Ansbro shines as Irish revive campaign

London Irish kept their Heineken Cup hopes alive with a stunning 34-14 bonus-point success over Racing Metro. A brace of tries in less than five minutes halfway through the second period set the Exiles on their way to their first win of the competition as they bounced back from previous Pool 2 defeats to Edinburgh and Cardiff Blues.

Impressive scores from Scotland centre Joe Ansbro and Adam Thompstone turned the game on its head after 54 and 57 minutes respectively before Thompstone claimed his second with seven minutes remaining at the Stade Yves Du Manoir. Irish trailed 14-10 at the interval after Jonathan Spratt had matched Sereli Bobo’s early effort but there was only one side in it after the break.

Northampton’s indiscipline cost them dearly against Castres and ended their participation in this season’s Heineken Cup as they slumped to a sorry 41-22 defeat in France.

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The English side produced a real Jekyll and Hyde performance and were well beaten, with fly-half Steve Myler and flanker Tom Wood both sin-binned in the first and second half.

The French side took full advantage and the English side could not survive playing with 14 men for 20 minutes in this must-win Pool 1 clash.

Saints coach Jim Mallinder will now have to focus on his side’s Aviva Premiership campaign and will know he has some work to do to rebuild the battered confidence and morale of his side.

“We are out of the competition and that is hard and we are playing for pride now,” Mallinder said.

The boot of Kristopher Burton proved the difference as he kicked 16 points to spur Benetton Treviso to a shock 30-26 home win over French giants Biarritz.

The Italian side had gone into the Pool 5 game with an unbeaten home record in the competition and Burton helped them maintain that with three conversions and three penalties.

Early tries by Michele Rizzo and Robert Barbieri were converted by fly-half Burton, before Pelu Taele replied with a try.

Treviso’s Cornelius van Zyl and Biarritz’s Marcelo Bosch traded tries before Burton kicked a penalty as the home side led 24-12 at the break.

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New Zealand-born Italy internationalist Burton opened up the second half with a penalty but tries from Damien Traille and Yann Lesgourgues and two conversions by replacement Julien Peyrelongue brought the visitors within a point, before Burton’s late penalty edged his side to a famous win.

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