Amlin Challenge Cup - Round 3
Quins win bettered by Bayonne
ESPNscrum Staff
December 9, 2010
Ceiron Thomas races over the line for Leeds, Leeds Carnegie v Crociati Rugby, Amlin Challenge Cup, Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds, England, December 12, 2010
Ceiron Thomas crosses the line during Leeds' convincing win over Crociati at Headingley © Getty Images

Harlequins defeated Connacht 20-9 in the Amlin Challenge Cup clash at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday evening, but it was not enough to retain leadership of Pool 1 with Bayonne claiming a huge win against Italian opposition.

Quins made a great start with No.8 Tom Guest going over for a try, which was converted by Nick Evans. The Quins fly-half then added two penalties to establish a 13-6 lead at the break with Connacht No.10 Miah Nikora landing two penalties for the Irish side prior to half time.

Harlequins fullback Mike Brown crossed after the break with Evans converting while Connacht could only respond with another penalty from Nikora.

Sam Gerber scored four tries as Bayonne claimed a crushing 65-7 victory over Italian side Cavalieri Prato at the Stade Jean Dauger in the other game in Pool 1.

Wingers Gerber and Garth Ziegler, No.8 Marc Baget-Rabarou and fullback Joe Pietersen all scored first half tries while scrum-half Cedric Garcia landed two penalties and four conversions to establish a 34-0 half-time advantage. Gerber then scored three tries in the space of 10 minutes with Garcia converting twice as Cavalieri could not cope with the loss of Davide Stefani to a yellow card - their second of the game after Winston Mafi was sin-binned in the first half.

Bayonne also went down to 14 men for 10 minutes with Ross Filipo receiving a yellow card, which prompted Cavalieri to claim a converted try through Rima Wakarua-Noema. But Bayonne had the final word with Ziegler claiming his second try and Dwayne Haare also scoring to complete thrashing.

Leeds secured their first home win of the season with a comfortable 55-6 victory over Crociati Rugby in Pool 4 on Sunday afternoon.

Fullback Ceiron Thomas ended with a 14-point haul after scoring a try, a penalty and three conversions. Leeds skipper Marco Wentzel and wing Lee Blackett both grabbed two tries a piece while Leigh Hinton, Henry Fa'afili and Pete Wackett also touched down.

Replacement Hinton also added three conversions in the rout while Tommaso Iannone kicked Crociati's only points with two penalties.

Exeter kept their hopes of a quarter-final place alive with a 36-10 victory over Newcastle at Sandy Park on Saturday.

The Chiefs ran in three tries to establish a commanding 22-0 lead by half time and they claimed two more in the second half to seal the bonus point victory that puts them three points behind Montpellier at the top of Pool 3.

Prop Ben Moon scored his first try of the season to launch the Chiefs' efforts and replacement Michael Stupple touched down following a driving lineout to make it two. Fly-half Ryan Davis was on target with both conversions.

Davis then played an integral part in Exeter's third try as he guided a cross-field kick into the path of Matt Jess. Chad Slade and Andrew Higgins raced in for second-half tries. Newcastle scored consolation tries through Mickey Youngs and Danny Williams but ultimately they slipped to their third successive Pool 3 defeat.

Montpellier maintained their unbeaten run in this season's Amlin Challenge Cup with a 39-14 victory over Bourgoin in their Pool 3 clash at Stade Yves-du-Manoir.

A try from winger Ratu Nasiganiyavi gave Bourgoin and early advantage but the hosts struck back with a score from fly-half Santiago Fernandez. A penalty try midway through the opening period saw the game swing back in Bourgoin's favour but the boot of Montpellier winger Martin Bustos Moyana, who finished with 21 points, gave the home side a narrow advantage at the break. A three try burst after break put the result beyond doubt with Bustos Moyana, No.8 Marc Giraud and hooker Jean Caudullo all touching down to ensure a bonus point victory.

Brive put their domestic travails to one side as they took charge of Pool 2 with an 18-9 victory over Sale Sharks at the Stade Amedee Domenech.

Brive recently dropped into the relegation zone in the French Top 14 amid reports of financial strife and continued backroom wrangling. But they found a strong collective performance to complete the win.

Despite the return of internationals such as Andrew Sheridan and Mark Cueto, Sale failed to fire in France. The hosts gained an 18-9 half-time lead following Alexis Palisson's two and eight points from Julien Caminati's boot. Sale stayed in the game thanks to three penalties from Nick MacLeod.

But in the second half defences dominated and neither side could add to their scoreline, leaving Sale to confront a defeat that gives Brive the initiative in Pool 2.

Gloucester closed the gap on Pool 6 leaders La Rochelle with a hard-fought 13-6 victory to put their hopes back on track.

James Simpson-Daniel crossed for the only try of a scrappy affair on 25 minutes in freezing conditions on the west coast of France. Benjamin Dambielle slotted La Rochelle's points, with Nicky Robinson kicking a conversion and Freddie Burns two penalties to make up Gloucester's score.

The result leaves Bryan Redpath's men just one point behind their rivals at the top of the table.

Stade Francais beat Bucuresti 29-20 in Bucharest to continue their winning start to the competition.

Sergio Parisse, Hugo Bonneval, Laurent Sempere and Pascal Pape all scored tries with scrum-half Julien Dupuy converting three of them. Replacement Noel Oelschig also landed a penalty for the travelling French side.

But tries from Stelian Burcea and Madalin Lemnaru, along with two penalties from Valentin Calafeteanu and two conversions from Danut Dumbrava, meant Bucuresti were always in the game but the French giants successfully closed it out.

Agen ran out comfortable 33-10 winners over Rovigo at the Stadio Mario Battaglini. Fly-half Conrad Barnard converted four of Agen's five tries which came from Jean Monribot, Kevin Swiryn (2), Osea Kolinisau and a penalty award.

Zane Ansell and Martin Acuna both scored two tries as Petrarca Padova thrashed El Salvador 37-10 in Padova. Chris Caporello and Nicolas Galatro also crossed for the hosts while Paco Gascon scored the visitors' only try.

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