Exiles and Perpignan qualify for Cup quarters

London Irish and Perpignan joined Saracens in the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup after notching up wins on Saturday over Pool 1 rivals Treviso and Newport-Gwent Dragons respectively.


London Irish top the group on 24 points and will enjoy home advantage in the knock-out phase of the competition for which only the six pool winners and two best second-placed finishers qualify.


The English club beat Treviso 24-11, Australian full-back Peter Hewat scoring a brace of tries and two conversions with scrum-half Peter Richards and winger Tomas de Vedia also pitching in with five-pointers.


But the exiles had to endure a strong comeback from the Italians, who fought back from a 19-0 half-time deficit, and only managed the bonus point for four tries deep into injury time.


In South Wales, Perpignan scored an emphatic 25-0 away win over Newport-Gwent Dragons thanks largely to a brace of tries from centre pairing Nicolas Grandeclaude and David Marty either side of half-time.


“I believe we are becoming a team,” said Perpignan coach Jacques Brunel.


“We have had some problems gelling but now we are beginning to look like we have potential.


“I think that having reached the quarter-finals it will allow us to grow stronger,” added Brunel whose club has struggled in the French championship this season and languish in ninth place.


The Catalan club’s South African full-back Percy Montgomery, a former Newport player, kicked two penalties and two conversions and was the link for the first try, brilliantly palming off a Marty pass into Grandeclaude’s hands for an easy run-in.


As Newport tried to force the pace, Marty then pounced on a spilled pass and sprinted in from 60 metres.


Perpignan, led superbly up-front by Scottish international lock Nathan Hines, weathered a spirited forward rally by the home side, and scored an injury-time try through winger Adrien Plante.

 

Table standings after this match


European Cup tables after Saturday’s early Pool 1 matches (played,won, drawn, lost, points for, points against, bonus points, total points):

Pool 1
London Irish 6 5 0 1 182 100 4 24
Perpignan 6 5 0 1 171 79 2 22
Newport Gwent 6 1 0 5 117 191 4 8
Treviso 6 1 0 5 107 207 1 5

Pool 2
Gloucester 5 4 0 1 155 98 3 19
Ospreys 5 4 0 1 136 81 1 17
Bourgoin 5 1 0 4 97 146 3 7
Ulster 5 1 0 4 81 144 1 5

Pool 3
Cardiff 5 3 1 1 107 76 2 16
Stade Francais 5 3 0 2 89 82 1 13
Bristol 5 3 0 2 83 63 0 12
Harlequins 5 0 1 4 52 110 0 2

Pool 4
Saracens 6 5 0 1 225 119 4 24
Biarritz 6 4 0 2 109 116 2 18
Glasgow 6 3 0 3 130 127 4 16
Viadana 6 0 0 6 106 208 3 3
– Saracens qualify for quarter-finals

Pool 5
Wasps 5 4 0 1 149 108 2 18
Munster 5 3 0 2 149 108 3 15
Clermont Auvergne 5 3 0 2 148 128 2 14
Llanelli 5 0 0 4 67 132 0 0

Pool 6
Toulouse 5 3 0 2 96 66 3 15
Leinster 5 3 0 2 86 98 0 12
Leicester 5 2 0 3 85 70 2 10
Edinburgh 5 2 0 3 75 108 1 9

Note: The six pool winners and two best runners-up qualify for the
quarter-finals.


 

 

SAPA AFP – Rugbyweek.com

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