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Sunday, 19 January, 2003, 17:03 GMT
Exiles surprise Toulouse
Heineken Cup: Pool Five
London Irish 32-29 Toulouse



London Irish - already eliminated from the tournament - became the first side to beat Toulouse in Europe this season with a well-deserved win at the Majeski Stadium.

Nick Burrows had a great game in the London Irish midfield
Exiles centre Nick Burrows breaks the first tackle

Tries from right-wing Paul Sackey and prop Mike Worsley, plus 17 points from the boot of fly-half Barry Everitt, accounted for the French side.

Toulouse's shock defeat means they now face a home quarter-final against Northampton, rather than an all-French clash with Biarritz.

The Exiles grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and their early pressure paid off when Worsley crashed in from close range.

Everitt converted before adding two first half penalties.

It was left to the boot of scrum-half Jean-Baptiste Elissalde to keep Toulouse in touch and his fourth penalty enabled the French side to cut the deficit to one point.

But two minutes later and deep into first-half injury time, Sackey's controversial try gave Irish an 18-12 lead at the break.

We threw it away in Edinburgh last week and totally dominated Newport so it's very disappointing

Conor O'Shea
London Irish coach
The speedy winger chased a superbly-weighted kick into the right-hand corner from his centre partner Nick Burrows.

Toulouse full-back Nicolas Jean-Jean could only flap at the ball one-handed, and the touch judge ruled that Sackey had scored even though Toulouse's protest looked to have a strong foundation.

Everitt saw his conversion from the touchline rebound from the post, and despite a late scoring flurry, the French side could never quite recover from the blow of conceding that try.

Match details:
London Irish 32 (18)
Tries: Worsley, Sackey 2
Pen: Everitt 5
Con: Everitt

Toulouse 29 (12)
Tries: Michalak, Clerc
Cons: Elissalde 2
Pens: Elissalde 5

Two more penalties from Everitt, with one from Elissalde in between, saw Irish stretch their lead to 21-15.

And there was absolutely no doubt about the try when Sackey struck again in the 64th minute.

Taking a pass from Worsley, he raced away to dive over in the right-hand corner.

Toulouse responded with two tries in the late stages.

When Irish left a big gap following a scrum, the French side's fly-half, Frederick Michalak, strolled in to touch down and leave Elissalde an easy conversion.

Two minutes later the Irish nerves were steadied when Everitt landed a 74th-minute penalty, and that score proved crucial.

And with just two minutes of normal time remaining, a long pass from number eight Christian Labat created space for replacement Vincent Clerc to score underneath the posts.

Elissalde converted to take his personal points tally to 19.

London Irish were left to play out four minutes of injury time and, even though Everitt missed a last-ditch penalty, they had done enough to secure the win.


London Irish: Mapletoft, Sackey, Burrows, Venter, Barrett, Everitt, Martens, Worsley, Drotske, Hardwick, Delaney, Casey, Gustard, Dawson, Sheasby.
Not Used: Cannon, Appleford, Cockle, Kirke, Danaher, Durant, Halford.

Toulouse: Jean-Jean, Ntamack, Desbrosse, Jauzion, Garbajosa, Michalak, Elissalde, Lecouls, Servat, Poux, Lamboley, Pelous, Brennan, F. Maka, Labit.
Not Used: Soulette, Bru, Gerard, Bouilhou, Delaigue, Clerc, Poitreneau.

Referee: Ian Ramage (Scotland)

Attendance: 9,297


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14 Feb 03 | European
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