Amlin Challenge Cup - Round 5
Leeds bow out as Stade march on
January 14, 2011
Exeter's Matt Jess is taken down during the Chiefs' victory over Bourgoin at Sandy Park on Saturday © Getty Images
Stade Francais booked their place in the quarter finals of the Amlin Cup at the expense of Leeds as the French side overcame the Premiership team 39-10 in Paris on Sunday evening.
Scotland international Hugo Southwell crossed for the hosts in the 29th minute, after Leeds' England hooker Steve Thompson had been yellow carded, to add to Lionel Beauxis' two early penalties. Another British export, former Newcastle winger Ollie Phillips, went over minutes later as Stade accelerated into an 18-3 half-time lead.
Prop Rodrigo Roncero and No.8 Pierre Rabadan scored tries after the break to seal the bonus point with Beauxis converting both. Daniel Browne scored Leeds' only try midway through the second half with fly-half Ceiron Thomas adding the conversion to an earlier penalty.
But Stade had the final word as winger Julien Arias claimed their fifth try with replacement Noel Oelschig kicking the conversion to extinguish any linger hopes of Leeds progressing from Pool 4.
Harlequins have their Amlin Challenge Cup destiny in their own hands after Pool 1 rivals Bayonne suffered a shock home defeat to Connacht on Saturday evening.
Earlier in the day Quins routed Cavalieri Prato 48-16 at the Stadio Lungobisenzio to move to the top of the table. Sam Smith bagged a brace for the visitors, while blindside flanker Maurie Fa'asavalu, scrum-half Danny Care, outside centre Tom Casson and replacement Karl Dickson all contributed one try apiece.
Connacht then did Quins a massive favour by recording a stunning 35-21 victory over Bayonne at the Stade Jean Dauger. Despite having nothing but pride to play for, the Westerners were full of attacking intent right from the first whistle and they had built up a ten-point lead after 35 minutes thanks to an early penalty try and 14 points from the boot of fly-half Ian Keatley.
However, Bayonne hauled themselves back into the game when outside centre Thibault Lacroix crossed right on half time and they then drew to within a point when No.8 Marc Baget-Rabarou flopped over shortly after the restart.
However, scrum-half Julien Audy failed to convert that second score, allowing Keatley to nudge Connacht four points clear when he landed his sixth penalty of the evening towards the end of the third quarter. Eric Elwood's men then sealed victory in fine style, with winger Brian Tuohy and Fionn Carr both dotting in the final eight minutes to leave the home fans utterly shell-shocked. The result means that it will be a winner-takes-all affair when Quins host Bayonne at the Stoop next weekend.
While Quins are now in pole position in their pool, Gloucester are relying on an unlikely slip up from La Rochelle in the final round of the pool stages to make it through. The Cherry and Whites hammered Rovigo 55-7 at the Stadio Comunale Mario Battaglini on Saturday afternoon, with centre Henry Trinder, winger Charlie Sharples and replacement Tim Taylor all dotting twice. No.8 Matt Cox and another replacement, Jonny May, also crossed, but while Gloucester climb to second in Pool 5 on the back of their facile triumph, they remain three points behind La Rochelle, who completed a thrilling come from behind victory at Agen to kick off Round 5 on Thursday night.
Elsewhere, Newcastle's slim hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages were ended by a 6-0 defeat by Montpellier at Kingston Park on Friday night.
Benoit Paillaugue accounted for the only two scores of a dour contest, with the scrum-half landing a brace of penalties in the first half. Montpellier were reduced to 14 men following the sin-binning of Kevin Kervarec in the second period but even then, with a temporary numerical advantage, the Falcons were unable to rack up any points.
Montpellier's victory means they lead Pool 3 by two points from the Exeter Chiefs, who recorded a hard-fought 17-6 victory over Bourgoin at Sandy Park on Saturday evening.
Chiefs fly-half Ryan Davis opened the scoring when he landed a penalty with the last kick of a dour first half. However, the game did liven up after the restart when blindside flanker Tom Johnson bounded through to score for the hosts.
Alberto di Bernardo got Bourgoin off the mark moments later with a penalty and added another on the hour to set up a tense finale. However, the Chiefs sealed victory when replacement Hoani Tui crashed over with just three minutes to play. Exeter must now defeat Montpellier at the Stade Yves du Manoir next weekend to reach the knockout stages.
Meanwhile, Brive sealed their place in the last eight by routing Cetransa El Salvador 52-3 at home. Jonathan Elgoyhen helped himself to a brace of tries, while Alexis Palisson, Scott Spedding, Jean-Philippe Bonrepaux, Mathias Atayi, Fabrice Estebanez and Alix Popham also touched down during a horribly one-sided contest.
The result confirmed the French side as the winners of Pool 2 with one round to spare, meaning second-placed Sale's 54-0 demolition of Petrarca Padova at Edgeley Park was rendered meaningless.
The Sharks faithful enjoyed their evening nonetheless, with the hosts running in eight tries in total. Fly-half Rob Miller was the star of the show, scoring 17 points including six conversions and a try, as well as creating four others. Chris Brightwell, Neil McMillan, Nick Macleod Henry Thomas, Will Cliff, Mathew Tait and John Kennedy bagged Sale's other tries. A miserable evening for the visitors was compounded by the dismissal of hooker Agustin Costa Repetto for a second yellow card.
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