Euro heavyweights march on
Euro heavyweights march onSHARE
French giants Toulon and Clermont, as well as English champions Harlequins, joined Ulster in the European Cup quarterfinals on Saturday.
Toulon routed Cardiff Blues 45-25 in Pool Six, Harlequins beat Irish province Connacht 47-8 in Pool Three while Clermont topped Pool Five with a 46-3 rout of Exeter.
That result meant that two-time defending champions Leinster, who collected a bonus-point 33-14 win over the Scarlets, were left hoping to secure a place in the last eight as one of two best runners-up when group games conclude next week.
Toulon manager Bernard Laporte congratulated his players on showing character in bouncing back from their home defeat in the Top 14 by Racing-Metro last week.
"We fulfilled our objective, which was to win and qualify for the quarterfinals," said the former France coach.
"The bonus point allows us to approach the final pool match in the best possible conditions to ensure we have a home quarterfinal, but let's not get ahead of ourselves, nothing has been achieved yet."
Cardiff opened the scoring with a penalty from Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny, who was then on hand to round off a midfield move that saw Gavin Evans glide past a stationary Mathieu Bastareaud.
But Toulon fired back with quickfire tries from Kiwi wing Rudi Wulf and prop Xavier Chiocci, both converted by Jonny Wilkinson.
Hooker Jean-Charles Orioli was played in by Frederic Michalak and Chris Masoe for Toulon's third try just before half-time, France centre Maxime Mermoz and winger Alexis Palisson bagging a swift brace after the restart.
In London, Harlequins beat Irish province Connacht 47-8 in a six-try-to-one thrashing, ex-All Black flyhalf Nick Evans chipping in with 15 points with the boot.
Saracens all but sealed their place in the last eight, prevailing against the odds with a 37-28 win over French opponents Racing-Metro in a thrilling Pool One clash.
The English side lead the pool by six points from Racing and will have their place confirmed in the quarterfinals if Munster lose to Edinburgh on Sunday.
Saracens won despite having at one point trailed 19-6 and at two stages of the game been reduced to 14 men for yellow cards to Will Fraser, for elbowing Juan-Martin Hernandez, and England wing Chris Ashton for slapping former France centre Fabrice Estebanez.
The hosts, who had chosen to play the game in Nantes, ran in three tries in the first-half, two to Argentinian wing Juan Jose Imhoff, but were never able to shake off the English side.
That was mainly thanks to a peerless kicking display by flyhalf Owen Farrell, who kicked 11 from 11, 10 penalties and one conversion, for a total of 32 points.
Clermont reached the quarterfinals for the fifth time with their 46-3 win over Exeter.
The French side scored six tries through Jean-Marcellin Buttin (two), Wesley Fofana, Damien Chouly, David Skrela and Napolioni Nalaga.
Leinster ran in five tries to beat the Scarlets with Cian Healy, Shane Jennings, Luke Fitzgerald, Rob Kearney and Ian Madigan all crossing.
But the Irish side, champions in 2009, 2011 and 2012, will need a bonus-point win at Exeter next weekend to keep their last-eight hopes alive.
Ulster, the runners-up in 2012, secured their quarterfinal spot on Friday with a 23-6 win over Glasgow.
All of the teams and scorers:
Harlequins 47-8 Connacht
Tries: Penalty, Williams 2, Monye, Lowe, Botica
Cons: Evans 2, Botica 2
Pens: Evans 3
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Tom Casson, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Olly Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Tom Guest, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 George Lowe.
Connacht: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Tiernan O'Halloran, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 10 Matthew Jarvis, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 Johnny O'Connor, 6 Andrew Browne, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Nathan White (captain), 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Brett Wilkinson, 18 Ronan Loughney, 19 Mick Kearney, 20 Eoghan Grace, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Miah Nikora, 23 James Loxton.
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Jean-Luc Rebollal (France), Mourad Zitouni (France)
TMO: John Sheehan (Ireland)
Zebre 6-32 Biarritz
Pens: Orquera 2
Tries: Baby, Bosch 2, Burotu
Cons: Yachvili 3
Pens: Yachvili 2
Zebre: 15 Paolo Buso, 14 Matteo Pratichetti, 13 Gonzalo Garcia, 12 Daniel Halangahu, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Alberto Chillon, 8 Josh Sole, 7 Mauro Bergamasco, 6 Filippo Ferrarini, 5 Mike Van Vuuren, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 David Ryan, 2 Andrea Manici, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Luca Redolfini, 18 Salvatore Perugini, 19 Emiliano Caffini, 20 Nicola Belardo, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Alberto Benettin, 23 Ruggero Trevisan.
Biarritz: 15 Marcelo Bosch, 14 Iain Balshaw, 13 Benoît Baby, 12 Damien Traille, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Jean-Pascal Barraque, 9 Dimitri Yachvili, 8 Raphael Lakafia, 7 Wenceslas Lauret, 6 Magnus Lund, 5 Pelu Taele, 4 Jérôme Thion, 3 Eugène Van Staden, 2 Jean-Philippe Genevois, 1 Fabien Barcella.
Replacements: 16 Arnaud Heguy, 17 Thomas Synaeghel, 18 Ben Broster, 19 Thibault Dubarry, 20 Imanol Harinordoquy, 21 Yann Lesgourgues, 22 Julien Peyrelongue, 23 Seremaïa Burotu.
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Stuart Gaffikin (Ireland), David Keane (Ireland)
TMO: Dermot Moloney (Ireland)
Racing Metro 28-37 Saracens
For Racing Métro:
Tries: Ducalcon, Imhoff 2
Cons: Descons 2
Pens: Descons 3
Pens: Farrell 10
Racing Metro: 15 Benjamin Fall, 14 Juan Imhoff, 13 Henry Chavancy, 12 Fabrice Estebanez, 11 Sireli Bobo, 10 Juan Martin Hernandez, 9 Sebastien Descons, 8 Masi Matadigo, 7 Alvaro Galindo, 6 Antoine Battut, 5 Jone Qovu Nailiko, 4 Francois Van Der Merwe, 3 Luc Ducalcon, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Eddy Ben Arous.
Replacements: 16 Benkjamin Noirot, 17 Julien Brugnaut, 18 Benjamin Sa, 19 Fabrice Metz, 20 Camille Gerondeau, 21 Jacques Cronje, 22 Mathieu Belie, 23 Olly Barkley.
Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (captain), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 John Smit, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Petrus Du Plessis, 19 George Kruis, 20 Nick Fenton-Wells, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Duncan Taylor.
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Mark Patton (Ireland), Brian Macneice (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)
Toulon 45-25 Cardiff
Tries: Wulf, Chiocci, Orioli, Mermoz, Palisson, Bastareaud, Fresia
Cons: Wilkinson 4, Giteau
For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Halfpenny 2, Cuthbert, Hewitt
Toulon: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Rudi Wulf, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Alexis Palisson, 10 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 Frederic Michalak, 8 Chris Masoe, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Pierrick Gunther, 5 Nick Kennedy, 4 Jocelino Suta, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Jean-Charles Orioli, 1 Xavier Chiocci.
Replacements: 16 Sebastien Bruno, 17 Florian Fresia, 18 Simon Shaw, 19 Davit Kubriashvili, 20 Joe van Niekerk, 21 Matt Giteau, 22 David Smith, 23 Nicolas Durand.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Gavin Evans, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lewis Jones, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 Josh Navidi, 5 Lou Reed, 4 James Down, 3 Benoit Bourrust, 2 Rhys Williams, 1 Sam Hobbs
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Nathan Trevett, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Luke Hamilton, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Owen Williams.
Referee: JP Doyle (England)
Assistant referees: Tim Wigglesworth (England), Andrew Pearce (England)
TMO: David Grashoff (England)
Leinster 33-14 Scarlets
Tries: Healy, Jennings, Fitzgerald, Kearney, Madigan
Cons: Sexton 3, Madigan
Try: L. Williams
Pens: Thomas 2
DG: L. Williams
Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Isa Nacewa, 13 Fergus McFadden, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Sean O'Brien, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Leo Cullen, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Heinke Van der Merwe, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Brian O'Driscoll.
Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Andy Fenby, 13 Gareth Maule, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Kristian Phillips, 10 Aled Thomas, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Kieran Murphy, 7 Josh Turnbull, 6 Rob McCusker (captain) 5 Richard Kelly, 4 George Earle, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Phil John.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Rhodri Jones, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Johan Synman, 20 Sione Timani, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Jonathan Davies, 23 Adam Warren.
Referee: Jérôme Garces (France)
Assistant referees: Sébastien Cloute (France), Alexandre Ruiz (France)
TMO: Jean-Claude Levrier (France)
Clermont Auvergne 46-3 Exeter Chiefs
For Clermont :
Tries: Fofana, Buttin 2, Chouly, Skrela, Nalaga
Cons: Parra 4, Skrela
Pens: Parra 2
Clermont Auvergne: 15 Jean-Marcel Buttin, 14 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 13 Regan King, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 Brock James, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Julien Bardy, 6 Julien Bonnaire, 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Jamie Cudmore, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 Ti'i Paulo, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Daniel Kotze, 19 Loic Jacquet, 20 Alexandre Lapandry, 21 Ludovic Radoslavjevic , 22 David Skrela, 23. Benson Stanley.
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Phil Dollman, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Kevin Barrett, 8 Richard Baxter, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 James Hanks, 4 Tom Hayes (captain), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Neil Clark, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 Ally Muldowney, 20 Dean Mumm, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Ian Whitten.
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Neil Hennessy (Wales), Jon Mason (Wales)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wales)