LONDON Irish remain five points clear at the top of the RFU Championship after sealing a six-try 38-5 victory at Hartpury RFC on Friday night.

Declan Kidney's men suffered an early blow when hooker Motu Matu'u was injured in the fourth minute, but they responded almost immediately as in-form wing Matt Williams scored another superb individual try, breaking a couple of tackles before surging clear to dot down.

Stephen Myler's conversion attempt struck the post, and Hartpury then came back into the game, launching a series of attacks which the visitors did well to repel.

Having soaked up the pressure, Exiles then moved further in front in the 20th minute.

Topsy Ojo chipped ahead and collected his own kick, before Irish went through the phases allowing scrum-half Ben Meehan to snipe over from close range.

This time Myler did add the extras to make it 12-0, and his fellow former Northampton Saints teammate Tom Stephenson added the third on 29 minutes.

A fine break from Italian international Luke McLean proved the catalyst, and his pass to Stephenson allowed the centre to run in from 20 metres.

Myler again slotted the conversion, but Hartpury rallied and Irish were reduced to 14 men when Franco van der Merwe illegally brought down a rolling maul as the hosts attacked.

Hartpury made the most of their numerical advantage and got the try their efforts deserved on 35 minutes, going through the phases before Dan Murphy crossed from close range.

Irish responded emphatically, however, and wrapped up the bonus-point on the stroke of half-time when their top try scorer, replacement hooker Dave Porecki, a clever off-load allowing the Australian to dot down for his ninth score of a prolific campaign.

Myler bagged the extra two points to make it 26-5 at the break, and it took just four minutes of the second half for Irish to grab their fifth try.

A wonderful break from Stephenson, who raced 30 metres before being stopped, set-up good field position in the hosts' 22, and the ball eventually found its way to Exiles' top all-time try scorer Topsy Ojo to cross the whitewash.

Myler made it 33-5 with his fourth conversion from five attempts, and while Irish came close to further scores through Meehan and Fergus Mulchrone, they had to wait until the 78th minute for their final try, Scott Steele dotting down after a typically powerful rolling maul left the line at his mercy.

London Irish do not have a game this weekend, returning to action at home to Richmond on Sunday, January 13.

Hartpury Wilcox; Foley (Henry, 45), Leonard, Eves, Seabrook; Leeming, Bolt (Chapman, 68); Murphy (Adkins, 68), Tanner (Stratford, 65), Harden (Flook, 50), Quinn (Kelland, 68), Linsell (capt), Qera (Stephenson), Pashley, Grieve

London Irish McLean; Ojo, Mulchrone, Stephenson (Campbell, 72), Williams; Myler (Steele, 68), Meehan; Hobbs-Awoyemi (Elrington, 68), Matu’u (Porecki, 4), Cilliers (Chawatama, 68), van der Merwe, Paolo, McNally (capt), Gilsenan, Rogerson (Treviranus, 61)

Referee Greg Macdonald