London Irish Wonder What Might Have Been
London Irish were left to wonder what might have been after they ended Toulouse’s unbeaten record in this year’s pool stages with a 32-29 victory over the competition joint favourites on Saturday. However, ‘Irish’ fail to make the quarter-finals having earlier suffered lossses in Newport and more recently, Edinburgh. They led by 12 points in that game with 10 minutes to go and that loss in Scotland will hurt most. There was only five points between themselves and Toulouse when the sides met in France so Conor O’Shea was understandably disappointed afterwards.“This was our first time in Europe and we won all our home games so I have to be happy with that. I’m obviously also delighted with today’s performance but disappointed that we haven’t managed to go further. We threw it away in Edinburgh last week but before that we also dominated in Newport so all in all it’s a bit frustrating not to be still involved. But we’ve enjoyed the whole experience and will be doing everything in our power to get back into it next season.”
On Saturday in the Madjeski Stadium, they faced a French side containing 10 internationals and six more on the bench. Paul Sackey scored a first half try to put them 18-12 up at the break and a second from the wing on the hour had Irish 29-15 clear.
Toulouse staged a late fight-back but Irish had more than enough in the tank to survive for a victory that owed much to the 17 points scored by out-half, Barry Everitt.