Gloucester & Ospreys qualify for Heineken Cup Qtrs

Gloucester and Ospreys both qualified for the European Cup quarter-finals on Sunday with Pool 2 victories over Ulster and Bourgoin respectively.

Fijian flanker Akapusi Qera scored a brace and fellow back-rower Alasdair Strokosch one to ensure Gloucester finished atop the pool on 24 points with a 29-21 win over the struggling Irish province.

Ian Balshaw and Luke Narraway also scored for the English club, but Ulster hit back with three tries of their own through Tommy Bowe (2) and Andrew Trimble.

In France, Bourgoin’s Sebastien Laloo exchanged two early penalties with Ospreys’ James Hook in the Welsh region’s 28-21 victory that ensured they go to the knock-out phase of European rugby’s showpiece tournament as one of the two best-placed pool runners-up.

The first try came after Ospreys’ influential No 8 Filo Tiatia surged through midfield, the ball then whipped to the right wing from where Shane Williams ran in unopposed.

A midfield mismove that saw Hook throw out an inch-perfect pass to Lee Byrne was enough to see the full-back power through for the Ospreys’ second try on the half-hour.

The home side hit back with a pushover try by Karena Wihongi, but the Ospreys weathered the storm.

Bourgoin’s Morgan Parra hit a penalty but Gavin Henson intercepted in injury-time and replacement flanker Jonathan Thomas crossed for a late try.

The French side hit back with a try from winger Florian Denos but it was all too late.

Sapa-AFP –

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