The Aviva ‘A’ League took centre stage once again following a two month break, but there was no let-up for London Irish as they went down 36-0 against Exeter Braves at Hazelwood.

The visitors, who judging by this display will have ambitions of lifting the ‘A’ League title, ran in six tries to secure the bonus point win at the Exiles’ Sunbury training base.

Irish play host to Bath United in the next instalment of ‘A’ League fixtures, and will no doubt be keen to right the wrongs of Easter Monday.

The hosts were 10-0 down at the break after hooker Shaun Malton and fly-half Will Hooley touched down for unconverted tries. Malton crashed over from a lineout on eight minutes, before Hooley coasted through a gap to race 20 metres midway through the half. Hooley, who was pulling the strings in the midfield, was unable to convert both scores.

Joe Cockanasiga’s first half display was one of the shining lights for the Exiles with his explosive carries on the wing. The 18-year-old, who was a key figure in the Academy side that were crowned Premiership champions last month, looked a dangerous proposition out wide.  

Three minutes into the second period, and with the windswept conditions easing, the Devon outfit increased their lead courtesy of a Haydn Thomas try. Again, Exeter’s lineout was effective to give Thomas the ammunition to cross the whitewash with Hooley adding the extras for a 24-0 lead.

Two tries in quick succession followed just before the hour mark through Ben White and replacement hooker Elvis Taione, Hooley converting one of the two scores.

Exeter’s last try came on 66 minutes when replacement fly-half Joe Simmonds crossed the line following great forward play. Simmonds took over the kicking duties to convert his own try to end the game 36-0.   

London Irish: 15 Christian Lewis-Pratt, 14 Tom Farrell, 13 Tom Fowlie, 12 Tom Halse, 11 Joe Cockanasiga, 10 Shane Gerraghty, 9 Darren Allinson, 1 Johnny Harris, 2 Gerard Ellis, 3 Geoff Cross, 4 Ollie Curry, 5 David Sisi, 6 Tom Preece, 7 Joe Trayfoot, 8 Tom Guest

Replacements: 16 Jimmy Stevens, 17 Harry Elrington, 18 Joe Tarrant, 19 Luke Frost, 20 Isaac Curtis Harris, 21 Connor Murphy, 22 Ross Neal, 23 Lewis Sampson

Exeter Braves: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Byron McGuigan, 13 Max Bodily, 12 Tom Hendrickson, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Will Hooley, 9 Haydn Thomas, 1 Brett Sturgess, 2 Shaun Malton, 3 Carl Rimmer, 4 Lewis Stevenson, 5 Sam Skinner, 6 Sam Simmonds, 7 Ben White, 8 Tom Johnson

Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Ed Holmes, 20 David Swain, 21 Stuart Townsend, 22 Joe Simmonds, 23 Harrison Cully 

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