London Irish edge out Bayonne in high-scoring encounter

Paddy Jackson kicked 15 points
Paddy Jackson kicked 15 points

London Irish 45-31 Bayonne, Madejski Stadium

Lonon Irish scored seven tries as they got their first win in the European Challenge Cup with a 45-31 victory over Bayonne at Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

The Exiles now have moved to second place in Pool 2 while Bayonne are languishing at the bottom after losing both their games.

The game started with brisk pace as Arthur Duhau dotted down in the sixth minute and Brandon Fajardo followed with the conversion for Bayonne. London Irish responded back with a try from Alivereti Veitokani but a missed conversion from Paddy Jackson meant they were trailing by two points by the end of the first quarter.

In a fast-paced second quarter, Bayonne scored three tries despite a sin-bin to fullback Julien Tisseron. Toma Taufa (23'), Duhau (27') and Matthew Luamanu (33') all crossed over but London Irish finished the first half with a 31-24 lead after Jackson (26'), Albert Tuisue (31'), Tom Stephenson (36') and Terrence Hepetema (39') crossing over.

The dominance from London Irish continued in the second half with Saia Fainga'a (47) and Ben Meehan (52') also crossing the whitewash taking their tally to 45 points before Luamanu's second reduced Bayonne's losing margin to 14 points.