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London Irish will need a first win of their Heineken Champions Cup campaign to boost their qualification hopes as they welcome DHL Stormers on Sunday.
The Gallagher Premiership side went down 32-27 at home to Montpellier Hérault Rugby on the opening night before losing 34-14 to DHL Stormers in Cape Town, leaving them second-bottom of Pool B.
DHL Stormers, meanwhile, are fifth, with their Round 2 win over Irish the perfect response to a 24-14 defeat at ASM Clermont Auvergne in their first ever Heineken Champions Cup game.
Coming into their Round 3 encounter, Irish have won two on the bounce in the Premiership while DHL Stormers have won two out of their last three matches in the United Rugby Championship.
The match kicks off at 13:00 (UK & Irish time) at the Gtech Community Stadium, Brentford, and can be watched on BT Sport, SuperSport, beIN SPORTS and FloRugby.
We're BACK 😍
Which #HeinekenChampionsCup R3️⃣ thriller will you be watching? pic.twitter.com/JIVp8KDboC
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) January 10, 2023
DHL Stormers’ Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu: “London Irish are a quality outfit and playing any side away from home always presents a different challenge. It’s a challenge that we are more than capable of taking by the neck and I expect nothing less from the boys that run out on the weekend.
Ben Loader made a round-high 146 metres in Round 2, beating the most defenders (nine).
Four of Paddy Jackson’s six restarts were retained in the last round – a round high. His total of five is the highest of the competition so far.
Irish have made a tournament-high 32 dominant tackle contacts.
Hacjivah Dayimani made 119 metres in the last round – more than any other forward. He also made four clean break and three offloads.
The Stormers have made only nine dominant carry contacts; their 6 per cent carry dominance is the lowest in the competition.
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DHL Stomers secured their second win in Heineken Champions Cup Pool B as they cruised to a 0-0 victory at 13-man London Irish on Sunday.
The South African outfit made it back-to-back victories over the Gallagher Premiership side as a penalty try and further scores from Ruhan Nel, Suleiman Hartzenberg and Angelo Davids earned them maximum points in Brentford.
It was a frustrating afternoon for Irish as they saw Ben Loader and Ciaran Parker sent off in a third straight pool stage defeat, though they were far from disgraced amid their numerical disadvantage, notching through a penalty try and Danilo Fischetti in the second half.
DHL Stomers were ahead on 13 minutes as a cleverly worked maul was dragged down on the line, resulting in a penalty try and a yellow card for Irish flanker Juan Martin Gonzalez.
The hosts looked to have conceded a second try four minutes later, but the TMO revealed that DHL Stormers fly-half Manie Libbok’s pass to wing Davids went forward.
I'll take that 🙋♂️
Unreal line speed from @THESTORMERS and @RuhanNel7 has a little juggle before running it in under the posts 🤹♂️#HeinekenChampionsCup pic.twitter.com/cc8hYLtdAJ
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) January 15, 2023
However, the officials also spotted a high tackle on Libbok by Irish full-back Ben Loader, who was sent off amid no mitigation and a high degree of danger.
Irish continued to plug away despite their reduced numbers, but it proved to be a fruitless first half – fly-half Rory Jennings dragged a penalty wide from in front of the posts on 25 minutes.
DHL Stormers would then grab their second try as centre Nel flew out the defensive line to intercept and cruise under the posts from just inside the Irish half.
A third try came three minutes before the break as Sacha Mngomezulu, on for Libbok after he was injured in the clash with Loader, stabbed a smart kick in behind the Irish defence, with wing Hartzenberg gathering and stepping inside to finish.
Irish’s afternoon became even more difficult two minutes after the restart as replacement prop Parker, who had come off the bench at half-time, was dismissed for an illegal clear-out.
Sacha Mngomezulu produces the perfect grubber for Suleiman Hartzenberg 🎯@THESTORMERS get their third try just before half-time to open up a comfortable lead 📈#HeinekenChampionsCup pic.twitter.com/CmxFbJnraf
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) January 15, 2023
Davids then secured the bonus point for DHL Stormers as he scooped up a kick forward from centre Daniel du Plessis and dotted down.
However, the 13 men of Irish got themselves on the board on 50 minutes as a rumbling maul earned them a penalty try in a carbon copy of DHL Stormers’ opening score.
The visitors’ captain Steven Kitshoff was sent to the sin bin amid the cynical infringement, but the contest would fizzle out of the final half an hour.
Replacement prop Fischetti powered over on 76 minutes to see Irish end the game on a positive, with Nel squandering the chance to add a fifth try for DHL Stormers as he knocked on when grounding.
In the final round of pool stage games next weekend, London Irish travel to Montpellier Hérault Rugby on Sunday, with DHL Stormers hosting ASM Clermont Auvergne the day prior.
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