Toulon 19-18 London Irish: Hosts book their place in the Challenge Cup semi-final despite Henry Arundell’s incredible try for The Exiles
- Henry Arundell scored an incredible length-of-the field try against Toulons
- But the 19-year-old could not stop his side from getting eliminated on Sunday
- Toulon will take on Saracens for a place in the final of the Challenge Cup
Henry Arundell – one of English rugby’s hottest prospects – scored a miraculous length-of-the field try, but it couldn’t stop London Irish from falling just short against Toulon.
Arundell, still only 19, had already been on England head coach Eddie Jones’ radar for the summer tour of Australia such has been his stunning form in recent weeks.
His effort at the Stade Felix Mayol had to be seen to be believed. Arundell left Toulon tacklers trailing in his wake for one of the best tries you’ll ever see.
Henry Arundell’s (front,right) incredible length-of-the-field try could not help London Irish win
Tries: Ollivon 60
Con: Carbonel 60
Pens: Carbonel 37, 40, 45, 67
Tries: Tuisue 10, Arundell 76
Con: Jackson 11
Pens: Jackson 5, 63
Toulon: Luc; Villiere, Septar (Belleau 72), Paia’aua, Cordin (Wainiqolo 76); Carbonel, Serin; Gros (Fresia 54), Etrillard (Tolofua 45), Brookes (Gigashvili 33), Etzebeth (Lakafia 60), Rebbadj, Du Preez, Ollivon (capt), Isa (Alainu’uese 54)
Replacement not used: Blanc
London Irish: Parton (Arundell 50); Rowe, Rona, Van Rensburg, Hassell-Collins (Joseph 60); Jackson, White (Phipps 60); Gigena (Goodrick-Clarke 54), Creevy (Cornish 60), Van der Merwe (Parker 46); Coleman, Simmons (Mafi 64), Rogerson (capt), Gonzalez (Pearson 23-35), Tuisue (Cornish 38-46) (Pearson 56)
Referee: Sam Grove-White (Scotland)
Star man: Charles Ollivon (Toulon)
Had Paddy Jackson converted his effort and not missed an earlier second-half penalty, Irish would have claimed a famous European success.
Sadly for Declan Kidney’s side, the kicks went awry. It means Toulon will host Saracens in the Challenge Cup semi-finals.
Irish had the odds stacked against them on the Cote d’Azur, but they gave Toulon a big fright on home turf – especially in the first half.
Both Toulon and Saracens are more used to competing for the Champions Cup, but their Challenge Cup semi-final promises to be some game.
Referee Mike Adamson was a late withdrawal and was replaced by his fellow Scot Sam Grove-White.
Irish to a man were exceptional in the first 40. To have any chance at the Stade Felix Mayol they had to at least match a giant Toulon side in the physical exchanges. They did more than that.
Albert Tuisue and Adam Coleman led the charge as the visitors made a fast start. Tuisue served notice of his intentions and Ollie Hassell-Collins was also involved early on.
It allowed Jackson to kick the first three points. His opposite number Louis Carbonel put the restart out on the full and Irish scrum-half Ben White profiteered with a brilliant 50:22 kick.
From the platform, Irish twice turned down kicks at goal to go for the try and it paid off when on the second occasion, Tuisue was driven over.
Carbonel also missed a penalty as Irish continued to excel. Their defence was both relentless and resolute.
They also won a crucial scrum penalty to relieve some pressure.
Toulon’s frustration spilled over before the break. Their scrum-half Baptiste Serin pushed Rob Simmons after Jackson tackled Carbonel high.
A melee ensued, with Irish hooker Agustin Creevy sin binned for pulling the hair of the giant Toulon lock Eben Etzebeth. Serin also saw yellow for instigating the chaos.
It was a moment of madness from the over-exuberant Creevy and a very questionable decision given Etzebeth is one of the biggest and hardest about.
Following their win, Toulon will play Saracens next week for a place in the Challenge Cup final
The end result was a simple Carbonel penalty and the Frenchman also nailed three more points from the halfway line with the last kick of the first 40 minutes.
Irish would no doubt have been disappointed to turn around just four points to the good as heavy rain came down at the interval.
Carbonel nailed a third penalty when the game resumed.
The away side’s penalty count was mounting, but they stayed in the contest. The smooth-as-silk Curtis Rona glided through midfield.
But then Irish flanker Juan Martin Gonzalez – who was surprised to be removed from the field for a head injury assessment in the first half – hit Carbonel high and was rightly sin binned.
Louis Carbonel (pictured) kicked 14 of Toulon’s 19 points against London Irish
Jackson then missed a golden opportunity to extend Irish’s one-point lead from the tee.
It proved crucial.
Serin took the restart quickly and Toulon had soon gone the length of the field. It was the French side’s first real attack of intent and ended with Charles Ollivon picking and going from a ruck.
Grove-White gave the score after consulting with TMO Ben Whitehouse and Carbonel couldn’t miss the conversion given Ollivon had waltzed over between the posts.
Jackson did respond with a penalty, but he then dropped a pass in his own in-goal area attempting to clear and conceded a five-metre scrum.
The greasy conditions played a key part in Jackson’s mistake.
Carbonel subsequently kicked three points after Toulon won a scrum penalty.
Irish had unloaded their bench by this point with promising young English talents Arundell and Will Joseph introduced. It didn’t take Arundell long to make an impact.
England head coach Eddie Jones is a huge fan of Arundell and this game showed why
When Irish were trailing back towards their own line, all looked lost.
But Arundell is some player and he showed why by not only getting his team out of trouble, but crossing for a wonder try after the ball had gone through Nick Phipps’ legs.
The young full-back went this way and that and then showed exceptional pace to make it to the corner for a try which was rightly celebrated in raucous fashion by his team-mates.
He beat seven Toulon defenders and went 114 metres to score.
Crucially, Jackson couldn’t convert from the touchline and Toulon just about held on in a game which will always be remembered for Arundell’s sheer genius.
The young back qualifies for Scotland and Wales as well as England, but expect to see him a white Test shirt sooner rather than later. Jones is a huge fan and this game showed why.
Share this article
Source: Read Full Article