Exiles keep Cup hopes alive

London Irish 42 Newport 5

London Irish 42 Newport 5

Barry Everitt contributed 22 points in a virtuoso display as London Irish ran in five tries to keep their hopes of qualifying for the Heineken cup quarter finals alive – and emphatically ended Newport’s.

Irish made sure there was no repeat slip-up following last weekend’s 16-12 setback at Newport.

Irish established their control early on and never released their grip.

The Welsh side, already trailing 3-0 to an early Everitt penalty, suffered a blow when they lost second row Simon Raiwalui to the sin-bin for 10 minutes early in the first half after a high and late tackle on full-back Michael Horak.

From the resulting penalty, line-out and drive, Irish set up Everitt to spot a gap and slice his way through the Newport defence for a try which he converted to stretch the lead to 10-0.

The Irish pack were dominant and their quick tackling ensured the Newport backs were rarely able to construct any meaningful attacks.

After number eight Chris Sheasby twice drove for the Newport line, being stopped inches short on one occasion, the pressure paid dividends and wing Justin Bishop raced over in the corner.

Everitt missed the conversion but landed two more penalties to stretch the lead to 21-0 by half-time.

The Exiles‘ dominance continued in the second half when player coach Brendan Venter forced his way over to leave Everitt another easy conversion.

Irish took the opportunity to introduce 33-year-old replacement Rob Hardwick to celebrate his 100th appearance for the club in style.

Hardwick, who had marked the occasion by leading the side out with his sons Tom, Robin and Will, replaced Simon Halford in the front row.

Irish were forced to play for 10 minutes without flanker Kieron Dawson who was sin-binned for repeatedly killing the ball.

That sparked a short-lived spell of Newport pressure which came to an abrupt end when replacement Ian Gough was yellow-carded for stamping.

Everitt crowned his own excellent performance by setting up the fourth try for Horak with a burst from midfield and a kick ahead.

Everitt converted and was also on target when replacement Mark Mapletoft exploited a ragged Newport defence for the fifth try.

Newport finally got on the score sheet through centre Jason Jones-Hughes but it was too little too late and their miserable afternoon was summed up when Jason Strange fluffed the easy conversion.

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