London Irish conquer Cardiff to take top spot
Irish must rely on other teams to determine their fate.
London Irish moved to the top of Pool Four of the Anglo-Welsh Cup competition following a 42-21 bonus-point victory over Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park.
However, Irish might still not qualify as they have completed their fixtures and will have to hope both Leicester and Newcastle lose their remaining matches if they are to progress to the semi-finals.
Ofisa Treviranus scored two tries for Irish with Alex Lewington, Tom Fowlie, Joe Cokanasiga and Arno Botha also crossing. James Marshall converted all six.
Aled Summerhill, Corey Domachowski and Seb Davies scored Blues’ tries, all of which Steven Shingler converted but this was their fourth defeat in the competition and they finished pointless.
Irish suffered an early blow when their captain Mike Coman was helped off with a leg injury after only two minutes.
But they soon overcame this setback to take the lead when Lewington collected a well-judged cross-field kick from Brophy Clews to score the opening try.
Blues responded with their first try as Ryan Edwards latched onto a kick ahead before providing the scoring pass for Summerhill.
Shingler converted for the scores to be level at 7-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Irish regained the lead when drives from Franco van der Merwe and David Paice softened up the home defence for Treviranus to crash over.
The visitors’ pack became the dominant force so it was against the run of play when Blues scored next.
An excellent break from Garyn Smith tore Irish apart before he handed on to number eight Davies, who showed remarkable pace to hold off the attention of wing Joe Cokanasiga to cross.
Five minutes before half-time, Botha burst from a maul 20 metres out to score Irish’s third try and give them a deserved 21-14 lead at the interval.
Six minutes after the restart, Irish picked up their bonus point when the hosts failed to stop Treviranus as he powered away from a five-metre scrum to score his second try.
Irish sealed victory when Botha ran 50 metres to set up a try for Fowlie before Domachowski rewarded a spirited Blues by scoring their third.
But Irish had the final say when Cokanasiga scored their sixth try with the final move of the match.