LONDON Irish completed their regular season Greene King IPA Championship campaign with a 19th win from 20 matches courtesy of a 22-5 victory at Doncaster Knights on Saturday.
Nick Kennedy’s men will now take on the same opponents in the play-offs later this month, with the south Yorkshire outfit finishing fourth in the table.
The visitors took a 10th-minute lead thanks to a Tommy Bell penalty, and at the end of a hard-fought first half, a moment of Alex Lewington (pictured) magic extended their advantage further.
The in-form wing took his tally to five tries in six games with a lightning break on the stroke of half time, collecting a Theo Brophy Clews pass to scorch home from 30 metres out.
Exiles took complete control shortly after the interval, their dominant forward pack earning a penalty try after a powerful rolling maul was halted illegally by Doncaster. Bell added the extras to put London Irish 15-0 to the good.
A third try in just seven minutes followed when Aseli Tikoirotuma broke through the hosts’ defence before finding Brophy Clews, and the England Under 20s man passed the ball on to scrum half Brendan McKibbin to score. A second Bell conversion all but killed the game off as Irish led 22-0.
The home side did show some character and were on top for the final 20 minutes, Bell and Tikoirotuma both picking up yellow cards.
And Doncaster were rewarded with a try from the last play of the game, wing Tyson Lewis collecting a Simon Humberstone chip to dot down despite the best efforts of Joe Cokanasiga before Douggie Flockhart struck the upright with the conversion.
London Irish have a week off before returning to Doncaster on Sunday, April 30, with the return leg at Madejski Stadium taking place the following Saturday.