London celebrations

Toulon 19-18 London Irish: Hosts book Challenge Cup semi-final spot despite Henry Arundell try

Henry Arundell – one of England’s hottest prospects – scored a miraculous try from the length of the pitch, but that couldn’t stop the London Irish from narrowly failing against Toulon.

Arundell, just 19, had already been on England head coach Eddie Jones’ radar for the summer tour of Australia, such has been his stunning form in recent weeks.

You had to see his effort at the Stade Félix Mayol to believe it. Arundell left the Toulon tacklers in his wake for one of the best tries you’ll ever see.

Henry Arundell’s (front, right) incredible try didn’t help the London Irish win

Had Paddy Jackson converted his effort and not missed a second-half penalty, the Irishman would have scored a famous European success.

Unfortunately for Declan Kidney’s team, the shots went wrong. This means that Toulon will host the Saracens in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup.

The Irish had all the odds against them on the Côte d’Azur, but they scared Toulon at home, especially in the first half.

Following their victory, Toulon will face Saracens next week for a place in the Challenge Cup final

Following their victory, Toulon will face Saracens next week for a place in the Challenge Cup final

Toulon and Saracens are more used to competing for the Champions Cup, but their Challenge Cup semi-final promises to be a game.

MATCH FACTS

Scorers

Toulon

Try: Ollivon 60

Versus : Carbonel 60

Pens: Carbonel 37, 40, 45, 67

London Irish

try: Tuisue 10, Arundell 76

Versus : Jackson 11

Pens: Jackson 5.63

Toulouse: Luke; Villière, Septar (Belleau 72), Paia’aua, Cordin (Wainiqolo 76); Carbonel, Serin; Gros (Fresia 54), Etrillard (Tolofua 45), Brookes (Gigashvili 33), Etzebeth (Lakafia 60), Rebbadj, Du Preez, Ollivon (capt), Isa (Alainu’uese 54)

Replacement not used: White

London Irish: Parton (Arundell 50); Rowe, Rona, Van Rensburg, Hassell-Collins (Joseph 60); Jackson, White (Phipps 60); Gigena (Goodrick-Clarke 54), Creevy (Cornish 60), Van der Merwe (Parker 46); Coleman, Simmons (Mafi 64), Rogerson (captain), Gonzalez (Pearson 23-35), Tuisue (Cornish 38-46) (Pearson 56)

Arbitrator: Sam Grove-White (Scotland)

Starman: Charles Ollivon (Toulon)

Referee Mike Adamson retired late and was replaced by fellow Scot Sam Grove-White.

The one-man Irish were exceptional in the top 40. To have a chance at Stade Félix Mayol, they needed to at least match a giant Toulon team in physical exchanges. They did more than that.

Albert Tuisue and Adam Coleman led the charge as the visitors got off to a fast start. Tuisue gave notice of his intentions and Ollie Hassell-Collins was also involved early on.

This allowed Jackson to score the first three points. His counterpart Louis Carbonel put the restart on full and Irish scrum-half Ben White took advantage of a brilliant kick from 50:22.

From the platform, Irish twice refused kicks at goal to try and it paid off when on the second occasion Tuisue was knocked down.

Carbonel also missed a penalty as the Irish continued to excel. Their defense was both relentless and resolute.

They also won a crucial scrum penalty to relieve the pressure.

Toulon frustration overflowed before the break. Their scrum half Baptiste Serin pushed Rob Simmons after Jackson tackled Carbonel high.

A melee ensued, with Irish hooker Agustin Creevy convicted for pulling the hair of Toulon giant lock Eben Etzebeth. Serin also saw yellow for inciting chaos.

It was a moment of madness from the over-exuberant Creevy and a very questionable decision given that Etzebeth is one of the biggest and toughest.

The end result was a simple penalty from Carbonel and the Frenchman also scored three extra points from the halfway line with the last kick of the first 40 minutes.

The Irish would no doubt have been disappointed to hover around just four points clear as heavy rain fell at the interval.

Carbonel scored a third penalty when the game resumed.

The number of penalties from the opposing team was increasing, but they remained in the competition. Curtis Rona, smooth as silk, slipped into midfield.

But then Irish flanker Juan Martin Gonzalez – who was surprised to be taken off the field for a first-half head injury assessment – ​​hit Carbonel high and was rightly condemned.

Louis Carbonel (pictured) scored 14 of Toulon's 19 points against the London Irish

Louis Carbonel (pictured) scored 14 of Toulon’s 19 points against the London Irish

Jackson then missed a golden opportunity to extend Irish’s one-point lead from the tee.

This turned out to be crucial.

Serin quickly took over and Toulon quickly made the rounds of the pack. It was the French team’s first true intent attack and ended with Charles Ollivon picking and starting from a ruck.

Grove-White gave the score after consulting TMO Ben Whitehouse and Carbonel couldn’t miss the conversion given that Ollivon had waltzed between the posts.

Jackson responded with a penalty, but then dropped a pass into his own end zone while trying to clear and conceded a five-yard scrum.

Greasy conditions played a key role in Jackson’s error.

Carbonel then scored three points after Toulon won a scrum penalty.

The Irish had unloaded their bench by this stage with promising young English talent Arundell and Will Joseph introduced. It didn’t take long for Arundell to make an impact.

England head coach Eddie Jones is a huge Arundell fan and this game showed why

England head coach Eddie Jones is a huge Arundell fan and this game showed why

When the Irish returned to their own line, all seemed lost.

But Arundell is a player and he showed why not just by getting his team out of trouble, but by crossing for a wonderful try after the ball went through Nick Phipps’ legs.

The young full-back swung back and forth and then displayed exceptional pace to drive to the corner for a try that was rightly celebrated loudly by his team-mates.

He beat seven Toulon defenders and went 114 yards to score.

Basically, Jackson couldn’t convert from the touchline and Toulon pretty much held on in a game that will always be remembered for the sheer genius of Arundell.

The young full-back qualifies for Scotland and Wales as well as England, but expect to see him in a white Test shirt sooner rather than later. Jones is a big fan and this game showed why.