Edinburgh shock Saracens in Challenge Cup
CHALLENGE CUP WRAP: Saracens got their Challenge Cup campaign underway with a shock 18-21 loss to Edinburgh in London.
Saturday’s other results saw Biarritz recording a 26-13 win over Zebre, while Perpignan beat Dragons 22-16.
There was also a 33-17 win for London Irish over Pau.
Saturday’s scores and scorers!
Zebre Parma 13-26 Biarritz
A quartet of tries helped Biarritz Olympique to a 26-13 away victory over Zebre Parma as the two sides met for the first time in the EPCR Challenge Cup, in Round One at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi on Saturday.
Antoine Erbani, Baptiste Erdocia, Ushangi Tscheisvhili and Billy Scannell crossed the line, with Gilles Bosch adding two conversions and Brett Herron another.
Jacopo Trulla scored the home side’s only try of the match while Antonio Rizzi converted and scored two penalties.
Zebre have now lost their best-ever unbeaten streak in the pool stage of the Challenge Cup, which had extended to four matches (W2, D2).
The two sides had faced off in European competition twice before, with the TOP 14 outfit winning both the previous matches too – 38-17 at home and 32-6 in Italy in the 2012/13 European Cup pool stage.
For Zebre Parma:
Pens: Rizzi 2
Tries: Erbani, Erdocio, Tcheisvhili, Scannell
Cons: Bosch 2, Herron
Saracens 18-21 Edinburgh
Tries from Ramiro Moyano Joya and WP Nel helped Edinburgh to spring a surprise and secure a narrow 21-18 victory over three-time European champions Saracens in a EPCR Challenge Cup Round One encounter in Pool C on Saturday.
Emiliano Boffelli also did his part, contributing a trio of penalties and converting Moyano’s try.
Saracens crossed the line twice courtesy of Alex Goode and Andy Christie, with Mako Vunipola converting the second and also kicking two penalties.
It was the first time the two teams had played each other in the EPCR Challenge Cup – although they had met twice before in the European Cup, with Saracens running out winners on both occasions in the 2012/13 pool stage, by an aggregate score of 85-7.
The match had an enforced break in the first half due to an injury to Saracens’ Kapeli Pifeleti.
Tries: Goode, Christie
Con: Manu Vunipola
Pens: Manu Vunipola 2
Tries: Moyano, Nel
Pens: Boffelli 3
Perpignan 22-16 Dragons
Tom Ecochard inspired Perpignan to come from behind and beat Dragons 22-16 at the Stade Aime Giral in Pool B of the EPCR Challenge Cup.
The TOP 14 club lost each of their three home games during their last campaign in the competition, in 2018/19 – having previously won 13 of their previous 15 pool stage games on their own turf.
And after having two men sent to the sin bin in the first half, when Dragons moved to a nine-point lead thanks to three Sam Davies penalties, another defeat looked to be imminent.
But the second half was a different matter, with Dragons losing Tavis Knoyle and Adam Warren to yellow cards as well. The hosts capitalised on the extra space, beginning with a 54th-minute penalty try.
After that, Ecochard scored a try, a conversion, and a penalty within the space of five minutes, with Baptiste Plana also crossing the line.
A try from Jamie Roberts, converted by Davies, gave Dragons some late hope and made the last few minutes nailbiting, with both teams back up to a full complement of 15 men, but Perpignan held on.
Tries: Penalty try, Ecochard, Plana
Con: S Davies
Pens: S Davies 3
Pau 17-33 London Irish
Agustin Creevy’s fine run of form continued in Pool C of the EPCR Challenge Cup as he helped London Irish to a 33-17 win over Section Paloise at Stade du Hameau on Saturday night.
The Argentinian hooker crossed the line twice, either side of half-time, with Rory Jennings converting both.
Olly Cracknell scored two more late on, converted by Paddy Jackson, and added to an early penalty try, Irish marked their 100th game in the competition in style.
In response, Alexis Levron converted his own try as well as scoring a penalty for the hosts – and he also converted Jordan Joseph’s late close-range consolation.
Pau have now won four of their last six games in the competition with both their defeats coming against Irish.
Tries: Levron, Joseph
Con: Levron 2
For London Irish:
Tries: Creevy 2, Cracknell 2, Penalty try
Cons: Jennings 2, Jackson