Amlin Challenge Cup - Round One
London Irish hit Bordeaux for six
October 13, 2012
Stade Francais' Waisea Nayacalevu darts away from London Welsh's Alex Davies © PA Photos
London Irish came away from France with an impressive 43-14 win over Bordeaux-Begles on Saturday evening.
Irish edged a closely fought first-half 14-6 thanks to tries from Chris Hala'ufia and Topsy Ojo but they broke away in the second 40. Front-rower Halani Aulika burrowed over after 49 minutes with Sailosi Tagicakibau securing the four-try bonus point in the 54th minute. He added another after 63 minutes with Jonathan Joseph scoring their sixth with just nine minutes left. But it was Bordeaux who had the final say with Charles Brousse scoring in the 78th minute.
While London Irish were playing Bordeaux in France, their Premiership rivals Wasps were entertaining the Dragons at Adams Park. Wasps eventually ran out 38-25 victors but it was the away side who scored first through outside centre Adam Hughes. However, they only held the lead for three minutes with Jack Wallace going over for the home side soon after. And Wasps piled two more tries on the Dragons thanks to Italian prop Fabio Staibano and No.8 Billy Vunipola. Owen Evans went over for the away side after 34 minutes but Wasps held a 25-15 lead at the break. There were just two more tries in the second-half with Wasps' Joe Simpson scoring and Jack Dixon grabbing a consolation score for the Dragons meaning the home side ran out victors in their opening European match of the campaign.
Earlier on Saturday, Stade Francais scored nine tries as they overcame European debutants London Welsh 68-19 at the Kassam Stadium.
London Welsh fielded a much-changed line-up from the one that took to the field last weekend and they were powerless against a Stade side that benefitted from Felipe Contepomi being in a rich vein of form. The former Pumas playmaker bagged 25 points - including one try - with his opposite number Gavin Henson only managing 14.
Stade's tries came thanks to a double from Remy Bonfils, two from Hugo Bonneval, a pair from Waisea Nayacalevu Vuidravuwalu, one from Francis Fainifo and Juan Cruz Guillemain also went over along with Contepomi's score. London Welsh's sole try came through Dan George.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Bath began their Amlin Challenge Cup campaign with a 40-17 victory over Bucuresti.
Sam Vesty, starting at fullback, collected 20 of his side's points with a try, three penalties and three conversions. Nineteen-year-old Ollie Devoto was handed a chance to impress at fly-half, and obliged with a try, while Bath bagged three further scores, to lock Will Spencer, hooker Ross Batty and prop Kane Palma-Newport. The other game in Bath's group ended up with Top 14 side Agen coming away from Calvisano with a five-try 36-31 win.
Worcester Warriors thrashed Bizkaia Gernika 87-5 in their opening match of the Challenge Cup running in 13 tries against the Spanish side. The Warriors were 40-0 up by half-time with Blair Cowan going over for a brace, Ben Howard grabbing one, Andy Short scoring twice and Paul Hodgson also crossing on the stroke of half-time.
In the second-half, Worcester continued to run riot with George Porter scoring, Hodgson and Howard grabbing another, Max Stelling bagging a hat-trick and a final score from Alex Grove.
In Italy, Perpignan had no problem against Rovigo, cruising home 79-12. The Top 14 side ran in 11 tries at the Stadio Comunale Mario Battaglini, with Armand Batlle, Lifeimi Mafi, Joffrey Michel and Sebastien Vahaamahina all bagging braces.
On Friday night, Grenoble kicked off their campaign in style with a thumping 59-3 victory over Cavalieri Prato in their clash at the Stade Lesdiguieres. The Top 14 side took a while to find their stride but eventually ran in eight tries to sound out a warning to their Pool 5 rivals.
A penalty try on 34 minutes added to earlier efforts from Matthieu Nicolas and Clement Darbo, before quick-fire scores from Rudolf Coetzee and Anthony Hegarty helped Grenoble build on a 19-3 half-time lead. Prato defended bravely but further tries from Flavein Nouhaillaguet, Gregory Fabro, Alexandre Pollard and Jonathan Pelissie completed the rout.
There was another big victory for a Top 14 side with Bayonne hammering Mogliano 71-7 at the Stade Jean Dauger. The hosts notched a total of 11 tries with winger Marvin O'Connor leading the way with two scores.
Gloucester overcame the sending off of flanker Andy Hazell to begin their tournament with a tense 11-6 win over Mont-de-Marsan in their Pool 1 clash at the Stade Guy Boniface on Thursday night.
The Gloucester openside was shown a red card just before the hour mark for punching with fellow back-rower Matt Cox shown a yellow card after the same incident in an ill-tempered clash that also saw Mont-de-Marsan pair Scott Murray and Ephraim Taukafa receive yellow cards.
The visitors had already gained an 8-3 advantage following a first half try from winger Ian Clark and a penalty from fly-half Tim Taylor with a further penalty from Billy Twelvetrees helping to confirm the victory despite two successful shots at goal from Jean-Baptiste Claverie for the hosts.
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