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Booth refusing to give up

London Irish head coach Toby Booth conceded his side face a massive task to qualify for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals after suffering a 25-19 home defeat to Racing Metro.

Irish reinvigorated their campaign with a superb bonus point win in Paris last week, but they undid that work as Racing grabbed their first win. The loss leaves Booth's side five points behind Pool Two's joint leaders Cardiff Blues and Edinburgh with two matches left to play.

"I never accept it (failing to qualify) until it is not possible but, if it was hard enough before, then it is hard enough now," Booth said.

"We didn't take our chances and we were unable to control the tempo of the game. Those two points were the reasons why we are talking about it now (as a losing team). How much slow ball did we have?

"You have to give Racing credit for controlling our environment.

"When you stress them, you have to be clinical and we weren't clinical. It is all about getting to the red zone and getting something from it. You have to control the scoreboard.

"They got an intercept try when we were forcing the issue when we didn't have to."

Booth remains hopeful of progressing, though, adding: "We have always said how evenly positioned the group is. It has been the nature of this competition and the group and it reminds you that, if you perform at home, the easier it is."

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