Fixtures - Top Bar

European Challenge Cup Round-Up: Battling London Irish knocked out

London Irish fell agonisingly short of a place in the European Challenge Cup semi-finals as they went down 23-18 to Edinburgh at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday.

Edinburgh raced into a 16-0 lead thanks to the boot of Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and a WP Nel try before Irish fought back with Conor Gilsenan and Scott Steele crossing the whitewash.

But the visitors responded through Fraser McKenzie before the TMO ruled that Exiles hooker David Paice was held up over the line as the clock went red.

That sealed the home side’s fate and Edinburgh boss Alan Solomons is adamant it was his side’s never-say-die attitude that saw them past the resilient Exiles.

“Our defence wasn't up to the mark, we made errors at crucial times but I was very proud of the effort at the end,” he explained.

“We really hung-in, stuck to our guns and came through for the victory. The important thing, in reference to Edinburgh sides in the past, was that we stuck to the task.

“We made sure we came home with the win which is a massive positive and we now have a home semi-final at Murrayfield which is fantastic.

“I think it's a wonderful thing for us to have a semi-final in the European Challenge Cup.”

Edinburgh will host Newport Gwent Dragons after they beat Welsh rivals Cardiff Blues on Saturday lunchtime.

Dragons had trailed 14-3 at Rodney Parade following scores from Lloyd Williams and Gareth Anscombe.

But Hallam Amos burst clear and crossed the whitewash to get the hosts back in touch before Nic Cudd followed up and a penalty try handed them the win, despite Josh Navidi’s late effort.

Exeter Chiefs ran in six tries to emphatically see off Newcastle Falcons 48-13 but director of rugby Rob Baxter says it was Chiefs’ defensive resilience that bodes well for the future.

Dave Ewers’ score and a penalty try helped Exeter into a 17-6 half-time lead at Sandy Park before Thomas Waldrom, Byron McGuigan, Sam Hill and Dean Mumm dotted down after the break.

Chris Harris’ 68th-minute try was as good as it got for the Falcons and the Chiefs now have an away semi-final against Gloucester Rugby – a prospect that excites Baxter.

“Things are there for us to play for now which makes things very exciting,” he said.

“If you look at where we are now, getting into the final of the LV=Cup, being around the top end of Aviva Premiership Rugby and now through to the semi-final of the European competition, it shows that over the course of the season that we have been consistent in the right way.

“The tries were great and were fantastic for everyone to watch but for me what was most pleasing was the defensive performance and the way that we managed to control the game.”

And Gloucester Rugby booked their place in the last four with a hard-fought 14-7 win over Connacht underneath the Friday night lights at Kingsholm.

Fly-half James Hook was in scintillating form as he created scores for Charlie Sharples and Billy Meakes but the Irish province refused to roll over and a penalty try prompted a nervous finish.

But the Cherry & Whites dug in to secure the victory and director of rugby David Humphreys believes his side’s tough tackling made all the difference.

“Ultimately our defence won us the game,” said Humphreys. “After a five-day turnaround, we were very good in the first half but we tightened up in the second half and made a few errors.

“It was very nervy at the end and it was a massive relief to win but that's what knock-out rugby is all about. It's a reward for the amount of hard work we've put in this season.

“When James (Hook) plays well, we play well. We are moving in the right direction and our results at Kingsholm have been improving since the New Year.”

SUNDAY
 
London Irish 18 Edinburgh 23
 
London Irish

Tries: Gilsenan, Steele
Conversion: Geraghty
Penalties: Geraghty 2
 
Edinburgh
Tries: Nel, McKenzie
Conversions: Hidalgo-Clyne 2
Penalties: Hidalgo-Clyne 3
 
Referee: Pascal Gauzere
Attendance: 4,783
 
SATURDAY
 
Newport Gwent Dragons 25 Cardiff Blues 21
 
Newport Gwent Dragons
Tries: Amos, Cudd, penalty
Conversions: Prydie 2
Penalties: Prydie, D Jones
 
Cardiff Blues
Tries: L Williams, Anscombe, Navidi
Conversions: Anscombe 3
 
Referee: JP Doyle
Attendance: 8,119
 
Exeter Chiefs 48 Newcastle Falcons 13

 
Exeter Chiefs
Tries: Ewers, penalty, Waldrom, McGuigan, Hill, Mumm
Conversions: Slade 4, Steenson 2
Penalties: Slade 2
 
Newcastle Falcons
Try: Harris
Conversion: Catterick
Penalties: Catterick 2
 
Referee: Marius Mitrea
Attendance: 10,022
 
FRIDAY
 
Gloucester 14 Connacht 7
 
Gloucester

Tries: Sharples, Meakes
Conversions: Laidlaw 2

Connacht
Tries: penalty
Conversions: Carty

Referee: Mathieu Rayna
Attendance: 14,236

Latest News

George North gets first 2017 tour try in dramatic British & Irish Lions draw

The British & Irish Lions concluded their midweek fixture list in New Zealand with a thrilling 31-31 draw against the…

Newcastle Falcons can’t wait for trip to Philadelphia

Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards believes that the second Aviva Premiership Rugby regular season match in America can…

Dean Richards

Mark Reddish retires from rugby

Harlequins second row Mark Reddish has today (Tuesday 27th June) announced that he will retire from the game due to…

Mark Reddish

Aviva Premiership Rugby stars to feature heavily in Lions final midweek game

EIGHT Aviva Premiership players will start the British & Irish Lions’ final midweek game tomorrow looking to force their way…

Teofilo Paulo excited by London Irish move but will miss home cooking

Samoan international Teofilo Paulo is making the most of his mum’s cooking ahead of the summer move to London Irish.…

British & Irish Lions beaten in first Test by New Zealand

Two second-half tries from winger Rieko Ioane helped New Zealand to a 30-15 victory in the first Test against the…

Harlequins Ladies coach savours upcoming Women’s Super Rugby season

Women’s sport is booming according to former Richmond prop and Scotland captain Karen Findlay, who is now relishing the prospect…

Aviva Tackling Numbers programme celebrated at Corporate Engagement Awards

Premiership Rugby and its Aviva Tackling Numbers programme enjoyed not one but two moments in the spotlight at the Corporate…

Corporate Engagement Awards

Lions ready for battle on eve of All Blacks Test

After months of waiting and weeks of build-up, The British & Irish Lions are ready to face the toughest challenge…

Ex-England star Susie Appleby excited to lead Gloucester-Hartpury in inaugural Women’s Super Rugby campaign

Former England international Susie Appleby believes it’s an exciting time for women’s rugby as she issues a rallying cry to…

Wasps confirm 2017/18 pre-season schedule

Wasps have today confirmed their 2017/18 pre-season schedule, which will see them face Connacht Rugby and Ulster Rugby, as well…

Wasps celebrate

Quartet sign Academy contracts with Bath Rugby

Bath Rugby is delighted to confirm that Rhys Davies, Wil Partington, Miles Reid, and Kieran Verden have all signed long-term…

Todd Blackadder

Clare Daniels hoping to inspire the next generation of female rugby referees

The first female official in Aviva Premiership Rugby history, Clare Daniels, has urged girls and women to take up officiating…

Luke McLean enthused by London Irish move

Luke McLean is looking to reignite his international career under Italy Head Coach Conor O’Shea following his summer move to…

All Black Francis Saili joins Harlequins

Harlequins is excited to confirm today (Wednesday 21st June) that All Black Francis Saili has joined the Club. Commenting on…

Francis Saili

Bath Rugby sign Phillips from Bristol Rugby

Bath Rugby is pleased to announce the signing of James Phillips, who has joined the Club from Bristol Rugby until…

JamesPhillips1

Nowell gets two tries as Lions see off Chiefs in Hamilton

Exeter Chiefs’ Jack Nowell returned to his sparkling best with two tries for the British & Irish Lions in their…

Nalaga a big coup for Irish says international teammate Tikoirotuma

Explosive wing Napolioni Nalaga can be an big hit in every sense of the word during next season's Aviva Premiership…

Masi and Everard return to Wasps alongside new Academy Manager Jonathan Pendlebury

Wasps are pleased to announce a new Academy structure ahead of the 2017/18 season. The new set-up sees former Yorkshire…

The new Wasps academy coaches