Amlin Challenge Cup round-up
Carlisle boots Wasps to victory
December 15, 2013
London Wasps' Carlo Festuccia forces his way forward against Grenoble © Getty Images
Wasps secured top spot in Pool 4 of the Amlin Challenge Cup as they battled past Grenoble at Adams Park.
Fly-half Joe Carlisle slotted 19 points for Dai Young's men as they crossed for a pair of tries thanks to efforts from James Haskell and Tom Varndell, who was making his return from a lengthy injury lay off. Grenoble put up more of a fight than last week when they were hammered by Wasps but only managed to muster 12 points as they fell 32-12.
Matt Banahan marked his 150th Bath appearance with four of the club's 11 tries in a 63-0 demolition of Mogliano at The Rec.
Bath were in cruise control in the first half as they ran in five unanswered tries - coming from Carl Fearns, Banahan, Matt Garvey and George Ford, with a penalty try thrown in for good measure. Despite trailing 29-0 there was little respite for the visiting Italian outfit in the second half either, as Banahan crossed within 60 seconds of the restart.
Not to be outdone, Fearns added his second of the afternoon three minutes later, before wing Olly Woodburn grabbed two in quick succession as the hour mark approached to put Bath past the 50-point mark.
With three players all having two tries to their name it looked like the plaudits would be shared but former England wing Banahan had other ideas on 72 minutes as he went over from close range. And he put gloss on the occasion even further just 90 seconds later, chipping ahead and winning a foot race to touch down and mark his club milestone in fine style.
Banahan was on top form at The Rec © Getty Images
London Irish saw top spot in Pool Five slip from their grasp three minutes from time as they lost 32-14 against Stade Francais in Paris.
Antoine Burban's 77th-minute try clinched a dramatic bonus point that saw Stade Francais move ahead of the Exiles on match-points gained in their back-to-back games. It was a major blow for previously unbeaten London Irish after Andrw Fenby's early try handed them a perfect start at Stade Jean Bouin.
Wing Fenby raced onto Geraghty's pinpoint cross-field kick but Stade hit back through Jules Plisson in the 12th minute. Jerome Porical converted and then cancelled out Geraghty's first successful kick as the lead changed hands three times in the first half. The Exiles saw prop Leo Halavatau binned for a professional foul as Stade's Michael van Vuuren, who replaced hooker Aled de Malmanche after only three minutes, crossed.
Geraghty kicked two penalties either side of Geoffrey Doumayrou's yellow card but Porical nudged the hosts 20-14 ahead at the break. The game swung in the space of three minutes early in the second half when Geraghty missed the chance to half the lead only for Porical to finish a break by Hugo Bonneval to open a 13-point gap. Burban ensured maximum points late on.
Newcastle Falcons asserted their position at the summit of Pool 3 with a comfortable 25-10 win over Calvisano in the Amlin Challenge Cup.
The Premiership outfit wasted no time asserting their authority and were ahead after just three minutes as Zach Kibirige went over. Kelly Haimona and Phil Godman then exchanged penalty kicks before the latter's replacement, Rory Clegg, went over for the second Falcons try of the afternoon on 26 minutes.
After leading 20-3 at half-time the killer blow for the visitors came from Kilbirige's second try on 52 minutes, though Calvisano's Kele Hehea immediately crossed for a consolation try moments later at the other end, the last action of an otherwise one-sided game as Newcastle ran out comfortable winners.
Sale Sharks thrashed Oyonnax 53-14 on Friday night with Danny Cipriani the star of the show.
Cipriani pulled all the strings in Sale's win © Getty Images
Cipriani crossed for two tries and converted all but one of the seven - while adding two penalties - as Sale left little doubt about their superior class by scoring the first 41 points unanswered. James Gaskell, Dan Braid, Mark Cueto, Rob Miller and Michael Paterson also touched down for the Sharks.
Worcester's Jeremy Su'a scored after 19 seconds and Biarritz had a prop sent off but that still was not enough for the Warriors to claim their first win in Europe this season.
Dean Ryan's team led for all but eight minutes of a thrilling European clash at Stade des Sports Aguilera yet still finished without a point. Instead two tries each by Teddy Thomas and Yann Lesgourges saw the Basque club come from behind to win for the second time in a week while Benoit Baby's last-minute penalty denied Warriors a losing bonus-point.
It had looked a different story when scrum-half Su'a charged down a kick to score inside the opening minute. Max Stelling and Paul Warwick followed in the second half, either side of a second yellow for Biarritz prop Thomas Synaeghel, while Ignacio Mieres also kicked 10 points. But 14-man Biarritz stormed back with a late flurry to overtake Sale Sharks at the top of Pool 1.
Nicolas Sanchez scored 22 points as Newport Gwent Dragons missed the chance to go top of Pool Two, losing 32-13 at Bordeaux-Begles. Bordeaux fly-half Sanchez scored an early try before Robert Lilomaieva and Jefferson Poirot crossed in the final 12 minutes.
But it was three yellow cards for Dragons forwards that proved just as decisive as the visitors' discipline deserted them at Stade Andre Moga.Toby Faletau crossed before half-time to hand the Dragons a chance of victory but fellow forwards Andrew Coombs, Lewis Evans and Robertt Sidoli were all binned to leave the visitors facing an uphill struggle. Dragons, who beat Bordeaux 40-22 last week, remain three points behind Bath who face Rugby Mogliano on Saturday and in the driving seat for a place in the last eight.
Brive beat Bucharest Wolves 20-9 but left the door open for Newcastle Falcons to take top spot in Pool Three after failing to collect a bonus point, while Bayonne smashed Arix Viadana 80-19.
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