The Exiles fielded a very young side for the encounter with them all rising to the occasion, especially Jack Moates who crossed for two tries.
A huge down pour of rain an hour before the start of the game meant that this Amlin Challenge Cup tie was not going to be a hugely entertaining spectacle.
It was contested up front early on with the hosts opting to keep the ball tight. Irish were matching their opponents, opting to play and similar brand of rugby, which was working effectively for them.
Both sides exchanged in a game of kicking tennis in the lead up to Irish scoring their first points. Jonathan Joseph ran the ball back, making inroads into the Mont de Marsan defence. Jack Moates, who marshalled his forwards well all evening, kept his forwards carrying ball and forced the hosts to give away a penalty. Steven Shingler stepped up to make it 3-0 on 13 minutes.
Irish scored the first try of the match on 27 minutes and it was a beauty given the conditions. Shane Geraghty, captain for the evening, was orchestrating play well in attack with Yarde, Armitage, Shingler and Joseph looking dangerous with ball in hand. Once the backs had taken play into the Mont de Marsan red zone, the forwards continued the momentum. Jack Moates saw a gap around the fringe and powered his way over for the try. Shingler added the extras to make it 10-0 and that is how it remained until half time.
Irish started the second half in the ascendency with some great work by the pack, especially at the set piece. Steven Shingler missed a difficult penalty attempt and from the resulting 22 metre drop out; Matt Garvey charged down and hacked through for Jack Moates to dot down his second try of the evening. Shingler added the straight forward conversion to put Irish 17-0 ahead.
The hosts then enjoyed a dominant 10 minute period of possession and deservedly crossed for a try. Ximon Lucu was on hand to slide over after regathering a neat kick by Jean Baptiste Claverie. The fly half added the conversion to make it 17-7 to the Exiles.
Irish showed composure in the remaining quarter repelling any Mont de Marsan driving mauls and looking to play for territory whenever possible.
The game got quite lose in the final stages and Mont de Marsan took advantage with a length of the field score with some superb handling along the way.
Irish controlled the final stage to record a 20-14 victory. The Exiles welcome Bordeaux-Begles to Madejski Stadium next Saturday for the final round of the Amlin Challenge cup.
Score sequence (London Irish first): 3-0, 10-0, 17-0, 17-7, 20-7, 20-14
Scorers: London Irish: Penalties: Shingler (13, 64); Tries: Moates (27, 47); Conversions: Shingler (2); Mont de Marsan; Tries: Lucu (55, 75); Conversions: Claverie (2)
Mont de Marsan
15. Thibault Duvallet (rep: Alexandre Douvesy, 69); 14. Yohann Durquet; 13. Ximon Lucu; 12. Tamaz Mchedlidze; 11. Jordan Beaulavon (rep: William Ryder, 63); 10. Jean Baptiste Claverie; 9. Laurent Magnaval; 1. Pierre Correia (rep: Morgan Phelipponneau, 55); 2. Thomas Bordes (rep: Victor Paquet, 61); 3. Mathieu Giudicelli (rep: Julian Fiorini, 33);; 4. Sebastien De Chaves; 5. Scott Murray (Captain); 6. Yann Brethous; 7. Vincent Farre; 8. Alexandre Ricaud (rep: Aldric Lescure, 61)
Replacements: 16. Victor Paquet; 17. Morgan Phelipponneau; 18. Vickus Liebenberg; 19. Aldric Lescure; 20. Arnaud Pic; 21. Alexandre Douvesy 22. William Ryder; 23. Julian Fiorini
15. Jonathan Joseph; 14. Anthony Watson (rep: Topsy Ojo, 72); 13. Steven Shingler; 12. Guy Armitage (rep: Topsy Ojo, 17-23); 11. Marland Yarde (rep: Conor Gaston, 72); 10. Shane Geraghty; 9. Jack Moates; 1. Jerry Yanuyanutawa; 2. Brian Blaney (rep: Ricahrd Palframan, 56); 3. Halani Aulika; 4. James Sandford (rep: Declan Danaher, 56); 5. Kieran Low (rep: Bryn Evans, 75); 6. Matt Garvey; 7. Jamie Gibson; 8. Alex Gray
Replacements: 16. Gerard Ellis; 17. Max Lahiff; 18. Richard Palframan; 19. Bryn Evans; 20. Declan Danaher; 21. Conor Gaston; 22. Topsy Ojo; 23. Darren Allinson
Referee: Arbitre Mitrea
Show your "Exile-Style" and wear it with pride!