off his masterful performance with another conversion as Irish's losing run was extended to seven games in all competitions.

London Irish coach Toby Booth:
"I was very pleased with our reaction to huge adversity.

"It does not get much bigger than being away from home in the Heineken Cup against one of the best resourced clubs in world rugby and down to 14 men with 35 minutes to go.

"That is a real character test but I thought we stood up well to that. If we continue to play like that we have a great chance of turning this streak around."

Toulon: Lapyeyre, Lamont, Messina, May, Wulf, Contepomi, Mignoni, Emmanuelli, Ivaldi, Kubriashvili, Suta, Schofield, Missoup, Smith, van Niekerk.
Replacements: Sackey for Lapyeyre (60), Loamanu for May (74), Magnaval for Mignoni (74), Taumoepeau for Emmanuelli (49), Orioli for Ivaldi (56), Merabet for Kubriashvili (66), Chesney for Schofield (60), El Abd for van Niekerk (33).

London Irish: D. Armitage, Joseph, Mapusua, Bowden, Tagicakibau, Malone, Hodgson, Dermody, Buckland, Rautenbach, Kennedy, Casey, Thorpe, S. Armitage, Hala'ufia.
Replacements: Ojo for Joseph (69), Allinson for Hodgson (76), Corbisiero for Dermody (50), Ion for Rautenbach (50), Roche for Kennedy (62), Blaney for Casey (77), Stowers for Hala'ufia (49). Not Used: Lamb.

Sin Bin: Tagicakibau (22). Sent Off: Tagicakibau (44).

Ref: Alain Rolland (Ireland).

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see also
London Irish 13-19 Toulon
12 Dec 10 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup tables
09 Aug 06 |  Tables
Rugby Union commentaries
09 Sep 10 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup 2010/11
29 Mar 10 |  Rugby Union

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