Connacht come alive in Europe
All the European Challenge Cup action
Connacht got Round Two of the European Challenge Cup with a fine win over Montpellier in France. Narbonne hit back for France with a victory in Italy – but it wasn't easy…
MONTPELLIER 16-19 CONNACHT
Connacht are flying high in the European Challenge Cup Pool five after a narrow 19-16 victory over Montpellier at the Stade Sabathe in France.
Connacht won a tense game thanks to the boot of Australian outside-half Paul Warwick, who kicked three penalty goals, a dropped goal and the conversion of winger Ted Robinson's second-half try.
The first half was a dreadful affair, with neither side showing any hint of flair or talent required to score a try.
Warwick banged over a penalty on either side of his yellow card for a late tackle, but he was cancelled out by two goals from opposite number Regis Lespinas.
Robinson dotted down early in the second half, and Connacht defended well against the home side, who scored their only try through lock Samuel Nouchi.
Assuming Worcester beat unfancied Italian side Catania tomorrow, the clubs will play a crucial match at Sixways Stadium on December 10.
VIADANA 14-20 NARBONNE
Narbonne can thank the weather gods for their 20-14 win over Italian club Viadana.
The Frenchmen were leading by that score as the second half started, but Irish referee David Keane called the match off because of fog, awarding the match to the visitors.
Narbonne's tries were scored by Lei Tomiki and Olivier Benassis. Flyhalf Christopher Ruiz kicked two penalties and two conversions. James Schutte kicked three penalties for Viadana for whom Pietro Travagli scored a try.
GLOUCESTER 106-3 BUCURESTI
It was one-sided at Kingsholm.
James Simpson-Daniel, chosen as a wing in the England squad, celebrated his elevation by scoring four tries at outside centre for Gloucester against Bucuresti. In all Gloucester scored 16 tries, including a penalty try just before the end. Apart from Simpson-Daniel, Marcel Garvey and Rob Thirlby each scored two tries. Haydn Thomas, Nick Wood, Adam Eustace, Andy Hazell, James Forrester, Anthony Allen and Luke Narraway scored a try. Ludovic Mercier converted ten of the triers, Simon Amor three.
Scrum-half Iulian Andrei scored Bucuresti's only points, a penalty goal in the first half.
BORDER REIVERS 11-26 NEWCASTLE
Jonny Wilkinson kicked 16 points in his side's 26-11 victory in front of 4,000 fans at Border Reivers' Netherdale ground.
Young utility back Toby Flood scored the only try of the first half, with Wilkinson adding four goals to give the Falcons a match-winning 16-3 lead at the break
Front-rowers Matt Thompson (Falcons) and Paul Thomson (Borders) exchanged tries in the third quarter, with Wilkinson continuing his comeback from injury with two more goals.
CATANIA 14-19 WORCESTER
Mt Etna looked down in a benign fashion on the Worcester Warriors who won scoring three tries to the two of the Catania captain Benjamin de Jager.
AGEN 23-6 PAU
Agen scored two tires, embattled Pau none. Wing Arnaud Mathet scored the first try and veteran prop Christian Califano the second after coming on as a replacement. Pau are having a ghastly season.
TOULON 19-28 BAYONNE
Bayonne scored four tires to three, which makes the match loook closer than it was. Bayonne had scored their four tries, enough for a bonus point, before Toulon had scored any of theirs.
BRIVE 64-22 L'AQUILA
The victory for Brive was emphatic – ten tries to three. Ludovic Valbon scored two of the tries.
BRISTOL 36-28 NORTHAMPTON
Bristol winger David Lemi produced a stunning 40-minute performance to drag his side to an exciting European Challenge Cup victory over Northampton Saints at the Memorial Stadium.
With the home side trailing 7-6 at half-time, the Samoan international bagged two tries in quick succession, and kicked three goals to keep Bristol's nose in front before sealing a 36-28 victory with an injury-time penalty goal.
Saints took a 7-6 lead into the break, despite losing backrower Sam Harding to the sin-bin for a professional foul.
The third quarter was all Bristol. Scrum-half Jake Rauluni scored in the opening exchanges, with veteran Wales international Gareth Llewellyn rumbling over between Lemi's double.
The Saints hit back with tries to Spencer, Reihana and replacement centre Rhodri Davies, but Lemi had the final say to cement an impressive eight-point victory.
LONDON IRISH 64-0 PARMA
It was one-way traffic at Madejski Stadium, with London Irish giving Parma an 80-minute rugby lesson in the 64-0 victory.
The first-half scoring came from a United Nations line-up of Exiles players, with Australian winger Scott Staniforth, Canadian backrower Phil Murphy, Trinidadian-born winger Delon Armitage, Argentinian backrower Juan Leguizamon and Irish backrower Kieron Dawson scoring tries and New Zealand outside-half Riki Flutey adding three conversions.
An Englishman finally dotted down when full-back Michael Horak scored in the 42nd minute, with the promising Armitage getting his second moments later.
The Italians regrouped and kept the score at 45-0 for 30 minutes, but London Irish finished like a train, with three tries in the final six minutes, including two more to man of the match Staniforth.