London Irish power into the last eight
January 24, 2009
Winger Adam Thompstone scored one of the Exiles' three tries
© Getty Images
London Irish beat Rovigo 23-9 in their European Challenge Cup Pool 1 clash at Stadio Mario Battaglini to secure top seeding in this season's quarter-finals.
Tries from Kieran Roche, Adam Thompstone and Dominic Shabbo held off a stubborn effort from the Italians. Roche set the second-string Exiles on their way before half-time at the Stadio Mario Battaglini.
But the visitors were reduced to 14 men when lock Gary Johnson was sin-binned and three penalties from German Bustos kicked Rovigo back into the game. Toby Booth's men went back in front when Shane Geraghty added a 57th-minute penalty before Thompstone gave the Guinness Premiership side breathing space.
It was only the 21-year-old academy wing Thompstone's second try at senior level and the Exiles maintained their unbeaten run when Shabbo crossed three minutes from time to confirm their status as top seeds.
Rovigo: Pablo Calanchini, Gabriel Pizarro, Stefano Ambrosio, Norman di Maura, Andrea Bacchetti, German Bustos, Stefano Canale, Bruno Fortuna, Luke Mahoney, Juan Pablo Orlandi, Tomasso Reato, Alfredo Giuria, Younes Anouer, Jacobus Immelman, Ronald Cribb
Replacements: Flavio Damiano, Valerio Vicere, Daniele Tumiati, Niccolò Badocchi, Marco Barion, Juan Cruz Legora, Emanuel Pellegrini
London Irish: Tomas De Vedia, Adam Thompstone, Elvis Seveali'i, Charlie Gower, James Bailey, Shane Geraghty, Alfredo Lalanne, Tonga Lea'aetoa, James Buckland, Richard Skuse, James Hudson, Gary Johnson, Kieran Roche, Declan Danaher, Richard Thorpe
Replacements: Clarke Dermody, Danie Coetzee, Nick Kennedy, Steffon Armitage, Delon Armitage, Warren Fury, Dominic Shabbo
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin
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