Anglo-Welsh Cup - Round 2
Big wins for Exiles and Sarries
October 23, 2011
Newcastle's Luke Eves struggles against the London Irish defence © Getty Images
London Irish saw off the challenge of Newcastle Falcons 39-23 at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday to keep their interest in the Anglo-Welsh Cup alive.
England fullback Delon Armitage - back in action after the Rugby World Cup - capped a fine game by scoring a try, while debutant centre Shontayne Hape's break in the final quarter set up the score that killed off Newcastle's brave challenge.
Kiwi fly-half Dan Bowden played his part, rounding off Hape's break among 13 second-half points after coming off the bench for Steven Shingler, while Alan Thompstone's second try ensured Irish earned the bonus point at the death.
Newcastle, victors over Cardiff Blues in round one, scored three tries, to Jamie Helleur, Greg Goosen and replacement Joe Graham, but came up short.
Meanwhile, England hopeful Owen Farrell contributed 28 points in a virtuoso performance as Saracens exacted revenge over the only side to beat them at home in the Aviva Premiership last season.
The 20-year-old son of former dual code international Andy Farrell scored a try, created two more and kicked 23 points with four conversions and five penalties as the hosts defeated Exeter 43-20 at Vicarage Road.
Farrell's pinpoint kicks into the corner set up Saracens' first two tries after they twice opted to kick for position, rather than go for goal. Centre Adam Powell and winger Rodd Penney finished off their fly-half's good work while replacement lock Hugh Vyvyan scored the other Sarries try after good work from Alex Goode.
Exeter replied with tries from lock Chris Bentley and fullback Myles Dorrian, fly-half Gareth Steenson kicking their other 10 points.
London Wasps outscored the Newport Gwent Dragons by four tries to two but still came out on the wrong side of a 30-29 scoreline after a pulsating Anglo-Welsh Cup clash at Adams Park on Saturday night.
The Dragons hit the ground running, racking up a try through loose-head prop Phil Brice after just three minutes of play. Fly-half Ryan Davis opened Wasps' account with a penalty but Steffan Jones replied with a drop goal and then a penalty of his own to put eight points between the sides.
Wasps got themselves right back into the game with tries from No.8 John Hart and wing Tom Varndell but Hallam Amos' touchdown sent the Dragons in 21-17 up at the interval. Lock Ross Filipo edged the home side back in front when he crashed over three minutes into the second period but six points from the boot Jones had the Dragons 27-22 up with three minutes to go.
Replacement scrum-half Joe Simpson then looked to have won it for Wasps when he sniped over but fullback Hugo Southwell was yellow carded just after the restart and his indiscretion allowed Jones to nick it for the visitors.
The Scarlets bagged their second big win of the tournament on Sunday, beating Welsh rivals Cardiff Blues 30-3 at the Cardiff City Stadium.
The youngsters from west Wales were up early and never relinquished control, scoring four tries to back up last weekend's comfortable win over Leicester Tigers.
Winger Liam Warren opened the scoring with a fourth-minute try, hooker Kirby Myhill adding a brilliant solo second before fly-half Rhys Patchell got the Blues on the board with a 31st-minute penalty.
Replacement Richie Pugh came off the bench to snatch a third after the returning Sean Lamont had taken a quick tap penalty, with No.8 Kieran Murphy completing an easy victory with the bonus-point score following good work by fly-half Dan Newton.
Just like Wasps, the Ospreys remain winless after two games after suffering 32-22 defeat by Northampton Saints at the Brewery Field in Bridgend.
Fly-half Matthew Morgan kicked the hosts into an early 6-3 lead but they were reduced to 14 men at the tail end of the first quarter when lock Tom Smith was yellow carded for throwing a punch and the Saints made their numerical advantage count right away, sending Russia wing Vasily Artemyev over for his fourth try in two games following his hat-trick against Saracens last week.
Morgan replied with a penalty whilst the Ospreys were still a man down and then added another before they were restored to their full complement. They were reduced to 14 again on 34 minutes when scrum-half Tom Habberfield was sin-binned for obstruction but the region reached the interval 19-10 to the good courtesy of a try from centre Sonny Parker, who intercepted a loose pass from Artemyev before racing 60 metres to score right on the stroke of half-time.
However, the Saints turned the game around with three tries in the third quarter, with England hooker Dylan Hartley dotting twice before blindside flanker Calum Clark followed him over. Morgan replied with a penalty for the Ospreys on the hour but Stephen Myler responded in kind late on to deny the home side the consolation of a losing bonus point.
Also on Saturday, Bath ran in seven tries and racked up 46 points for the second game in succession as they despatched Aviva Premiership rivals Worcester Warriors 46-13 at the Rec.
The West Country outfit have taken maximum points from their first two games in the 2011 competition and got the scoreboard ticking over in the sixth minute through a Tom Heathcote penalty. However, the boot of Joe Carlisle edged Worcester into the lead but a 10 minute blitz from the home side saw Bath cross the line three times. Fly-half Heathcote scored the opening try of the match in the 20th minute with South Africa international Francois Louw marking his debut for Bath with a try six minutes later. And Matt Banahan's second try in as many matches after 31 minutes gave Bath a 22-6 half-time lead.
Jack Cuthbert wrapped up Bath's four-try bonus point in the 46th minute with Worcester getting some consolation through former London Welsh winger Josh Drauniniu 12 minutes later. But this proved to be in vain as Bath ran in three more scores through No.8 Ben Skirving, winger Ollie Woodburn and versatile back Nick Abendanon.
Meanwhile, on Friday night, Leicester benefited from the return of their England contingent as they swept past Anglo-Welsh Cup holders Gloucester 40-14 at Welford Road.
Toby Flood notched 18 points thanks to four penalties and the conversions to three of the Tigers' four tries, with Gloucester unable to respond to their hosts' forward dominance.
England internationals Dan Cole and Manu Tuilagi both crossed for Leicester while Tom Youngs and Pumas winger Horacio Agulla were also on target for Richard Cockerill's side, beaten convincingly by the Scarlets in Llanelli last weekend. Gloucester snatched two tries of their own - to Dan Murphy and Lesley Vainikolo - but their poor form on the road continued despite a resounding Kingsholm win over Sale in the opening round.
Harlequins were also in action on Friday and Conor O'Shea's impressive charges made it two from two with a 37-25 win over Sale.
The Sharks had England wing Mark Cueto on display for the first time this season but despite his hand in a second-half try for Johnny Leota, the veteran was unable to arrest his side's poor start to the competition.
Sale led 15-14 at the break thanks to scores from Will Addison and Alasdair Dickinson, but were roundly upstaged by Quins flyer Seb Stegmann. The 22-year-old scored once in the first-half and twice in the second to seal victory, with fullback Tom Williams' try securing a bonus-point for the Premiership pace-setters. Fly-half Rory Clegg kept the scoreboard ticking over with three penalties and all four conversions, outdoing opposite number Nick Macleod.
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