London Irish centre Terrence Hepetema showcased his delight as he came off the bench to score a vital try in his side’s 41-35 European Rugby Challenge Cup victory over Cardiff Blues on Friday evening.
The Gallagher Premiership side were 32-20 behind heading into the final 10 minutes of the contest at the Brentford Community Stadium before Curtis Rona notched a sensational 79th minute winner for the hosts.
The dramatic late comeback ensured an all-English quarter-final tie against Bath Rugby next weekend – and Hepetema was almost lost for words when discussing his side’s achievement.
“It’s pretty hard to sum it up! Where do you start with that one?” said the 29-year-old New Zealander.
“It was pretty even going into the half, after we played our way back into it in the final ten minutes.
“Then the red and the yellow cards at the start of the second half put us on the back foot for a short period, but then we really fought back well.
“We stuck to the game plan, we trusted the process – and we got the win, so we couldn’t be more delighted.”
Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in a stunning late twist 🤩@Rona1Curtis dived over the line to complete an incredible comeback and send jubilant @londonirish into the quarter-finals ☘️#ChallengeCupRugby pic.twitter.com/I3bdo7NW34
— Challenge Cup (@ERChallengeCup) April 5, 2021
Hepetema notched the second of three tries in the final 10 minutes for Irish, putting his side in striking distance of a stunning European comeback.
“It was nice to come off the bench – I just tried to express myself and make an impact, and thankfully I managed to do that.
“I was happy with the way it went.”
He added: “We’ve sort of got a knack of pulling these results out of the bag at the moment.
“I think we look at our best when we express ourselves and show the world what we’re about it.”