London Irish went down 27-17 against Bristol United in the Premiership Rugby A League despite a late fight-back, which saw Tom Woolstencroft and Isaac Curtis-Harris cross the whitewash.

The hosts touched down twice before the interval, courtesy of Jack Wallace and Jack Tovey, while Reiss Cullen stretched over midway through the second half.

In a ferocious encounter, Jacob Atkins broke the deadlock when the London Irish fly-half struck an angled penalty inside 10 minutes.

A Billy Searle penalty drew Bristol level, before Jack Wallace latched onto Tom Hargan’s smart inside pass to race in from 20 metres for a converted score.

Then, on the half hour mark, Jack Tovey rounded off a superb team try to canter in under the posts and stretch the advantage to 17-3 at the interval.

United continued to enjoy the ascendancy after the break and stretched their advantage when Reiss Cullen capitalised on a Giorgi Nemsadze break to wriggle over from close-range.

The Exiles hit back almost immediately through Woolstencroft’s five metre effort, while Curtis-Harris scrambled over to set up a tense finish at Clifton RFC.

In the closing stages Irish came close to levelling proceedings but for a stubborn defensive effort from the hosts, before Billy Searle’s late penalty sealed a deserved win.

Bristol United: 15. Jack Wallace; 14. Tom Hargan, 13. Jack Tovey, 12. James Newey, 11. Maliq Holden (Hartpury BUCS); 10. Billy Searle, 9. Ryan Glynn; 1. Jack Cosgrove, 2. Ben Gompels (Bristol University), 3. Gaston Cortes, 4. Joe Latta (c), 5. Dan Tuohy, 6. James Dun, 7. Nick Fenton-Wells, 8. Giorgi Nemsadze

Replacements: 16. Will Capon (Bristol Grammar School), 17. Ryan Bevington, 18. Alex Giltrow, 19. Joe Batley, 20. Max Cresswell (Bristol University), 21. Reiss Cullen, 22. Robbie Faulkner (Hartpury BUCS), 23. Robbie Forbes (Hartpury BUCS).

London Irish ‘A’: 15 Tom Parton, 14 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 13 Tom Fowlie, 12 Luke McLean, 11 Ben Ransom, 10 Jacob Atkins, 9 Rory Brand, 1 Tom Smallbone (c), 2 Saia Fainga’a, 3 Lovejoy Chawatama, 4 Josh Basham, 5 Will Lloyd, 6 Max Northcote-Green, 7 Isaac Curtis-Harris, 8 Lasha Lomidze.

Replacements: 16 Todd Gleave, 17 Austin Hay, 18 Manasa Saulo, 19 Lee Moore, 20 Tom Woolstencroft, 21 Ed Hoadley, 22 Basil Strang, 23 Alec Coombes.

Ad Space