Toulon inch towards quarter-finals with 20-26 win over London Irish

Paddy Jackson's effort went in vain for London Irish
Paddy Jackson's effort went in vain for London Irish

London Irish 20-26 Toulon, Madejski Stadium

Toulon went on to register their fourth consecutive win in the European Challenge Cup as they edged out Premiership side London Irish 20-26 at Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

The French side now have 18 points from four games as they inch closer to the quarter-finals while London Irish are positioned third with seven points.

Paddy Jackson kick-started the proceedings with a fifth-minute penalty goal but back to back three-pointers from Anthony Belleau ensured Toulon had a three-point lead by the 13th minute.

The home side stepped up the gears with Albert Tuisue working his way at the back of scrum went over the line and Jackson's conversion ensured the teams finished the first quarter with 10-6 scoreline but Belleau kept the visitors in front with his back to back penalties making the scoreline 10-12.

As the half-time was approaching, London Irish were punished for their infringements with Ruan Botha and Terrence Hepetema sin-binned in the 35th and 40th minutes respectively between which Toulon got their first try in the game through Masivesi Dakuwaqa as the teams finished the first half with a 10-19 scoreline.

Jackson reduced the arrears to six points for the Exiles with an early penalty goal in the second half and after a series of desperation from both the sides, Toulon broke the shackles with Baptiste Serin crossing the whitewash that was improved by Louis Carbonel making the scoreline 13-26.

As Toulon were reduced to 14-men in the final seven minutes with Stephane Onambele Mbarga's sin-bin, London Irish managed a try from Barney Maddison and a conversion from Jackson but could not quite get over the line.