Munster magic ends Leinster's reign
Defending champions Leinster and Toulouse crashed out of the European Cup on Sunday as Munster and Leicester sneaked into the quarterfinals.
Two-time defending champions Leinster and four-time winners Toulouse crashed out of the European Cup on Sunday as Munster and Leicester sneaked into the quarterfinals.
Leinster, who have won three of the last four tournaments, became the first champions to exit in the pool stages since Wasps in 2008.
Leinster had their fate sealed when fellow Irish province Munster beat Racing-Metro 29-6 in Limerick in Pool One to deny them one of the two best runners-up spots available for the quarterfinals.
Munster ended their pool campaign second in the group to Saracens and were level on points with Leinster, but edge their Irish rivals for a last-eight spot on tries scored.
"If we hadn't reached the quarterfinals the people would be in the long grass, there would have been a lot of bullets being fired," said Munster coach Rob Penney.
"If we hadn't gotten the outcome, I would have still been proud of the progress we are making and the areas of growth we are getting."
At Welford Road, where 50 tonnes of snow had been removed from the pitch in the 48 hours leading up to the game, two-time champions Leicester topped Pool Two with a gritty 9-5 win over Toulouse.
In a game played in treacherous conditions, the French side's kickers squandered 17 points with the boot.
Toulouse scored the game's only try early in the second half when wing Yoann Huget stumbled over the line, but Toby Flood's three first-half penalties proved decisive for the Tigers.
In Limerick, Munster got the perfect start against Racing when French flank Antoine Battut was sent off by referee Wayne Barnes in the fifth minute for kneeing Keith Earls in the head.
However, it took the hosts 20 minutes to go ahead as scrumhalf Conor Murray went over from five metres out - Ian Keatley, standing in for suspended flyhalf Ronan O'Gara, converted to make it 7-3.
The hosts added a second three minutes later as Ireland wing Simon Zebo rounded off a superb move, started by a devastating run by prop Dave Kilcoyne. Keatley, however, missed the conversion to leave the score at 12-3.
Munster ran in a third try through Mike Sherry before Zebo guaranteed the crucial bonus point.
After good work by Felix Jones, the 22-year-old tapped the ball through and outpaced the Racing covering defence.
Zebo then sealed his hat-trick when Earls fed the ball to him.
The pool's other match saw English side Saracens top the table as they thrashed Edinburgh 40-7 with England wing Chris Ashton running in two tries and his international team mate Owen Farrell kicking 15 points.
The result left Edinburgh with the sorry record of six defeats and no points having failed to garner even a bonus point just a season after they reached the semifinals.
In the quarterfinals, top seeded English champions Harlequins will welcome Munster, Clermont host last-eight first-timers Montpellier, Leicester go to Toulon while Saracens will welcome Ulster.
All Sunday's results and scorers:
Munster 29-6 Racing Metro
Tries: Murray, Zebo 3, Sherry
Cons: Keatley 2
For Racing Metro:
Pens: Germain 2
Yellow cards: Masi Matadigo (Racing Metro, 78), Paddy Butler (Munster, 80)
Red card: Antoine Batut (Racing Metro, 6)
Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Doug Howlett (captain), 13 Keith Earls, 12 James Downey, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Damien Varley, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 John Ryan, 19 Billy Holland, 20 Paddy Butler, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Casey Laulala.
Racing Metro: 15 Gaetan Germain, 14 Julien Jane, 13 Guillaume Bousses, 12 Alexandre Dumoulin, 11 Sereli Bobo, 10 Olly Barkley, 9 Mathieu Belie, 8 Jacques Cronje (captain), 7 Bernard Le Roux, 6 Antoine Batut, 5 Fabrice Metz, 4 Karim Ghezal, 3 Benjamin Sa, 2 Benjamin Noirot, 1 Julien Brugnaut.
Replacements: 16 Thomas Bianchin, 17 Andrea Lo Cicero, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Jone Qovu Nailiko, 20 Benjamin Fall, 21 Santiago Dellape, 22 Sebastien Descons, 23 Masi Matadigo.
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: JP Doyle, (England) Robin Goodliffe (England)
TMO: David Grashoff (England)
Saracens 40-7 Edinburgh
Tries: Ashton 2, Stevens, Hodgson, Wyles
Cons: Farrell 3
Pens: Farrell 3
Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Owen Farrell, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 George Kruis, 4 Steve Borthwick (captain), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 John Smit, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Nick Fenton-Wells, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Joel Tomkins, 23 Duncan Taylor.
Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Ben Cairns, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 9 Richie Rees, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Dimitri Basilaia, 6 Stuart McInally, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Steven Lawrie, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Andy Titterrell, 17 Robin Hislop, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 David Denton, 20 Roddy Grant, 21 Piers Francis, 22 Ben Atiga, 23 Lee Jones.
Referee: Jérôme Garces (France)
Assistant referees: Sébastien Cloute (France), Jérôme Lamirand (France)
TMO: Jean-Marie Piraveau (France)
Leicester Tigers 9-5 Toulouse
For Leicester Tigers:
Pens: Flood 3
Yellow card: Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers, 67)
Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Logovi'i Mulipola, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Jordan Crane, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 George Ford, 23 Scott Hamilton.
Toulouse: 15 Clement Poitrenaud, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Luke McAlister, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Lionel Beauxis, 9 Jean-Marc Doussain, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Thierry Dusautoir, 6 Gregory Lamboley, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Yoann Maestri, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Christopher Tolofua, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Gary Botha, 17 Vasil Kakovin, 18 Yohan Montes, 19 Romain Millo-Chluski, 20 Yannick Nyanga, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Yannick Jauzion, 23 Maxime Medard.
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Mark Patton (Ireland), Olly Hodges (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)
Treviso 17-14 Ospreys
Tries: Zanni, Pratichetti
Cons: Burton 2
Pens: Biggar 2
Treviso: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Giiulio Toniolatti, 10 Kristopher Burton, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Paul Derbyshire, 5 Francesco Minto, 4 Antonio Pavanello, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Giovanni Maistri, 1 Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16 Enrico Ceccato, 17 Alberto de Marchi, 18 Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet, 19 Marco Fuser, 20 Valerio Bernabo, 21 Dean Budd, 22 Fabio Semenzato, 23 Andrea Pratichetti.
Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Thomas Grabham, 13 Tom Isaacs, 12 Andrew Bishop, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Jonathan Thomas, 5 James King, 4 Lloyd Peers, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Duncan Jones.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Dwyer, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Campbell Johnstone, 19 Ian Gough, 20 George Stowers, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Jonathan Spratt.
Referee: Greg Garner (England)
Assistant referees: Luke Pearce (England), Paul Dix (England)
TMO: Trevor Fisher (England)