Bath secure progress with Dragons win
January 11, 2014
Jevon Groves of Newport passes under the tackle of Bath's Ollie Devoto © Getty Images
Bath recorded a comprehensive 30-13 bonus-point win away at the Dragons to secure safe passage into the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter finals.
Bath came storming out of the blocks and opened up a 15-0 lead in the first quarter of an hour as Micky Young crossed before Tom Biggs latched on to a chip ahead from Tom Heathcote to dot down. The visitors had secured the bonus point by half-time as Mat Gilbert and Leroy Houston capped a good spell of Bath pressure to cross either side of Stephen Jones penalties to open up a 27-6 half-time lead.
The Dragons had been thoroughly outplayed in the opening period but finally crossed after ten minutes of the second half as Nick Cudd went over from close range after some stout Bath defending on the try line. The try swung the momentum to the Dragons but they were unable to breach the Bath defence again as the visiting side ran out comfortable winners to cement their place at the top of the pool.
London Irish ran in 13 tries as they strolled to a 79-3 win over Lusitanos XV to move level on points with Stade Francais at the top of Pool 5 with one game to play.
Irish had opened up a massive 36-3 lead at half-time thanks to tries from Guy Armitage, Tom Fowlie and a hat-trick of scores from Andy Fenby - the pick of the bunch just two minutes from half-time as the wing latched on to Shane Geraghty's cross-field kick and raced clear to touch down. It was much of the same in the second period for the home side as Jebb Sinclair, Bryn Evans, Kieran Low, Declan Danaher, Tom Homer and Myles Dorrian all got in on the act, before Armitage and Fowlie both added their second of the evening in the closing stages.
London Irish's Leo Halavatau lines up the Lusitanos XV defence © Getty Images
Sale Sharks saw off Worcester Warriors 21-3 at the AJ Bell Stadium on Friday evening but the game was marred by a serious-looking injury to Warriors' fly-half Paul Warwick.
Dwayne Peel, Sam Tuitupou and Jonathan Mills all crossed as Sharks claimed an impressive win which has taken them five points clear at the top of Pool 1. However, there was concern for Warriors number 10 Warwick who was carried away on a stretcher midway through the second half after play was stopped for 10 minutes as he received treatment by medical personnel.
Sale's hopes of qualification recieved a further boost on Saturday as Oyonnax recorded a surprising 28-24 victory over fellow Top 14 side Biarritz.
Sale Sharks' Mark Cueto breaks clear of the Worcester Warriors defence © PA Photos
Bordeaux-Begles claimed their biggest European victory for more than 12 years with a 10-try win over Rugby Mogliano. Centre Thibault Lacroix and full-back Joaqim Tuculet both crossed twice as the French side brushed aside the Italians at Stade Andre Moga 64-7.
Newcastle Falcons' hopes of reaching the quarter-finals of the Amlin Challenge Cup are hanging by a thread after a late 9-7 defeat to Brive.
Falcons led 7-3 at half-time at Kingston Park after claiming a penalty try in injury time. But the visitors came back with two second-half penalties by Thomas Laranjeira, which saw Brive claim their fourth successive victory over Newcastle and move three points clear at the top of Pool Three.
The result means Newcastle cannot qualify for the knockout stages if Brive avoid defeat in the final round of pool matches against Calvisano next week.
It was a hugely frustrating night for director of rugby Dean Richards, who saw his Falcons side dominate much of the game. They would have been in front early on had 21-year-old fly-half Joel Hodgson not missed two kicks from close range.
Scott Lawson tries to battle forward against Brive © Getty Images
Instead Brive lead through Laranjeira's penalty before lock Apisai Naikatini was binned for pulling down Scott MacLeod at a lineout and number eight Kieran Murphy soon followed for a foul on Warren Fury.
The Falcons pack, against six French forwards, gained a penalty try on the stroke of half-time for a series of collapsed scrums, but they failed to build and Laranjeira struck twice in the second half, including the winning penalty five minutes from time.
Stade Francais' recorded a 31-3 win over Cavalieri Prato in Paris to keep themselves level-pegging with London Irish.
Stade looked to have opened the door for Brian Smith's team as they struggled to get going against their Italian opponents. However, tries from Richard Kingi and Anton Van Zyl in the final minutes secured a bonus-point win and leaves everything on the line next weekend.
Elsewhere, Arix Viadana held Grenoble to a 19-19 draw while Bucuresti rose to see off Calvisano 23-11 in Italy.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
The time for tinkering is over - England must nail their colours to the mast in key positions, writes Phil Vickery
"New Zealand-born Joe Schmidt has forged the Irish into a street-smart, well- prepared side," John Mitchell on the Irish renaissance
"I am bored of hearing 'I can't fault the effort'. Let us take that for granted and look for some quality." John Taylor writes
Reports comparing the 2014 Wallabies with their rabble-like predecessors of 2005 are unfair and self-serving, Greg Growden reports