Irish stage another fightback to beat Cardiff

A last-minute converted Curtis Rona try sealed a dramatic 41-35 victory for 14-man London Irish over Cardiff to secure a spot in the last eight of European Challenge Cup.

Former Australian rugby league star Rona darted under the posts with the final play of the game after a fantastic line-break from young centre Ollie Haskell-Collins as Irish fought back from 32-20 down with 10 minutes to go after prop Will Goodrick-Clarke was red-carded just after half-time for a high tackle on Dillon Lewis.

The Welsh side, who are two-time winners of the competition, looked set for victory when they raced to a comfortable second-half lead having gone in 17-13 in front at half-time thanks to tries from Kristian Dacey and Josh Adams that were converted by Jarrod Evans.

Ben Loader had crossed for Irish with Paddy Jackson kicking two penalties and a conversion before the break with Ollie Hassell-Collins then going over shortly after Goodrick-Clarke’s dismissal to reduce the arrears to two points.

Jackson added the extras to level the match, but Cardiff stepped up a gear and looked well in control of the game after Jason Harries and Lloyd Williams scored tries.

But as they have done so many times this season, Irish hit back with the returning Terrence Hepetema powering over, then Hassel-Collins finishing off a delightful move with Jackson’s kick then giving the Exiles a two-point advantage.

However, Cardiff looked to have had the final say when Evans kicked a drop-goal to make it 35-32 only for Rona to send the Blues out of the competition with his late five-pointer that Jackson once again converted.