Amlin Challenge Cup - Round 2
Leeds rocked by Stade fightback
ESPNscrum Staff
October 14, 2010

Stade Francais were forced to come from behind as they claimed a crucial 22-13 victory over Leeds Carnegie on Sunday evening to solidify their position at the top of Amlin Challenge Cup Pool 4.

Tries from prop Juan Gomez and flanker Hendre Fourie put Leeds in control of the contest but a try from centre Guilliaume Bousses and the boot of fullback Martin Rodriguez Gurruchage - who finished with 17 points saw the game swing back in the visitors' favour.

Sale Sharks maintained their perfect start to their Challenge Cup campaign by hammering Petrarca 56-9 at the Stadio Plebiscito in Padova on Saturday afternoon. A week after their record-breaking heroics at home to Cetransa El Salvador, Mike Brewer's troops racked up another impressive bonus-point victory, with Tom Brady, Nick Macleod and Mark Cueto all bagging two tries apiece before Rob Miller struck in the dying seconds. Fly-half Charlie Hodgson had a productive day with the boot, landing four conversions and three penalties. His opposite number, Tim Walsh, accounted for all of Petrarca's points.

Sale share top spot in the group with Brive, who humiliated Spanish minnows El Salvador 116-3 at the Campo de Pepe Rojo in Valladolid later in the day.

Harlequins climbed from the bottom to the top of Pool 1 with a comprehensive 55-17 victory over Cavalieri Prato at the Stoop. Cavalieri upset Connacht on home soil on the opening weekend but a second successive shock win was never on the cards in London, with Quins notching eight tries in total. Tom Williams scored a hat-trick upon his return to the side on the wing, but it was Ross Chisholm who really caught the eye, with the 19-year-old fullback dotting twice. The hosts' other scores came courtesy of George Lowe, Sam Smith and a penalty try. Fly-half Rory converted six of the tries and also added a penalty for good measure. Denis Majstorovic and Ed Lewis-Pratt both went over for a spirited but limited Cavalieri side who drop to fourth in the table.

Gloucester had an even easier time of it in disposing of Italian opposition on Saturday, with the Cherry and Whites running in a staggering 14 tries during a 90-7 win over Rovigo in a horribly one-sided Pool 5 encounter at Kingsholm. Gloucester's promising young centre Jonny May, 20, crossed three times, while Olly Morgan, James Simpson-Daniel and Lesley Vainikolo all touched down twice. There were also tries for 20-year-old fly-half Freddie Burns, Andy Hazell, Henry Trinder and Charlie Sharples. The home side's dominance also yielded a penalty try.

Despite Gloucester's impressive victory, it is La Rochelle who sit proudly on top of Pool 5 after they followed up their opening-day win over Rovigo with a fine 30-23 victory over Top 14 rivals Agen at the Stade Marcel Deflandre in Saturday's late kick-off. Andres Bordoy, Romain Carmignani, Maxime Lebourhis and Benjamin Ferrou all touched down for the home side as they collected a bonus point in victory for the second weekend in a row.

Exeter Chiefs bounced back from their disappointing Amlin Challenge Cup defeat at home to Montpellier by travelling to the Stade Pierre Rajon on Friday night and recording a stirring 34-12 victory over Pool 3 rivals Bourgoin. Fly-half Gareth Steenson kicked the visitors into an early six-point lead and although Bourgoin replied with a try from Yan Labrit, the Chiefs had built up a commanding 21-point lead by the interval after hitting back through inside centre Bryan Rennie and scrum-half Haydn Thomas. Brando Va'aulu crossed just after the interval to raise hope among the home fans of a second-half comeback but the Chiefs responded through Mark Foster to keep Bourgoin at arm's length and ultimately render Ratu Nasiganiyavi's late try purely academic.

On the back of their fine away success Exeter climb to second in the group, three points behind leaders Montpellier, who followed up their triumph at Sandy Park with an impressive 32-8 victory over Newcastle Falcons at the Stade Yves du Manoir on Thursday night. The Falcons beat Bourgoin in their opener but they could not make it a French double as they were over-run by their more experienced hosts in the second half. Montpellier led 9-8 at half-time but the unerring accuracy of scrum-half Benoit Paillaugue, who slotted all eight of his kicks in a 22-point haul, plus second-half tries from Quentin Poumayrou and Seta Tuilevuka ensured a comfortable home win.

A week after their shock defeat away to Cavaleiri Prato, Connacht kick-started their European campaign with a hard-fought 18-16 victory over Bayonne at the Sportsground on Friday evening. Elsewhere, Bucharest Oaks scored a dramatic late try to nick a 20-19 victory over Crociati after an exciting Pool 4 clash at the Arcul de Triumf on Saturday. The home side raced into a nine-point lead in Romania thanks to three penalties from fly-half Dan Dumbrava but Crociati replied with a try from Filippo Ferrarini and the goal-kicking of Marco Anversa had the Italians 19-15 ahead with just seconds to play. However, Catalin Nicolae crossed right at the death to earn a famous win for Bucharest.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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