London Irish travelled to the South of France to take on European giants Toulon in what turned out to be an ill-tempered Challenge Cup quarterfinal tie.
The visitors got off to a flying start as they ran into an early 10 – 0 lead courtesy of a powerful driving maul try and Paddy Jackson’s boot.
The home side however methodically worked their way in no small part thanks to captain Charles Ollivon who spotted a gap through the middle of a ruck to run in untouched.
Whilst this tetchy affair saw several well taken scores most notably that of Henry Arundell. It was the discipline or lack thereof from both sides that will grab the headlines. Referee Sam Grove-White was forced to brandish three yellow cards throughout the fixture, one of which could certainly have been a red card.
The first two yellow cards came via a fracas that was started by scrumhalf Baptiste Serin and was escalated by several forwards.
Particularly interesting was the tussle between Springbok hardman Eben Eztabeth and former Argentina captain Augustin Creevy. As the situation was escalating, Greevy appears to grab Etzabeth’s hair which sends the giant lock into a frenzy.
Despite being at the centre of the incident Etzabeth avoided being penalised whilst Creevy joined Serin in the bin.
The fixture continued to have niggle throughout which it has to be said added to the occasion for two sides who are both sitting in 8th position in their domestic leagues. For Toulon the days of dominating Europe appear to be firmly in the rear-view mirror. With that being said they still possess several quality players and will fancy their chances of winning the Challenge Cup this season