James Hart plays influential role as Grenoble stun Toulouse

Former Ulster centre Chris Farrell also involved as Bernard Jackman’s side earn fine win at the Stade Ernest Wallon

Grenoble produced arguably the performance of the weekend when they travelled to the Stade Ernest Wallon and beat their hosts Toulouse 25-22 in a pulsating encounter.

It represents a remarkable coup not alone for the Irish coaching axis of Bernard Jackman (head) and Mike Prendergast (backs) but also Dubliner James Hart and former Ireland underage and Ulster centre, Chris Farrell.

Hart began the game at scrumhalf and while his halfback partner, Jonathan Wisniewski, was in the sin bin, kicked two early second half penalties; the Frenchman was to prove his team’s hero with a brace of late penalties.

As Hart left the pitch in the 64th minute, Farrell was introduced in the centre. Jonathan Sexton wasn’t part of the Racing Metro 92 match squad that beat Castres 14-9.


The individual performance of the weekend from an Irish perspective has to go to Exeter Chiefs pivot Gareth Steenson who kicked nine penalties from as many attempts in his side's 27-19 victory in the Aviva Premiership clash at Sandy Park. His fellow Ulstermen Ian Whitten and Ryan Caldwell were introduced as second-half replacements.

In the British & Irish Cup defending champions Leinster A thumped Carmarthen Quins 67-12, thereby atoning for a 26-24 defeat to the Welsh side in the previous round.

Those who were prepared to brave the rather saucy €10 (adults) and €5 (children) that the Leinster Branch charged into Donnybrook were treated to great entertainment.

Three tries

The excellent

Cian Kelleher

grabbed three tries, Mick McGrath two, while Brendan Macken, Gavin Thornbury,

Tom Farrell

, Jeremy Loughman and Nick Timoney contributed one apiece. Cathal Marsh, who had a brilliant game at outhalf, kicked seven conversions and a penalty.

Munster recorded third win from four matches in the tournament as they beat a Nottingham side that contained from Ulster academy prop Conor Carey, 23-16. The Irish province trailed 11-6 at the interval, at which point they had also lost playmaker Johnny Holland, who had contributed the team’s points with a brace of penalties.

However Mick O’Driscoll’s men rallied in the second half and a try from Irish underage international and number eight Jack O’Donoghue and the boot of Niall Scannell saw them edge home.

The Ulster Ravens were thrashed 52-17 at Clifton Lane by the Rotherham Titans with the visitors managing tries from Charlie Butterworth and Paul Jackson. Josh Bingham kicked two conversions while Ritchie McMaster had earlier landed a penalty.

The Titans scored seven tries one of which went to ex-Leinster player Michael Keating. Titans also included three Ulstermen, Adam Macklin, James McKinney and Ali Birch alongside Munster duo Sean Scanlon and Willie Ryan.

Connacht Eagles lost 17-7 away to London Scottish for whom former Seapoint and Stade Francais academy player Peter Lydon kicked two conversions and a penalty. The Irish province managed a try from Conor Finn, which Miah Nikora converted.

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer