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Toulouse sneak win over London Irish

Monday 9th October 2006

12:00 am (GMT)

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- 09/10/2006 16:40

- 09/10/2006 16:40

In a group dominated by Llanelli Scarlets, three times Heineken Cup Champions Toulouse must win at the Madejski to stand any chance of getting out of Pool 5.
Lying 10 points behind the Scarlets, anything less than a bonus point win, and an Ulster victory at Ravenhill, would mean Toulouse would fail to get out of the Pool.
London Irish, meanwhile, lie bottom of the Pool and will be looking for two big wins to restore a bit of pride.

When the sides met in Round 2, Toulouse won 37-17 in front of 18,314 at Stade Ernest Wallon.

London Irish welcomes back four of its international players to the starting lineup for the fixture with Toulouse.

The Exiles will be encouraged by the return to action of their pair of young Argentine internationals, Juan Leguizamon and Gonzalo Tiesi.  The latter joins an exciting back line whose average age is just 22.  Dominic Shabbo makes his first start on the right wing since returning from England Sevens duty.

Leguizamon is joined in the back row by Olivier Magne, who returns to face his fellow countrymen.  In the only other change to the pack that played in Gloucester on New Year’s Day Tonga Lea’eatoa starts at loose-head prop in place of Neal Hatley.

Former Toulouse player, Aidan McCullen is named on the bench as is Riki Flutey who returns for the first time in ten weeks having recovered from an injured leg.

“Tomorrow we face the mighty Toulouse, a club with a heritage in the Heineken Cup that is second to none,” said Brian Smith, London Irish’s Director of Rugby.  “At present they are third in France’s ‘Top 14’ and as formidable opposition as any in Europe.

“In Guy Noves and his immensely talented squad we see ‘kindred spirits’ in a rugby context.  They like to play the game at pace; they excel at off-loading in the tackle and in using their attacking skills to damage the opposition.  When we met in France in late October, both teams rose to the occasion and produced a great game of rugby.  I’m sure our supporters are in for more of the same on Saturday, although we will be going all out to ensure the result is reversed!” added Smith. 

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Toulouse sneak win over London Irish

Monday 9th October 2006

12:00 am (GMT)

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- 09/10/2006 16:40

- 09/10/2006 16:40

Toulouse moved up into second in Pool Five after their 26-24 win over London Irish at the Madejski Stadium.

Two tries by wing Xavier Garbajosa laid the ground work as the French led 12-5 at half-time, while new England prospect 20-year-old Shane Geraghty touched down for the Irish.

Former Wales captain Gareth Thomas was a revelation for the three-times champions and handed his country a well-timed Six Nations boost three weeks before they open their campaign against Ireland with a superb display.

Thomas produced a block-buster display and helped set up two late tries in the last ten minutes which saw his side sneak a narrow win.

Wales’ record try-scorer had been out for two months with a bruised knee-cap, but is now primed to return just in time for the opening Six Nations game at the Millennium Stadium on February 4.

But ‘Alfie’ saved the best till late in the game after finding a space in the Irish defence, the 32-year-old slipped a pass to Benoit Baby, whose converted try put Toulouse into a 19-12 lead with time running out.

And the ex-Wales captain was on hand again to set up Jean-Baptiste Elissalde to cross for the bonus-point match-winning try in injury time which made the win safe.

With the clock running down, inside-centre Seilala Mapusua struck for Irish and put full-back Delon Armitage over for his hat-trick which made for a nail-biting last few minutes before the win was secured for Toulouse.


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