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Sunday, 26 January, 2003, 17:25 GMT
Exiles end Rotherham run
Michael Horak grounds the ball to score the Exiles' second try
Horak plunges over to score the Exiles' second try
London Irish 30-11 Rotherham

Holders London Irish moved into the last four of the Powergen Cup with a convincing four-try victory over National League One side Rotherham.

The Exiles seized command of the quarter-final at the Madejski Stadium with two tries in a six minute spell before the interval and never looked back.

The defeat ended a 44-match unbeaten run for Rotherham, who had won their last 34 games in a sequence stretching back to December 2001.

Naka Drotske, Michael Horak, Hentie Martens and Paul Sackey all crossed for the Exiles, with fly-half Barry Everitt adding two conversions, a penalty and a drop goal.

Match facts
L Irish 30 (18):
Tries: Drotske, Horak, Martens, Sackey
Cons: Everitt 2
Pen: Everitt
Drop: Everitt
Roth'm 11 (6):
Try: Oliver
Pens: Pez 2

Centre Matt Oliver grabbed a consolation try for Rotherham seven minutes from time, with Italian international fly-half Ramiro Pez adding two penalties.

But the promotion contenders were not able to exert sufficient pressure to cause a repeat of their upset of Bristol in the last round.

Irish got off to a perfect start when Everitt landed a smart drop goal inside the first minute.

He added a penalty after eight minutes to extend the lead, before Pez rewarded the visitors' first attacking foray in the 16th minute with one of his own.

The Exiles' pressure began to tell though and they were rewarded with a burrowing try from hooker Drotske on the half-hour.

Everitt failed with the conversion attempt from the touchline but successfully added the extras as Irish scored again shortly afterwards.

London Irish lock Bob Casey is hauled down by two Rotherham tacklers
Rotherham competed bravely

Horak, returning to the side on the left wing, came off his flank to good effect to scramble over after a clinical build-up.

Irish were cruising at 18-3 but Pez landed his second penalty just before the interval to keep the underdogs in with a shout.

They dominated the third quarter on the resumption, but failed to breach a typically swarming Irish defence.

Instead it was the home side who broke away on the hour when scrum-half Martens finished off a series of phases.

Everitt converted to make it 25-6, and Sackey sealed a comfortable victory when he burst onto a pass to streak clear 12 minutes from time.

Oliver did well to exploit an overlap for some consolation, but the underdogs had already had their day.

London Irish: Mapletoft; Sackey, Burrows, Venter, Horak; Everitt, Martens; Worsley, Drotske, Halford, Casey, Kennedy, Gustard (capt), Danaher, Sheasby.
Replacements: Barrett, Appleford, Dawson, Kirke, Delaney, Hatley, Hardwick.

Rotherham: Benson; Dixon, Oliver, Umaga, Wood; Pez, Rauluni; Lloyd, Towes, Noon, Cook, Kenworthy, Greef, Spence, Schmid.
Replacements: Gravel, Bunting, Giacheri, Remnant, Harrison, Cannon, Ewens.

Referee: Tony Spreadbury (RFU)

BBC Sport's Alaistair Ekyn
"It will take a special performace to prise the trophy from their grasp"

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