OFISA Treviranus scored two of London Irish’s six tries as they over-powered Cardiff Blues 42-21 in their final Anglo-Welsh Cup pool game on Friday night, a fourth straight victory for Nick Kennedy’s men, writes Richard Ashton.

It was not an ideal start for the visitors, though, as Exiles suffered an early blow at the Cardiff Arms Park as captain Mike Coman was injured in just the second minute, replaced by South African Sebastian De Chaves in the second row.

However, things got better shortly afterwards when the away side opened the scoring, a beautiful cross-field kick by in-form fly half Theo Brophy Clews landing perfectly for the prolific Alex Lewington to cross the whitewash. James Marshall added the extras and Irish were 7-0 up.

Yet Blues hit back just five minutes later, centre Alex Summerhill showing an impressive turn of pace to carve through the visitors’ defence and sprint clear, former Exile Steve Shingler converting to level the scores.

Irish continued the nip-and-tuck nature of an entertaining opening half by going back in front shortly after. Marshall kicked a penalty to the corner rather than taking a shot at goal, and the away side were rewarded when, after a series of phases near the Cardiff line, Treviranus smashed his way over for his first try. Marshall made no mistake from the tee and Irish were again seven points to the good.

Max Northcote-Green then came close to extending the lead after a wonderful off-load from scrum half Piet van Zyl, but the powerful flanker was held up near the line.

And it was Cardiff who drew level for a second time almost immediately after, No. 8 Seb Davies showing impressive strength to fend off Joe Cokansiga before touching down. Shingler’s conversion made it 14-14.

Exiles were to go back in front four minutes before the break, however, with Arno Botha scoring his first try for the club on his second appearance. The South African flanker – who joined Irish along with van Zyl from Blue Bulls last month – continued his impressive start to life in England by running a fine support line and crossing under the posts. With Marshall again successful with the conversion, Exiles led 21-14 at the break.

It took just five minutes of the second half for the visitors to secure their bonus point, Treviranus picking up off the back of a powerful five-metre scrum before crashing over for his second try. Marshall made it four from four with the boot and Kennedy’s men were 28-14 to the good.

Cardiff came back strongly and battered the Irish line at the beginning of the final quarter, only for some magnificent Exiles defence to be followed by a 40-metre Botha break and Tom Fowlie finishing off against the run of play to push the away side further in front. With Marshall again on target, the game was as good as over with Irish 35-14 ahead with 13 minutes remaining.

Blues did give themselves a faint glimmer of hope with a converted try by replacement prop Corey Domachowski in 73 minutes, but it was Irish who had the final say, Cokanasiga continuing his hot try-scoring streak with another in injury time to secure a convincing victory.

The result temporarily lifts London Irish to the top of Pool Four, although they will need both Newcastle and Leicester to lose in order to have a chance of reaching the semi finals.

Exiles return to Aviva Premiership action next Saturday against Sale Sharks (3pm), in what begins a crucial three-game sequence followed by a trip to Northampton Saints and a home fixture against relegation rivals Worcester Warriors.