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Exiles keep hopes alive

London Irish kept their slim hopes of quarter-final qualification in the Amlin Challenge Cup alive for 24 hours at least with a 20-14 win at Mont de Marsan.

A brace of tries from Jack Moates secured a third tournament win in five despite director of rugby Brian Smith naming a second-string side for the trip to France.

The Exiles built on last week's shock Aviva Premiership win at Kingsholm as scrum-half Moates crossed in each half in difficult conditions at the Stade Guy Boniface but Pool One leaders Gloucester will still knock Irish out of the competition if they win at bottom side Bordeaux-Begles on Friday night.

Moates' first try came when he spotted a gap around the fringes after strong work from his pack after 26 minutes, while the 20-year-old's second was a result of Matt Garvey's charge down six minutes after the interval.

The latter score pushed Irish 17-0 in front after Steven Shingler had slotted his second conversion to go with a 13th-minute penalty as the visitors took control on French soil.

Centre Simon Lucu kept things interesting with a try converted by Thibault Duvallet after 54 minutes but Shingler made it 20-7 with a second penalty 17 minutes later.

Lucu's second try and Jean-Baptiste Claverie's conversion made for a nervy ending with six minutes still to play but Irish held firm to head home with a morale-boosting win.

A late try from Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips gave Bayonne a 25-22 win over Newport Gwent Dragons at the Stade Jean Dauger but their failure to gain a try-scoring bonus point means Wasps can claim a place in the knockout stages with a five-point win over Italian minnows Mogliano on Saturday.

Phillips crossed with four minutes remaining after a try from Lewis Evans and 17 points from Tom Prydie looked like earning the Dragons an away win.

The visitors led 16-6 at the break thanks to Evans' 21st-minute score but tries from David Roumieu and Sam Gerber after 54 and 64 minutes had Bayonne back within a point at 19-18. Prydie made it a 22-18 with a fifth penalty after 68 minutes but Phillips had the final say.


From Belfast Telegraph