London Irish 20-26 Toulon: Ill-discipline costs Irish as European campaign slips away
|European Challenge Cup Pool 2|
|London Irish (10) 20|
|Tries: Tuisue, Maddison Cons: Jackson 2 Pens: Jackson 2|
|Toulon (19) 26|
|Tries: Dakuwaqa, Serin Cons: Belleau, Carbonel Pens: Belleau 4|
London Irish's European Challenge Cup was effectively ended with an ill-disciplined defeat by Toulon.
They took a first-half lead with a try from number eight Albert Tuisue, but a litany of penalties allowed Anthony Belleau to kick the French club ahead.
Irish then saw captain Ruan Botha and Terrence Heptema sin-binned as they ended the first half with only 13 men.
Toulon capitalised with Masivesi Dakuwaqa and Baptiste Serin scoring, before Barney Maddison's try for Irish.
Defeat leaves Irish with only one win from four matches and securing a quarter-final as a best runner-up is now extremely unlikely, even if they win their final two matches.
They were quickly on the wrong side of the referee and gave Belleau four opportunities from the tee in the first half and had two players yellow-carded - Botha after a number of offences and Heptema for a high tackle.
Toulon made the difference count with a cross-kick to Fijian winger Dakuwaqa and put the game beyond doubt when France scrum-half Serin went over in the second half.
Replacement Maddison rescued a bonus point for Irish with a try three minutes from time but it is highly doubtful that their European campaign will extend beyond the end of January.
London Irish: Brophy Clews; Rona, Stephenson, Hepetema, Hassell-Collins; Jackson, Meehan; Hobbs-Awoyemi, Fainga'a, Hoskins, Botha (capt), Coleman, Mafi, Donnell, Tuisue.
Replacements: Matu'u, Dell, Chawatama, Maddison, Nott, Phipps, Fowlie, Cokanasiga.
Sin-bin: Ruan Botha, Terrence Heptema
Toulon: Heem; Dakuwaoa, Savea, Belleau, Cordin; Serin, Carbonel; Devaux, Etrillard (capt), Gigashvili, Etzebeth, R Taofifenua, Messam, Ollivon, Parisse.
Replacements: Soury, Gros, S Taofifenua, Ikpefan, Onambele, Te'o, Cottin, Rebbadj.
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