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Rugby Challenge Cup round-up: Smith salutes unsung hero Dorrian


London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith admitted he was taken aback by Myles Dorrian’s kicking display after the fly-half converted all ten Exiles tries in their 70-14 victory over Rovigo.

Topsy Ojo grabbed a hat-trick of scores, while Eoin Griffin, Dan Leo, Kieran Low, Leo Halavatu, Tom Guest, James Short Dorrian also crossed over against the Italian outfit.

And it was Dorrian who impressed the boss more than anyone else, with his unerring accuracy off the tee and his ability to control proceedings, as Irish made the perfect start to their European Rugby Challenge Cup campaign.

“Every try seemed to be scored in a corner. He had one easy kick, everything else was from out wide,” said Smith

“I am so happy for him that he nailed the last conversion because ten from ten is as good a kicking performance as you are going to get.

“He is one of the unsung heroes of the club. He goes about his work without any fuss. He runs water for the starting team every week and is the ultimate club man.”

Saturday brought no joy to the Aviva Premiership Rugby contingent of London Welsh and Exeter Chiefs as both suffered first round defeats away from home.

Welsh found themselves behind early on against Lyon in their Pool 4 clash but tries from Chris Elder and James Lewis meant the Exiles were only trailing 21-15 at the break.

But when Seb Stegmann was shown a yellow card, the Welsh defence succumbed to the pressure and Seru Sukanaveita touched down for the hosts who ran out 28-18 winners.

The Chiefs meanwhile took on another French side in the form of Bayonne and started well with Adam Hughes going over early to put the visitors in control.

Opeti Fonua and Pierre Sayerse hit back for Bayonne to hand them a 17-16 half-time lead, but a Carl Rimmer score had the Chiefs back ahead.

Rob Baxter’s men looked good for the win but with just two minutes remaining Tonga international Lisiate Fa’aoso went over to seal a 30-24 win for the hosts.

Baxter said afterwards: “I know the players are frustrated because they put a lot of physical effort into it and I know they will be frustrated by the direction of some of the things they did. “But I am not going to sit here and say it should be perfect from players that haven’t been playing together.

“As frustrating as it is for me and as frustrating as it is for the players, sometimes you just have to take it on the chin.

“A win here would have been a great achievement, but we have come up a bit short and not achieved our goal of winning, which we came here to do.”

Friday night saw Newcastle Falcons get their campaign off to a winning start at the expense of Bucharest Wolves – collecting their third straight win in all competitions in the process.

After Aviva Premiership Rugby wins over Exeter Chiefs and London Welsh, The Falcons ran out 43-19 winners against the Romanian outfit on Friday.

Will Witty dotted down in the very first minute, while Lee Smith had his side’s second score just three minutes later in what was a frantic start.

And the hosts never looked back as Chris Harris, Mark Wilson, David Nelson and Tom Penny (2) all crossed in the seven-try win.

And on Thursday Gloucester Rugby signalled their intent in the competition with a thumping 55-0 defeat of Brive at Kingsholm.

Charlie Sharples starred on his 150th appearance for the Cherry and Whites, scoring a hat-trick of tries with James Hook, Darren Dawidiuk and Dan Robson all crossing.    

And wing Jonny May insists everybody got what they deserved from the match, saving special praise for Sharples on his landmark evening.

“I’m just delighted because we have worked really hard this season and we are coming together,” said May.

“I am really happy for Charlie. He is a loyal servant to the club, a great player and a great teammate and he got what he deserved for him.

“They have been scoring over 20 points a game in their league and they are a great attacking side so credit to our side to nil them.”

London Irish 70 Rovigo 14
London Irish
Tries: Ojo 3, Dorrian, Griffin, Halavatu, Low, Guest, Leo, Short
Conversions: Dorrian 10
Tries: Mahoney, De Marchi
Conversions: Farolini, Basson
Referee: Vlad Iordescu
Attendance: 4,219
Bayonne 30 Exeter Chiefs 24

Tries: Fonua, Sayerse, Fa'aoso
Conversions: Loustalot 3
Penalties: Loustalot 3

Exeter Chiefs
Tries: Hughes, Rimmer
Conversions: Sweeney
Penalties: Sweeney 3, Arnott

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon
Attendance: 8,206

Lyon 28 London Welsh 18

Tries: Januarie, Estebanez, Romanet, Sukanaveita
Conversions: Porical 4

London Welsh
Tries: Elder, Lewis
Conversions: Roberts
Penalties: Roberts 2
Referee: Claudio Blessano
Attendance: 8,455
Newcastle Falcons 43 Bucharest Wolves 19

Newcastle Falcons
Tries: Witty, Smith, Harris, Wilson, Penny 2, Nelson
Conversions: Clegg 3, Smith

Bucharest Wolves
Tries: Ionita, Botezatu 2
Conversions: Samoa 2

Referee: David Wilkinson
Attendance: 3,053
Gloucester Rugby 55 Brive 0

Gloucester Rugby
Tries: Sharples 3, Hook, Dawidiuk, Robson, Penalty
Conversions: Laidlaw 3, Hook, Cook 2, Robson
Penalties: Laidlaw 2
Referee: Ian Davies
Attendance: 9,793 

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