European Rugby Challenge CupEuropean Rugby Champions Cup

Amlin Challenge Cup 2013-14

Amlin Challenge Cup 2012/13

Amlin Challenge Cup 2011/12

Amlin Challenge Cup 2010/11

Heineken Cup

Ultimate Rugby Calendar

Social Media Live

Top 14 2011-12

The Rugby Championship

Super Rugby

Summer Tours 2014

Aviva Premiership Rugby

Guinness PRO12


Autumn Internationals

Rugby World Cup 2015

RaboDirect Pro12

BarbariansSix Nations Unplugged

Sevens Unplugged

British Lions 2013

Summer Tours 2013

RBS Six Nations

LV= Cup [Anglo-Welsh]

RFU Championship

Bledisloe Cup

Summer Tours 2012

Rugby World Cup Home

RWC Warm Up Matches

Tri Nations 2011Magners LeagueChurchill Cup

Summer Tours 2010



Match Reports

Naked Truth


Pass It Back...Kick It Forward


Match Reports
Amlin Challenge Cup 2009/10
Amlin Challenge Cup Round 1Amlin Challenge Cup Round 2Amlin Challenge Cup Round 3Amlin Challenge Cup Round 4Amlin Challenge Cup Round 5Amlin Challenge Cup Round 6 Amlin Challenge Cup Quarter FinalsAmlin Challenge Cup Semi FinalsAmlin Challenge Cup Final

FINALAmlin Challenge Cup Winners Cardiff Blues

ToulonTOULON 21-28 CARDIFF BLUES Cardiff Blues
Attendance: 48,990

CARDIFF Blues became the first Welsh team to lift a European title after they clinched a memorable Amlin Challenge Cup final victory over pre-match favourites Toulon in thrilling style in Marseille’s Stade Vélodrome.

Second-half tries from  Wales and Lions centre Jamie Roberts, lock Bradley Davies and Wales and Lions wing Leigh Halfpenny saw the Blues fight back from 13-6 down at half-time following a try for the French side from man of the match Sonny Bill Williams.

But after England’s World Cup-winning fly-half Jonny Wilkinson hobbled off early in the second half with a back injury, the Blues, knocked out of last season’s Heineken Cup at the semi-final stage in heartbreaking style, fought back to make history.

Wilkinson almost caught Cardiff cold right from the kick-off but he needed two first-half penalties to keep Toulon on level terms after full-back Ben Blair twice kicked the Blues in front.

With half-time bearing down, it was still 6-6 but skipper Joe Van Niekerk sparked a break involving  Jeremy Sinzelle and Fotunuupule Auelua’s charge which ended with Williams side-stepping inside two defenders to score the game’s opening try under the posts in the 36th minute.

Wilkinson clipped over the conversion and Toulon led 13-6 –a lead they took into the interval after Halfpenny missed with an over-ambitious 60-metre penalty goal shot.

Toulon peppered Cardiff’s line early in the second half with Wilkinson and Juan Fernandez-Lobbe pressing for openings but the French side’s luck turned when Wilkinson collapsed trying a penalty goal and had to be helped from the pitch, making way for Mafi Kefu.

Cardiff immediately capitalised with a try, going close through Xavier Rush, Mama Molitika and Martyn Williams before scrum-half Richie Rees sent Roberts crashing over with Blair’s conversion levelling it up at 13-13

Blair and Toulon’s replacement kicker Tom May swapped penalties as the tension mounted, but Cardiff stepped up a gear and two tries in four minutes swept them into what proved to be an unassailable lead.

Casey Laulala and Roberts set up the first, smashing holes in the tiring Toulon defence before Rush sent Halfpenny over in the corner for an unconverted score and Rush and Laulala then combined to send Davis thundering over from close range.

Toulon brings on the big guns

Toulon brought on All Black legend Tana Umaga in the closing stages to see if he could turn the contest around and, while his pass sent Thomas Sourice over for a try in the 78th minute, Cardiff were able to hang on.

T: Williams, Sourice
C: Wilkinson
P: Wilkinson 2, May

Cardiff Blues
T: Roberts, Halfpenny, Davis
C: Blair 2
P: Blair 2, HalfpennyCardiff Blues celebrate in the changing rooms at the Stade Vélodrome



KNOCK OUT ROUNDSAmlin Challenge Cup Knock Out Fixtures

Connacht Rugby CONNACHT 12-19 TOULON Toulon
THE SPORTSGROUND – Friday 30th April 2010

Attendance: 7,000

ENGLAND fly-half and 2007 World Cup-winning fly-half Jonny Wilkinson was on the pitch in Galway for just 57 minutes before he succumbed to a neck injury, but he notched up 14 first-half points with his trusty left boot to  steer Toulon into the Amlin Challenge Cup final at the expense of brave Connacht.

The Irish side, chasing a Heineken Cup place for the first time in their history, got off to a dream start with an Ian Keatley penalty inside the first minute to take a 3-0 lead but playing with the strong wind at their backs, Toulon settled down and pinned their hosts back inside their own half.

Wilkinson edged his team in front with two perfectly placed penalties and after Keatley levelled it up with his second successful kick, Wilkinson hit the target with a drop-goal to give Toulon a 9-6 lead.

And Wilkinson landed his third penalty to extend the French side’s lead and Keatley replied with both sides finding try-scoring chances tough to manufacturer in a contest dominated by two well-organised defences.

But on the stroke of half-time, Toulon managed to keep the ball in play for more than three minutes and 18 phases, which led to the only try of the match from a series of scrums and the French side cranked up the pressure on Connacht’s pack setting up centre Mafi Kefu to bull-doze his way over the Irish side’s line.

And Wilkinson added the stoppage-time conversion to send Toulon in at the interval with a 19-9 cushion.

That left Connacht, who had made 96 tackles in the first half compared to Toulon's 37, with a mountain to climb after the break, but Keatley started the second half as he had the first with a long-range penalty to give his side a valuable lift.

Enjoying more possession and territory, Connacht twice came close to grabbing a try with Sean Cronin bundled into touch a few metres short and Frank Murphy hauled down near the posts.
But the home side was unable to convert pressure into points and when replacement fly-half Miah Nicora, whose drop-goal had beaten Bourgoin in the quarter-final, missed a pot at goal with ten minutes to go, time began to run out for Connacht.

Connacht now need holders Leinster or Munster to win the Heineken Cup to give them a ticket to the senior tournament next season.

P: Keatley 4

T: Kefu
C: Wilkinson
P: Wilkinson 3
DG: Wilkinsontop


London Wasps LONDON WASPS 15-18 CARDIFF BLUES Cardiff Blues
ADAMS PARK – Saturday 1st May 2010
Attendance: 8,413

CARDIFF Blues became the first Welsh region to reach a European final thanks to a nerve-wracking 18-15 win over Wasps at Adams Park which made sure the Londoners ended the season empty-handed in trophy terms.

The Blues’ victory set up a mouth-watering showdown with big-spending Toulon in Marseilles’ Stade Velodrome,  courtesy of a try in either half from wing Leigh Halfpenny and prop Gethin Jenkins and eight points from the boot of full-back  from Ben Blair, saw the Blues continue a stunning run of form.

The Magners League outfit’s victory was their sixth on the bounce in all competitions, five of which have come on the road which will give them confidence for their May 23rd date with Toulon.
Weather conditions dictated the style of play on show in High Wycombe after spring sunshine made way for torrential rain shortly before kick off, but it was the Blues who showed more enterprise in a tense encounter.

The tries were the result of contrasting passages of play with Halfpenny finishing off a fine wide move on 30 minutes while Jenkins powered over from close range with just under an hour played.
An impressive step from Ceri Sweeney and a well-judged pass from Rhys Thomas allowed Halfpenny to make light work of attempted tackles from Mark van Gisbergen and Tim Payne.

And Jenkins and the Blues pack made the most of Simon Shaw’s 55th minute yellow card by completing a driven lineout after Thomas had successfully hit his jumper at the tail.

But things could have been very different as Dave Walder’s boot threatened to win the day for the hosts, with the former Newcastle fly-half justifying his selection over Danny Cipriani with five penalties from six attempts.

Walder almost took proceedings into extra time in dramatic fashion but a 45-metre penalty ended wide of the posts to spoil his 100-per-cent record with 76 minutes on the clock and the Blues held out for an epic win.

London Wasps
P:  Walder 5

Cardiff Blues
T: Halfpenny, Jenkins
C:  Blair
P: Blair 2


Connacht Rugby CONNACHT 23-20 BOURGOIN Bourgoin
THE SPORTS GROUND – Saturday 10th April 2010
Attendance: 2,000

A last-gasp drop-goal from replacement wing Miah Nikora propelled surprise packets Connacht into the semi-finals of the Amlin Challenge Cup, where they will host big-spending Toulon, after a 23-20 home win over last season’s beaten finalists Bourgoin at the Sports Ground in Galway.

Nikora’s match-winning score completed a great comeback by the Irish side after Bourgoin had hit the front for the first time going into the last quarter.

A superb Connacht display against the wind saw them lead 14-10 at the interval thanks to tries from Michael Swift and captain John Muldoon, both of which were converted by fly-half Ian Keatley.

Bourgoin hooker Tone Alefa Kopelani got over for a try in between and Benjamin Boyet converted as well as kicking penalties either side of the break.

That reduced the deficit to 14-13 and then Bourgoin took the lead for the first time after 58 minutes when scrum-half John Senio burst over for their second try.

The introduction of Nikora from the Connacht bench saw him reduce the deficit with a penalty and he landed another seven minutes from time to level the game and when playmaker Boyet was dispatched to the sin-bin, the French side was up against it.

And Nikora sent Connacht into the semi-finals of the competition for the third time in their history with 90 seconds left on the clock, clinching their seventh straight victory in the competition.

T: Swift, Muldoon
C: Keatley 2
P: Keatley, Nikora
DG: Nikora

T: Senio, Kopelani
C: Boyet 2
P: Boyet 2top

ToulonTOULON 38-12 SCARLETS Scarlets
STADE FELIX MAYOL – Saturday 10th April 2010
Attendance: 11,500

TOULON marched into the semi-finals of the Amlin Challenge Cup thanks to a convincing 38-12 win over the outclassed Scarlets in the Stade Felix Mayol, outscoring the Welsh refugees from the Heineken Cup by five tries to nil.

The in-form French outfit ran in two tries from right wing Clement Marienval to take command of the tie before late touchdowns from Jeremy Sinzelle, Sonny Bill Williams and Olivier Missoup clinched their place in the last four, where they will make the trip to play Connacht in Galway.

England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson added 13 points in a near faultless kicking display, with the Scarlets only able to muster four Stephen Jones penalties in reply.

Wilkinson opened the scoring for Toulon in the eighth minute with Jones replying two minutes later before he kicked the Scarlets into a 6-3 lead in the 23rd minute.

Five minutes later, scum-half Matt Henjak set up Marienval from a quick tap penalty and the wing crossed for the game’s opening try with Wilkinson, who added two more penalties before the break to ease Toulon into a comfortable lead, converting.

A minute after the interval, Marienval, who was to spend ten second-half minutes in the sin bin, chipped on and beat Sean Lamont to the loose ball to grab his side’s second try and Wilkinson’s conversion gave Toulon a commanding 23-6 lead.

Jones cut their cushion to 11 points with two quick-fire penalties, but that was as close as Nigel Davies’ side got to Toulon, who romped away to an easy with tries coming from left wing Sinzelle, inside centre Williams and blind-side flanker Missoup in the last ten minutes.

T: Marienval 2, Williams, Sinzelle, Missoup,
C: Wilkinson 2
P: Wilkinson 3

P: Jones 4top


London Wasps LONDON WASPS 42-26 GLOUCESTER RUGBY Gloucester Rugby
ADAMS PARK - Sunday, 11th April 2010
Attendance: 6,579

FORGOTTEN England wing Tom Varndell helped Wasps book a home Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final date with Cardiff Blues, scoring a try hat-trick to help the Londoners see off Gloucester in a high-scoring quarter-final tie at Adams Park.

Both sides recovered from last-minute injury setbacks which saw centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu drop out of Gloucester’s line-up and fellow Samoan David Lemi fail to start for Wasps after they aggravated injuries in the pre-match warm-up.

Wasps grabbed a 7-6 lead inside the first 13 minutes which saw stand-in full-back Ben Jacobs run in a try converted by Danny Cipriani while Nicky Robinson replied with two penalties for the visitors.

Cipriani clipped over a penalty and skipper Serge Betsen ran in a second Wasps try to give the home side a 17-6 lead before lock Peter Eustace replied with a try for Gloucester.

But Wasps stretched their lead to 27-16 by the interval after Varndell notched his first try and Cipriani and Robinson exchanged penalties just before the break.

The two fly-halves notched a penalty apiece in what turned out to be a much quieter second half which saw Wasps leading 30-19 going into a scintillating last ten minutes which saw Varndell’s second try countered by a reply from Charlie Sharples for Gloucester before Varndell finally killed Gloucester off in the final minute with his third touchdown.

London Wasps
T: Varndell 3, Betsen, Jacobs
C: Cipriani 4
P: Cipriani 3

Gloucester Rugby
T: Eustace, Sharples
C: Robinson 2
P: Robinson 4top

Newcastle FalconsNEWCASTLE FALCONS 20-55 CARDIFF BLUES Cardiff Blues
KINGSTON PARK – Sunday 11th April 2010
Attendance: 4,346

CARDIFF Blues romped through to a semi-final date with London Wasps in the Amlin Challenge Cup by becoming the only the side to drop out of the Heineken Cup and win in the secondary competition’s knockout stages.

And the Welsh side, Heineken Cup quarter-finalists last season, did it in style by running in seven tries to dismantle Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park, where they scored 38 points in a powerful second-half rout.

Full-back Ben Blair helped himself to 25 points, grabbing a try himself and kicking seven conversions as well as landing two penalties, while Tongan prop Taufa’ao Filise grabbed two tries in a powerhouse display.

Cardiff led 17-13 lead at the interval after running in tries from Casey Laulala and Martyn Williams while the Falcons replied through a try from youngster Charlie Amesbury with fly-half Jimmy Gopperth’s conversion and two penalties keeping the home side in touch.

After the break, Cardiff ran riot to chalk up 31 points in a devastating 18-minute, four-try burst which took the game away from Newcastle, Filise grabbing two touchdowns with Blair and Lions centre Jamie Roberts  piling the agony on for the home side.

Scrum-half Mickey Young mustered a second-half score for Newcastle, but Blair kept the scoreboard ticking over by converting all four Cardiff scores and he was on target again when Ceri Sweeney rubbed salt in the Falcons’ wounds with a late touchdown to round off a thumping win for the Blues.

Newcastle Falcons
T: Amesbury, Young
C: Gopperth 2
P: Gopperth 2

Cardiff Blues
T: Filise 2, Laulala, Williams, Roberts, Blair, Sweeney
C: Blair 7
P: Blair 2top



STADIO XXV APRILE – Saturday 23rd January 2010
Attendance: 450

PARMA won the battle of the Amlin Challenge Cup’s Pool 1 whipping boys, running out 16-9 winners over Romanian visitors Bucureşti Oaks, who put up a brave fight in a game reduced to a dead rubber by Leeds and Bourgoin’s domination of the qualifying race.

But the Italians had to come from behind to win after full-back Florin Vlaicu kicked a penalty and a drop goal to send the Romanians in at half-time 6-0 after a tight first half.

Edd Thrower grabbed a try for Parma five minutes into the second half and fly-half Barry Irving converted to make it 7-6 but Parma’s slender lead only lasted until Vlaicu clipped over another penalty to give his side a 9-7 lead.

After that Parma took charge and Irving took advantage of Bucureşti’s indiscipline under mounting pressure to kick three second-half penalties which proved enough to see home side to a hard-earned victory. 

Rugby Parma
T: Thrower
C: Irving
P: Irving 3

Bucureşti Oaks
P: Vlaicu 2
DG: Vlaicu

HEADINGLEY – Sunday 24th January 2010
Attendance: 2,698

LEEDS Carnegie's Amlin Challenge Cup campaign came to a disappointing end with an 18-9 home defeat by Bourgoin in the winner-takes-all battle at Headingley.

The Yorkshire side went into their final Pool 1 encounter knowing victory would secure a place in the last eight but the Premiership club lost to the French side for the second time this season following a 29-19 reverse back in October.

Fly-half Ceiron Thomas kicked three penalties for the home side but Bourgoin-Jallieu scored the game's only tries through Jean-Francois Coux and Albert Vulivuli inside the opening 12 minutes with fly-half Benjamin Boyet adding a conversion, a penalty and a drop goal.

Victory would have given Leeds an away trip to Magners League strugglers Connacht – a trip Bourgoin, last season’s beaten Challenge Cup finalists, will now make.

Leeds Carnegie
P: Thomas 3

T: Coux, VuliVuli
C: Boyet
P: Boyet
DG: Boyet


STADE YVES DU MANOIR – Friday 22nd January 2010
Attendance: 7,497

WORCESTER’S disappointing Amlin Challenge Cup Pool 2 qualifying campaign ended the way it started – with a defeat by French side Montpellier - in the Stade Yves du Manoir.

Beaten finalists two years ago and losing semi-finalists last season, the Warriors were already out of the qualification reckoning after home defeats by the French outfit and pool-topping Connacht.

But the English Premiership outfit led 3-0 early on, courtesy of Matthew Jones penalty and they were still in front at half-time.

But Montpellier turned the game around when Marc Giraud scored the only try of a tense contest after the break and a Jacques Schutte penalty made sure the home side came out on top.

Worcester were left facing the flight home ruing indiscipline at the breakdown which contributed to their downfall with all three back-rowers spending time in the sin bin during the second half.

T: Giraud
P: Schutte

Worcester Warriors
P: Jones

CUIDAD UNIVERSITARIA – Saturday 23rd January 2010
Attendance: 4,500

CONNACHT maintained their 100% record in the Amlin Challenge Cup by beating Olympus Rugby Madrid 66-0 in Spain, winning Pool 2 and emerging from the qualifying stages as the only team in the 44 competing in Europe this season to have won all of their qualifying matches.

The Irish side ran in ten tries to dismantle Olympus Rugby Madrid as they eased through to the quarter-finals as top seeds with a guaranteed home quarter-final to look forward to.

Four of Connacht’s tries came in the opening half from Fionn Carr, Niva Ta'auso, Adrian Flavin and John Muldoon to tuck the bonus point in the bank before the interval.

Far from relaxing in the second half, Connacht maintained their momentum to run in another six touchdowns with Flavin notching his second followed by further scores from Miah Nikora, Mike McComish and George Naoupu before Ireland 'A' centre Keith Matthews weighed in with a quick-fire brace before the end.

Connacht’s reward was a home quarter-final date with Pool 1 winners Bourgoin in Galway.

T: Carr, Muldoon, Mathews 2, Ta'auso, Naoupu 2, Flavin 2, McComish
C: Nikora 3, Keatley 5


STADIO MARIO BATTAGLINI – Saturday 23rd January
Attendance: 1,500

ANDY Saull scored a hat-trick of tries for Saracens as they thumped Rovigo 56-8 in their Amlin Challenge Cup clash in Italy to give the Londoners a chance of making the quarter-finals.

Sarries had the try-scoring bonus point in the bag inside 23 minutes in the Stadio Mario Battaglini, where they dominated from the moment flanker Saull barged over for their first try after just two minutes.

Rodd Penney added the second of eight Saracens tries after just 12 minutes and Saull's second soon followed after a clever kick-off from Derick Hougaard.

England captain Steve Borthwick then charged down a clearance to allow Mouritz Botha to drive over for the bonus-point score.

Wholesale changes were made by Saracens at half-time with the game already won and centre Michael Tagicakibau added a brace of touchdowns in the second half before Saull completed his hat-trick.

Jacobus Immelman's then grabbed a late consolation for Rovigo before Kevin Barrett rounded off the scoring with a try for the visitors just a minute before the end.

T: Immelman
P: Bustos

T: Botha, Barrett, Penney, Saull 3, Tagicakibau 2
C: Hougaard 4 , Goode 4

STADE FELIX MAYOL – Saturday 23rd January 2010
Attendance: 11,890

TOULON handed Castres a six-try, 42-10 hiding in the Stade Felix Mayol to squeeze out Saracens by one point for top spot in Pool 3, guaranteeing Phillippe Saint Andre’s side a home Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final against the Scarlets, one of the surviving pool runners-up from the Heineken Cup’s qualifying stages.

With England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson pulling the strings in style from fly-half, Toulon raced into a 28-3 half-time which saw two tries from centre Mafi Kefu and one apiece from wings Christian Loamanu and Sinoti Sinoti, all converted by the immaculate Wilkinson, tuck the try-scoring bonus point  in the back before the interval.

After the break, Loamanu grabbed his second try before Castres, who had managed only a penalty from Matthieu Bourret in the first half, hit back with a touchdown from Thomas Bouquie, which the visitors’ fly-half converted himself.

But Toulon then killed Castres and the contest off when flanker Cedric Beal claimed try number six in the 69th minute with Wilkinson kicking his sixth conversion of the match to round off an easy victory.    

T: Beal, Kefu 2, Loamanu 2, Sinoti
C: Wilkinson 6

Castres Olympique
T: Bouquié
C: Bourret
P: Bouquié


STADE YVES DU MANOIR – Thursday 21st January 2010
Attendance: 5,950

AN injury-time penalty by fly-half Jonathan Wisniewski gave Racing Métro a 19-17 victory over London Wasps, who still topped Pool 5, in Paris, earning themselves a home quarter-final clash with Heineken Cup refugees Gloucester.

Tom Varndell scored two tries for the visitors, with discarded England fly-half Danny Cipriani converting both and adding a penalty as the visitors had their noses in front for much of the game.

But an infraction just outside the 22m line with the clock already in the red gave Wisniewski the chance to land a match winning kick, and he slotted it comfortably between the posts.

Defeat left Wasps waiting on the outcome of other results to see if will get a home quarter-final.

Racing Métro 92
T: Penalty
C: Wisniewski
P: Wisniewski
DG: Wisniewski

London Wasps
T: Varndell 2
C: Cipriani 2
P: Cipriani

STADIO TRE FONTANE – Saturday 32rd January 2010
Attendance: 500

BAYONNE ended their Amlin Challenge Cup qualifying campaign on a winning note in Italy, chalking up a ten-try rout of Roma in the Eternal City to finish second in Pool 4 behind table-topping Wasps.

Fly-half Max Freschi got Roma off to an encouraging start with an early penalty but two tries in four minutes from Bayonne wing David Roumieu, one converted by fly-half Craig Gower had Bayonne in the driving seat at the interval.

Freschi kicked his second penalty just before the break but the second half saw Bayonne cut loose to run in eight unanswered tries as the Italians’ defence progressively fell apart.

By the time the final whistle ended Roma’s ordeal, Julien Puricelli, Arnaud Heguy, Jean Baptiste Peyras (twice), Thibault Lacroix, Sam Gerber and Guillaume Bernad had all touched down for the rampant French visitors with Gower kicking four more conversions.   

Rugby Roma
P: Freschi 2

T: Puricelli, Heguy, Peyras 2, Lacroix, Roumieu 2, Gerber, Bernad
C: Gower 5


STADE DE SAPIAC – Friday 22nd January 2010
Attendance: 5,497

MONTAUBAN had to settle for second place in Pool 5, two points behind table-topping Newcastle despite edging out Top 14 rivals Albi in the Stade De Sapiac to chalk up their fifth win in six qualifying matches.

Scrum-half Julien Audy, who notched 12 points with the boot, kicked two early penalties to give Montauban a 6-0 lead early on.

But tries from wing Baptiste Hecker and skipper and number eight Vincent Clement, both converted by fly-half Blair Stewart, who also clipped over a penalty, saw Albi hit back to take a 17-6 lead with 25 minutes gone.

Shocked Montauban then rallied and tries from open-side Abdelatif Boutaty and Jean Philippe Viard, both converted by Audy, had the home side 20-17 ahead at the interval.

But the nip-and-tuck of the first half gave way to a much more cagey second period which saw centre Felix Le Bourhis’ try, converted by Audy, stretch Montauban into a lead which Albi’s replacement fly-half Kevin Boulogne was only able to reduce with a solitary 51st minute penalty before the end. 

T: Viard, Boutaty, Le Bourhis
C: Audy 3
P: Audy 2

T: Hecker, Clement
C: Stewart 2
P: Stewart, Boulogne

KINGSTON PARK – Friday 22nd January 2010

Attendance: 4,252

NEWCASTLE clinched an Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final home date with Cardiff Blues, who have dropped down from the Heineken Cup, after finishing top of Pool 5, courtesy of a 20-3 victory over Italian minnows Petrarca Padova at Kingston Park.

A first-half penalty try and a late solo effort by Gcobani Bobo clinched the victory which sends the Falcons into the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup for the fifth successive year.

Jimmy Gopperth extended his lead as the tournament's top scorer with a further eight points.

But the result was also mixed with disappointment after they failed to score the four tries which would have guaranteed a home tie in the knockout stages.

The Falcons had to win to top the pool with Montauban breathing down their necks and welcomed back club captain Carl Hayman for the crucial tie.

And the tight-head prop spearheaded the Falcons scrum which earned a penalty try on 16 minutes that looked to have set them on their way.

Newcastle Falcons
T: Bobo, Penalty
C: Gopperth, Miller
P: Gopperth 2

Petrarca Padova
P: Mercier




STADE PIERRE RAJON – Thursday 14th January 2010
Attendance: 1,500

TWO tries from hooker Jean-Phillippe Genevois helped Bourgoin see off Romanian minnows Bucuresti Oaks in the Stade Pierre Rajon, keeping the French side firmly in the race for top spot and an Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final place ahead of their final qualifying Pool 1 clash with Leeds Carnegie at Headingley.

Last season’s beaten finalists grabbed three first-half tries from Genevois, wing Albert Vullivulli and skipper and open-side flanker Wessel Jooste in the opening half-hour, with full-back Alberto Di Bernardo converting all three, to lead 21-3 at the interval.

Bucuresti fly-half Florin Vlaicu, who kicked a first-half penalty, added the conversion to a second-half try from full-back Bote Botezatu after lock Valentin Ursache’s try gave the Romanians a lift after the break.

But by then Genevois had already run in his second try to put Bourgoin into a commanding position in the contest which they never looked like relinquishing.      

T: Genevois 2, Jooste, Vulivuli, Penalty
C: Di Bernardo 4

Bucuresti Oaks
T: Botezatu, Ursache
C: Vlaicu
P: Vlaicu

STADIO XXV APRILE - Saturday 16th January 2010

Attendance: 1,050

LEEDS Carnegie set up a battle royal with French side Bourgoin for the top-of-the-table honours and an Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final berth at Headingley with a comfortable 38-15 bonus-point away win over Rugby Parma in Italy.

Spirited Parma took the lead after nine minutes through a Barry Irving, who kicked three first-half penalties, but tries from Rhys Oakley and Jonny Hepworth converted by fly-half Cieron Thomas, who also kicked a penalty had Leeds 17-9 up at the interval.

Parma hit back after the break with a try from Italian international Manoa Vosawai, but Leeds were soon back on track with a converted try from wing Luther Burrell to go 24-16 ahead and when back-rower Calum Clark notched the visitors’ fourth try the match was over as a contest.

Former Gloucester full-back Jon Goodridge then sealed Leed’s win late on with their fifth touchdown.

Rugby Parma
T: Vosawai
C: Irving
P:  Irving 3

Leeds Carnegie
T: Oakley, Burrell, Clark, Goodridge, Hepworth
C: Thomas 5
P: Thomastop


THE SPORTS GROUND – Friday 15th January 2010
Attendance: 1,700

CONNACHT booked their place in the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals with a deserved victory over Montpellier at the Sportsground, making it five wins out of five for the unfancied Irish regional side in the competition.

Two tries in the second-half from Liam Bibo and wing Fionn Carr were enough to secure a win which gave Connacht an unassailable six point lead over their French visitors at the top of Pool 2.

The sides were deadlocked 3-3 at the interval after Connacht had defended superbly playing into the string Galway wind.

Stand-off Ian Keatley, who had traded penalties with Montpellier opposite number Jacques Schutte before the interval, landed a second penalty four minutes after the restart for a lead Connacht never lost.

Right wing Bibo struck for the first Connacht try in the right corner after 57 minutes and seven minutes later Fionn Carr crossed in the other corner to secure the home side’s win.

Montpellier’s lone second-half try came from Georgian lock Mamuka Gorgodze in the 78th minute with Maxime Castell notching the conversion

T: Bibo, Carr
C: Keatley 2
P: Keatley 2

T: Gorgodze
C: Castell

SIXWAYS – Saturday 16th January 2010

Attendance: 5,923

BACK-ROWER Matt Cox blasted over for a second half hat-trick to help Worcester Warriors, who had already missed out on the quarter-final berth from Pool 2, cruise past hardworking Olympus Rugby XV Madrid by a 54-3 margin at Sixways Stadium.

The Spaniards shocked the Sixways crowd when they opened the scoring with a penalty from Jeremias Palumbo but after that it was all Worcester with centre Sam Tuitupou touching down and England Sevens star Abbott diving over for a double in the first half to put the Warriors in the box seat before half-time.

Cox grabbed a memorable long-range effort just before the interval and Worcester, leading 21-3 at the break turned on the style in the second half with Cox diving on the ball to score the easiest of tries just after the interval.

From then on, it was one-way traffic with Chris Pennell and Greg King adding to the home side’s try tally before Cox rounded off a man-of-the-match display with the Warriors’ sixth touchdown with three minutes to go.

Worcester Warriors
T: Tuitupou, Abbott 2, Cox 3, Pennell, King
C: Carlisle 3, Jones 4

Olympus Rugby XV Madrid
P: Palumbotop


VICARAGE ROAD – Thursday 14th January 2010
Attendance: 6,143

SARACENS stayed on course for an Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final place with an impressive 28-9 victory over Toulon at Vicarage Road which closed the gap to the French visitors to just one point at the top of Pool 3 with one round of games to go.

Springbok fly-half Derrick Hougaard kicked 20 points and a second-half try from back-rower Justin Melck try stitched up Sarries’ win.

Early on, Jonny Wilkinson had Toulon in front with a drop goal but Saracens’ former All Black scrum-half Justin Marshall cheekily cancelled that out with a drop goal of his own before four Hougaard penalties eased the home side into a 15-3 lead.

Wilkinson claimed two penalties for Toulon before half-time to cut Sarries’ lead to six points but Melck’s try from a driven line-out early in the second half effectively killed of the visitors’ challenge.

Saracens, who should claim a bonus-point win over Rugby Rovigo in their final qualifying outing, emerged from the game as the favourites to top the pool as Toulon will need a big win over Castres to stay in front of the Londoners.

T: Melck
C: Hougaard
P: Hougaard 6
DG: Marshall

P: Wilkinson 2
DG: Wilkinson

STADE PIERRE ANTOINE – Friday 15th January 2010
Attendance: 2,500

CASTRES thumped Italian minnows Rugby Roma 47-0 in the Stade Pierre Antoine, scoring seven tries in what was, to all intents and purposes, a dead Pool 3 rubber after the French side saw their outside chance of qualifying for the quarter-final stages evaporate in Round 4.

Under pressure from the off Roma conceded tries from open-side Darron Nell right wing Matthieu Nicolas, left wing Paul Bonnefond and a penalty score as Castres climbed firmly into the driving seat before half-time, taking a 26-0 into the interval.

After the break, Castres kept the tempo up to run in three more tries with fly-half Thomas Bouquie, who also kicked six conversions, replacement scrum-half Thomas Sanchou and outside centre Romain Cabannes crossing the Roma line.

Castres Olympique
T: Nell, Nicolas. Bonnefond, Bouquie, Sanchou, Cabannes, Penalty
C: Bouquie 6top


ADAMS PARK – Thursday 14th January 2010
Attendance: Not reported

LONDON Wasps put hapless Rugby Roma to the sword at Adams Park, scoring eight tries to stitch up an Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final place with a game to spare in Pool 4, thanks to their 100 per cent qualification record and an unassailable eight-point cushion over second-placed Bayonne.

Wasps had the bonus-point try in the bank well before half-time, taking a 33-13 in the first half after scoring five tries through two touchdowns from wing Tom Varndell and one apiece from prop Bob Baker, back-rower Dan Leo, wing Paul Sackey and lock George Skivington

The home side went slightly off the boil in the second half before adding three late tries, against a Roma side which was much more competitive than it had been on home territory in October, running in a try from centre Jean Gautier, converted by fly-half Max Freschi who also kicked a couple of first-half penalties.

After the break, full-back Mark van Gisbergen sent Varndell over in the corner for his second score, Leo notched his second and replacement centre Dom Waldouk rounded off Wasps’ win with try number eight in the dying minutes.

London Wasps
T: Varndell 2, Leo 2, Baker, Sackey, Skivington, Waldouk
C: Cipriani 5

Rugby Roma
T: Gautier
C: Freschi
P: Freschi 3

STADE JEAN DAUGER – Saturday 15th January 2010
Attendance: Not reported

RACING Métro saw their outside chance of grabbing a quarter-final berth at the expense of Wasps in the final round of Pool 4 qualifying matches slip away in Bayonne, where a 27-14 defeat threw the skids under the big-spending Parisian side’s Amlin Challenge Cup campaign.

An early try from wing Mani Vakaloa and a penalty and a drop-goal from the boot of former All Black Andrew Mehrtens had Racing on course to make a fight of the qualifying race at half-time, when they led 11-6.

But Bayonne, who had mustered two penalties from scrum-half Cedric Garcia in the first half, burst into life after the interval to run in a try by replacement prop David Roumieu which levelled it up after 46 minutes.

Mehrtens then chipped Racing back in front with a second drop goal but Bayonne responded with tries from wing Jean-Baptiste Peyras and replacement lock Jean-Jo Marmouyet to ease their way to victory with Garcia converting both touchdowns.  

T: Roumieu, Peyras, Marmouyet
C: Garcia 3
P: Garcia 2

Racing Métro
T: Vakaloa
P: Mehrtens
DG: Mehrtens 2top


La Maison des Sport – Friday 15th January 2010
Attendance: 3,000

KIWI fly-half jimmy Gopperth will be toast of Tyneside after his late touchline conversion snatched Newcastle a narrow 16-14 win over Albi in France and all but booked the Falcons an Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final place from Pool 5.

Gopperth converted Tongan flanker Josh Afu’s 74th minute try in Albi’s Stade Municipal to close a tight game out and set Newcastle up for what should be a routine home win over bottom-of-the-pool Petrarca Padova at Kingston Park.

Two penalties apiece from Gopperth and fellow New Zealander and one-time Wellington Hurricanes teammate Blair Stewart had the two sides all square at half-time.

Newcastle threw club captain Carl Hayman into the action at the interval but they then went behind when replacement flanker Yogane Correa wriggle over the Falcons line for an unconverted try and after Gopperth and Stewart kicked another penalty apiece the contest was still balanced on a knife-edge.

But Afu grabbed the initiative for Newcastle with the crucial try and Gopperth then kept his cool to deliver the clinical match-clinching conversion before the Falcons defence did a fine job to resist late pressure from Albi.

T: Correa
P: Stewart 3

Newcastle Falcons
T: Afu
C: Gopperth
P: Gopperth 3

STADIO PLEBISCITO - Saturday 16th January 2010

Attendance: 800

MONTAUBAN had to come from behind in Padova to squeeze out a valuable bonus-point away win which set them up for a winner-takes-all crack at Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park in Round 6, when the Pool 5 quarter-final place will still be very much up for grabs.

Indeed, the Italians gave the French Top-14 side the mother and father of all frights by leading the contest 16-14 at half-time.

Montauban looked to be in control after they ran in tries from wing Adrien Figueiredo and open-side Alejandro Campos, both converted by scrum-half Cedric Coll, after fly-half Ludovic Mercier had knocked over an early penalty for the home side.

But Padova roared back with tries from lock Agustin Cavalieri and Mercier and a Mercier drop goal to get their noses in front before second-half tries from Campos and lock Romain Sazy steadied the Montauban ship.

Padova were awarded a [penalty try in the 70th minute which Mercier converted, but that was not enough to spark any meaningful late fight-back from the home side and Montauban were able to sit on their eight-point lead until the end.

Petrarca Rugby
T: Cavalieri, Mercier, Penalty
C: Mercier
P: Mercier

T: Figueiredo, Sazy, Campos 2
C: Coll 4
P: Colltop



STADE PIERRE RAJON – Thursday 17th December 2009
Attendance: 2,000

BOURGOIN threw down a stiff challenge to Leeds Carnegie in the race for the quarter-final berth from the Amlin Challenge Cup’s Pool 1 with a 31-10 home win over Rugby Parma in the Stade Pierre Rajon which left the French side on level pegging with the Guinness Premiership strugglers at the top of the pool standings.

Three converted tries from outside centre Matias Viazzo,  tight-head Sylvain Charlet and full-back Mael Moinot, with fly-half Benjamin Boyet adding the extras, inside the first half-hour saw Bourgoin romp into a 21-3 half-time lead in freezing conditions.

Fly-half Francesco Mazzariol notched Parma’s only points in the first 40 with a penalty kick but he added the conversion when wing Ignacio Martin scored a superb try for the Italian side to pull the score back to 21-10 by the 66th minute.

But any hopes of a meaningful fight-back from the visitors were extinguished when Bourgoin wing Jean-Francois Coux nipped over to notch the home side’s fourth, bonus-point try two minutes later.

And a fifth Bourgoin touchdown from lock Coenraad Basson six minutes from time made sure the home side ran out comfortable winners.

T: Moinot, Viazzo, Coux, Charlet, Basson
C: Boyet (3)

Rugby Parma
T: Martin
C: Mazzariol
P: Mazzariol

HEADINGLEY – Sunday 20th December 2009
Attendance: 1,124

LEEDS Carnegie moved to the top of Pool 1 ahead of Bourgoin on try difference after a seven-try, 47-0 demolition job on Bucuresti Oaks at Headingley where a one-sided contest was only given the go-ahead two hours before kick-off after a superb effort by ground staff to clear the pitch of snow.

And Neil Back’s bottom-of-the Guinness Premiership side made all that hard work pay off, running in five tries in the first half from open-side Hendre Fourie, centre Seru Rabeni prop Mike MacDonald with the first two converted by fly-half Cieron Thomas before he limped off injured.

Wing Lee Blackett notched Leeds’ fourth try on the half-hour and skipper Marcus Wentzel made it five tries before the break with Jason Strange kicking two conversions after he replaced Thomas.

With the tie won, Leeds took their foot off the gas after the interval and the sixth try, from Henry Paul, came in the 64th minute with Richard Welding completing the scoring before he too limped off injured, leaving Leeds to coast home with 14 men on the pitch.

Leeds Carnegie
T: Paul, Blackett, Welding, MacDonald, Fourie, Rabeni, Wentzel
C: Thomas 2, Strange 4top

THE SPORTSGROUND – Friday 18th December 2009
Attendance: 1,400

WORCESTER Warriors’ hopes of qualification for the knockout stages of the Amlin Challenge Cup for a third successive year evaporated in Galway, where Connacht completed the double over the Guinness Premiership outfit to strengthen their grip on top spot in Pool 2.

Full-back Chris Pennell finished off a well-worked move to give the Warriors, who were backed by a vocal band of travelling supporters, the brighter start and an early 7-0 lead after fly-half Matthew Jones converted.

But unbeaten Connacht forged in front before half-time with home skipper John Muldoon and full-back Gavin Duffy both crossing the Worcester line for unconverted tries.

The Warriors looked to mount a second half fight-back, but the boot of Connacht fly-half Ian Keatley kept them at bay and a late yellow card for back-rower Tom Wood completed a miserable evening for Mike Ruddock's men.

T: Muldoon, Duffy
P: Keatley 2
DG: Keatley

Worcester Warriors
T: Pennell
C: Jones

CUIDAD UNVERSITARIA – Saturday 19th December 2009
Attendance: 3,000

MONTPELLIER have emerged as the side best placed to take to the qualifying fight to Pool 2 leaders Connacht after the French side registered a straightforward 42-6 win over Spanish minnows Olympus Rugby XV Madrid in Spain.

Two first half tries from number eight Georgi Chkhaidze and one apiece from centres Florian Nicot, and Geoffrey Doumayrou, all converted by scrum-half Adrien Tomas had the bonus-point win in the bank by half-time.

Madrid mustered a penalty and a drop-goal from fly-half Cesar Sempere to trail 28-6 but Doumayrou’s second touchdown, converted by full-back Jacques Schutte, midway through the second half killed off any signs of a second-half fight-back from the Spaniards.

And a late score from replacement lock Sakiusa Matadigo, converted by Schutte, wrapped it up for Montpellier.  

Olympus Rugby XV Madrid
P: Sempere
DG: Sempere

T: Chkhaidze 2, Nicot, Matadigo, Doumayrou  2
C: Schutte 2, Tomas 4top


STADIO MARION BATTAGLINI – Saturday 19th December 2009
Attendance: 1,000

TOULON chalked up a comfortable 30-7 win over spirited but outclassed Rugby Rovigo to open up a five-point gap over Saracens at the top of the Pool 3 table routine with two games, including the likely pool decider at Vicarage Road next month, to play.

Roma delivered a wake-up call to their French visitors with an 11th minute try from wing Andrea Pratichetti, which was converted by full-back Stefano Basson, but by half-time a Felipe Contepomi penalty and two conversion adding the extras to touchdowns from wing Christophe Laomanu and blind-side flanker Olivier Massoup had Toulon 25-3 up and in the box seat.

After the break, tight-head prop Tim Ryan sealed Toulon’s win and tucked the try-scoring bonus-point in the bank with a 45th minute try and lock Esteban Lozada put the icing on the French side’s cake with a fifth try two minutes later.

T: Pritchett
C: Basson

T: Missoup, Loamanu, Lozada, Ryan
C: Contepomi 2
P: Contepomi 2

VICARAGE ROAD – Saturday 19th December 2009
Attendance: 5,452

SIX penalties from fly-half Glen Jackson carried Saracens to an 18-14 Vicarage Road victory over Castres and into second place behind five-point Pool 3 leaders Toulon with two qualifying matches, including a crucial home date with the pool leaders, to play before the quarter-final places are settled.

Sarries were on the scoreboard inside ten minutes when Glen Jackson, who had already missed a drop-goal, kicked his first penalty and Castres made their intentions clear when wing Paul Bonnefond grabbed a try with fly-half Thomas Bouquie converting to give the visitors a 7-3 lead.

Three Jackson penalties had Saracens 12-7 in front at the interval, but Castres started the second half in determined style and when Yoan Audrin kicked ahead from inside his own half and scored in the corner with Bouquie again adding the extras, the visitors led 14-12.

However, Jackson twice was on target with penalties in the closing ten minutes, which saw Castres reduced to 14 men when former Gloucester centre Phil Christophers was sin-binned, to ease Saracens over the finishing line ahead.

P Jackson 6

Castres Olympique
T:  Bonnefond, Audrin
C: Bouquie 2top

STADE JEAN DAUGER - Thursday 17th December 2009
Attendance: 4,000

DAVE Walder kicked London Wasps to an away victory in Bayonne which gave the twice Heineken Cup winners a  seven-point cushion over their hosts at the top of Pool 4 with games against Rugby Roma and Racing-Metro to come in the New Year.

Walder, who also missed twice, kicked two penalties in the first-half and then wrapped up proceedings with a drop-goal and a third penalty in the closing 15 minutes.

But while the Wasps stand-off took the plaudits, his front five that laid the foundations for a 13th straight win in the tournament for the Londoners helping them to dominate in the scrum and win a string of penalties to frustrate the home side.

The visitors also had to win the hard way as they played with 14 men for 20 minutes. Skipper Serge Betsen was the first to go to the sin-bin just before half-time and then George Skivington followed for using his knee at a ruck in the second half.

Italian outside-half Craig Gower and replacement full-back Manny Edmonds tried to inject some life into the home side’s attacks, but they never found the cutting edge required to hurt Wasps.

The only points Bayonne could manage came from the boot of Spanish international scrum half Cedric Garcia, although he was wide with another attempt as was his half-back partner Gower.

P: Garcia

London Wasps
P: Walder 3
DG: Walder

STADIO TRE FONTAINE - Saturday 19th December 2009
Attendance: 3,500

RACING Métro handed hosts Rugby Roma an eight-try hiding in the Stadio Tre Fontaine but the big-spending Parisians are still up against it in the hunt for the quarter-final place from Pool 4, where they trail pool leaders London Wasps by four points with two games to play.

Fly-half Max Freschi warmed up the 3,500 crowd when he kicked Roma in front with a tenth-minute penalty, but from then in it was Racing who dictated proceedings, sweeping into a 20-3 half-time lead with a penalty from centre Greg Goosen, tries from scrum-half Jerome Fillol, number eight Jacques Cronje and wing Sereli Bobo, one converted by Goosen and the other by fly-half Fabien Fortassin.

After the break, Racing had the bonus-point try in the bank with a converted score from open-side Jone Quvo Nailiko and they underlined their rampant superiority with four tries in the last 20 minutes from replacement Remy Vaquin, hooker Carlo Festuccia, replacement prop Andrea Lo Cicero and Springbok centre Francois Steyn.

Rugby Roma
P: Freschi

Racing-Métro 92
T: Bobo, Cronje, Festuccia, Vaquiin, Lo Cicero, Steyn, Fillol, Nailiko
C: Goosen, Fortassin 4
P: Goosentop

STADE DE SAPIAC - Friday 18th December 2009
Attendance: 5,650

NEWCASTLE Falcons secured a potentially valuable bonus point to stay in the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final race thanks to a losing bonus-point from a 24-19 defeat by Montauban in the Stade de Sapiac.

The Falcons fought back from 16-6 down and then saw their hosts spurn a great chance to deny the visitors a losing bonus-point when they tu4ndd down a penalty shot at goal to go for a third try, which meant Newcastle flew home still at the top of the Pool 5 standings.

Scrum-half Julien Audy kicked two penalties to one from Falcons fly-half Jimmy Gopperth to give Montauban a 6-3 lead by the 20-minute point before the French side claimed the first try of the night when hooker Gregory Arganese darted over down the left-hand with Audy converting.

A second Gopperth penalty kept Newcastle in the hunt at half-time and he notched a third early in the second half to make it 16-9.

When wing Adrien Figueiredo picked off an interception try, the visitors had a mountain to climb but Gopperth set up a stunning try for Springbok centre Gcobani Bobo and then added the conversion to get Newcastle back into the contest.

But the Falcons were unable to narrow the margin any further and the only other points to go on the board before the finish were a penalty apiece from Montauban’s replacement fly-half Mathieu Belie and Gopperth.

T: Arganese, Figueiredo
C: Audy
P: Audy 3, Belie

Newcastle Falcons
T: Bobo
C: Gopperth
P: Gopperth 4

STADE MAZICOU – Sunday 20th December 2009
Attendance: 2,000

TOP-14 strugglers Albi kept their hopes of making the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals from Pool 5 just about alive with a 38-16 win over a Padova side which pushed them hard for the better part of an hour in a tie delayed 24 hours by freezing conditions and switched from Albi’s Maison des Sports to the nearby Stade Mazicou.

The Italians were just two points adrift at the interval, trailing 18-16 after Albi initially opened up a 15-3 lead thanks to tries from wing Anthony Poujol and centre John Stewart, a penalty from fly-half Frederic Manca and a conversion from scrum-half Kevin Boulogne.

By half-time, Padova had hit back with a try from wing Warren Spragg with fly-half Ludovic Mercier adding a conversion, two penalties and a drop-goal to pull it back to 18-16.

But Albi ran the show in the second half to canter to victory with penalties from Manca and Boulogne stretching their lead before a try apiece from Stewart and blind-side Clementi Maynadier, both converted by replacement fly-half Blair Stewart, wrapped it up.  

T: Stewart 2, Maynadier, Poujol
C: Stewart 2, Boulogne
P: Manca 2, Boulogne 2

Petrarca Rugby
T: Spragg
C: Mercier
P: Mercier 2
DG: Merciertop



ARCUL DE TRIOMFE – Saturday 12th December 2009
Attendance: 1,000

LEEDS Carnegie, bottom of the Guinness Premiership, grabbed the top-of-the-table spot in Pool 1 thanks to an unexpected defeat for French pool rivals Bourgoin in Parma and a hard-earned win over Romanian minnows Bucuresti Oaks.

Neil Back’s men had to come from behind to make it two wins out of three after taking time to play their way into a tense and tight battle which saw them trail 6-3 just after the interval to a penalty and a drop-goal from Bucuresti full-back Florin Vlaicu.

Rhys Oakley threw Leeds a lifeline in the 70th minute with a try and the conversion from fly-half Jason Strange, who had kicked a penalty early in the first half, gave the visitors the lead for the first time in the match.

And that proved enough to see Leeds edge out Bourgoin at the top of the Pool 1 table try count with three rounds to play.

Bucuresti Oaks
P: Vlaicu
DG: Vlaicu

Leeds Carnegie
T: Oakley
C: Strange
P: Strange

STADIO XXV APRILE – Saturday 12th December 2009
Attendance: 1,050

BOURGOIN, who started their Amlin Challenge Cup campaign as the favourites to claim a quarter-final berth, missed their chance to take command of Pool 1 when they slumped to an unexpected defeat by spirited Rugby Parma in the Stadio XXV Aprile.

A lone unconverted first-half try from wing Giulio Rubini gave Parma the edge at half-time after Bourgoin’s France fly-half Benjamin Boyet had given last season’s beaten finalists an early 3-0 lead.

A penalty from Parma skipper and fly-half Barry Irving extended the home side’s lead to 8-3 early in the second half and a drop-goal from full-back Edd Thrower restored their five-point cushion after Boyet’s second penalty kept Bourgoin in the hunt.

But Parma were rewarded for a gutsy performance with another Irving penalty, which left Boyet unable to salvage anything more than a losing bonus point for Bourgoin with a stoppage-time penalty.          

Rugby Parma
T: Rubini
P: Irving
DG: Thrower


STADE YVES DU MANOIR – Friday 11th December 2009
Attendance: 6,832

MONTPELLIER, who opened their Challenge Cup campaign with a win at Worcester, ran riot against an outgunned but spirited Madrid side in the Stade Yves de Manoir to take command of Pool 2.

But the Spanish minnows, hammered by Connacht in Galway and at home by Worcester in their first two outings, scored three tries – two in the first half, which ended with the home side leading 36-14, and one in the second.

Skipper and right wing Pablo Feijoo and fly-half Cesar Sempere, who also kicked three conversions and a penalty, both touched down before the interval with left wing Juan Cano crossing in the second half.

Montpellier, though, scored tries virtually at will and they had the try-scoring bonus point in the bag inside 35 minutes on their way to an eight-try haul with full-back Benjamin Thierry and wing Thierry Brana both touching down twice while hooker and captain Joan Caudillo, lock Mamuka Gorgodze, blind-side flanker Mathieu Petitdemange and replacement wing Juan Figallo grabbing a try apiece.

Scrum-half Adrien Tomas kicked seven out of eight conversions.

T: Thierry 2, Brana 2, Caudullo, Gorgodze, Petitdemange, Figallo
C: Tomas 7
DG: Thierry

Olympus XV De Madrid
T: Feijoo, Cano, Sempere
C: Sempere 3
P: Sempere

SIXWAYS – Saturday 12th December 2009
Attendance: 6,652

WORCESTER’S Amlin Challenge Cup ambitions are in tatters after they crashed to a 26-21 home defeat by unfancied Connacht, who outscored the Sixways outfit by three tries to two to climb into pole position, three points ahead of Montpellier, in the Pool 2 race for a quarter-final place.

Chris Pennell made a 12th-minute break to set up the opening try for Scotland centre Alex Grove, giving Worcester a 10-3 lead after Keatley and Walker, who converted, had swapped early penalties.

Grove immediately blotted his copybook when he attempted a back-handed offload on halfway line with no support anywhere near him and the ball was picked off by Keatley, who streaked away for an unconverted try in the corner to cut the Warriors’ lead to two points.

Walker stretched that to five points three minutes later, but Connacht were back on terms again on the half-hour when the Irish side’s top try-scorer Fionn Carr was put away down the left by centre Niva Ta’auso.

Walker punished Connacht for holding on after the tackle in the 45th minute to square the contest up at 16-16 but Connacht again punished a bad Worcester error in the 62nd minute, picking off an overthrown defensive line-out for hooker Cronin to crash over with Keatley adding the conversion.

Four minutes later, flanker Tom Wood grabbed an unconverted try in reply, finishing off a move sparked Arr’s quick tapped penalty to leave the Warriors 23-21 down with ten minutes to play, but Connacht deservedly wrapped up a potentially priceless away win in the 79th minute with a calmly-struck penalty from fly-half Keatley.

Worcester Warriors
T: Walker, Wood
C: Walker
P: Walker 3

T: Keatley, Carr, Cronin
C: Keatley
P: Keatley 3


STADE PIERRE ANTOINE – Friday 11th December 2009
Attendance: 6,250

SARACENS produced an impressive second-half performance to beat French Top 14 table-toppers Castres 23-9 at the Stade Pierre Antoine, keeping the Londoners in the hunt for a quarter-final berth.

After trailing 9-3 at the interval thanks to a superb defensive effort, tries from replacements Andy Saull and Schalk Brits after the break proved enough to see off their hosts, who had dominated the opening 40 minutes.

Castres full-back Thomas Bouquie kicked his side into the lead twice in the first half, notching three penalties after a Glen Jackson drop-goal cancelled out the Frenchman’s first successful kick early on.

By the hour mark, Saracens were back on terms thanks to two Jackson penalties and when Brits burst off the back of a rolling maul and got to within inches of the line, Saull drove over from close range with Jackson converting to put the visitors in the box seat.

And, when Brits intercepted a long cut-out pass from Castres scrum-half Alexandre Albouy and raced under the posts, Jackson clipped over the conversion to leave triumphant Saracens four points adrift of Pool 3 leaders Toulon with three games to play.

P: Bouquie 3

T: Brits, Saull
C: Jackson 2
P: Jackson
DG: Jackson 2

STADE FELIX MAYOL – Friday 11th December 2009
Attendance: 9,700

FIVE first-half touchdowns set Toulon on the road to an 11-try rout of hapless Rugby Rovigo which earned the French side a potentially crucial four-point lead over Guinness Premiership pace-setters Saracens in the Pool 3 qualification race.

Even with fly-half Jonny Wilkinson rested, Toulon blew the Italians away with Argentina’s Felipe Contepomi, making his comeback from a knee injury, pulling the home side’s strings in fine style and kicking five conversions.

By half-time, Rovigo had their only points of the match on the board courtesy of a penalty from full-back Stefan Basson while Toulon had run in tries from left wing Gabi Lovabalavu, number eight Fotunuupule Auelua, left wing Sinoti Sinoti and full-back Clement Marienval.

After the break the try procession continued, Lovabalavu notching a hat-trick to take his tally to four, while Sinoti ran in his second score and replacements Ross Skeate, Thomas Sourice, and Philip Fitzgerald grabbed a try apiece and Contepomi’s replacement at stand-off, Lionel Fauque, chipped in with four conversions.

T: Lovabalavu 4, Sinoti 2, Marienval, Auelua, Fitzgerald, Skeate, Sourice
C: Contepomi 5, Fauque 4

Rugby Rovigo
P: Basson



ADAMS PARK – Saturday, December 12 2009
Attendance: 6.902

LONDON Wasps are one win away from a virtually guaranteed Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final berth after a tight 22-18 home victory over main qualification rivals Bayonne at Adams Park saw them leapfrog the visitors into pole position in Pool 4.

Wasps took the lead in the sixth minute through a Dave Walder penalty but Bayonne made good on their promise to make the home side work hard for a win with a penalty in reply from scrum-half Cedric Garcia and when Garcia kicked the visitors into a 6-3 lead in the sixth-minute, Wasps knew they were in a contest
it was all-square when Walder clipped over a second penalty and when Bayonne number eight Jacques Deen was shown a yellow card in the 22nd minute, Walder’s third successful kick had the home side in front for the first time.

But Garcia landed a simple penalty to square it up at 9-9 with 33 minutes gone and then missed a chance to give the French side a three-point lead just before half-time.

Early in the second half, Garcia atoned for that miss, but Wasps responded with an unconverted try from Tom Varndell.

Walder then stretched Wasps’ lead to 17-12 with ten minutes of the second half gone but Craig Gower, on for Garcia, countered with a penalty to cut the home side’s lead back to two points until good work from centre Ben Jacobs set Varndell up for his second unconverted try.

Gower landed another penalty, securing a losing bonus point for the visitors but Wasps’ win gave them a three-point cushion at the top of the pool ahead of the return clash in France.

London Wasps
T: Varndell 2
P: Walder 4

P: Garcia 4, Gower 2

STADE YVES DU MANOIR – Saturday 12th December 2009
Attendance: 3,200

VETERAN former All Blacks Epi Taione and Andrew Mehrtens turned the clock back to their glory days with New Zealand to inspire Racing Metro to an ten-try, 62-0 rout of hapless Rugby Rovigo which kept the Parisians in with a slim chance of making the  quarter-finals from Pool 4.

Outside centre Taione, lock Santiago Dellape, scrum-half Nic Berry and inside centre Andrea Masi all ran in ties to tuck the try-scoring bonus point in the ban inside half-an-hour.

And by half-time, Racing had a 33-0 lead and fifth try on the board after tight-head Juan-Pablo Orlandi trundled over the Rovigo line with Merhtens kicking his fourth conversion.

After the break, the home side kept their foot on the gas to notch another 29 unanswered points with five more tries –a second counter from Taione and one apiece from wing Julien Saubade, number eight Jacques Cronje, open-side Rene Vaquin and replacement Dan Scarbrough.  

Racing Metro
T: Taione 2, Dellape, Berry, Masi, Orlandi, Saubade, Cronje, Vaquin, Scarbrough
C: Mehrtens 4 Fortassin 2


KINGSTON PARK – Thursday 10th December 2009

Attendance: 3,988

NEWCASTLE Falcons consolidated their position as Pool 5 leaders at Kingston Park with a comfortable victory over Montauban, thanks to a second-half try from full-back Alex Tait which sealed the home side’s fight-back from 6-3 down at half-time.

Early on, Montauban full-back Johan Dalla Riva slotted a 30-metre drop goal from slow ruck ball with Falcons fly-half Jimmy Gopperth replying with a penalty in a tight opening quarter.

By half-time, a second drop-goal from visiting fly-half Cedric Coll had Montauban in front again, but Newcastle dominated the second half in terms of possession and territory.

Scrum-half Young had a try chalked off for a knock-on at the base of a close-range ruck, but a Gopperth penalty got the home side back on terms and when Charlie Amesbury snared a lofted kick on the Montauban 22, Tait finished off a slick three-man back move in the corner.

Gopperth then clipped over two penalties in the last quarter to seal Newcastle’s win and deny Montauban a losing bonus point.

Newcastle Falcons
T: Tait
P: Gopperth 4

P: Coll
DG: Dalla Riva

STADIO PLEBISCITO – Saturday 12th December 2009
Attendance: 2,300

TOP 14  strugglers Albi needed four second-half tries to haul themselves out of trouble on their way to a 35-16 win over hosts Petrarcha Padova that lifted the French side off the bottom of the Pool 5 table.

Padova, still without a win after three Pool 4 outings, made a good fist of a first half which ended with them nursing a 6-5 lead courtesy of two penalties from former Gloucester fly-half Ludovic Mercier after centre Dave Vainqueur grabbed an early unconverted try for Albi.

The Italians then made a great start to the second half, running in a stunning try by replacement lock Agustin Cavalleri with Mercier converting to take a 13-5 lead.

That, though, acted as a wake-up call for Albi and they stood the contest on its head with three tries in ten minutes from tight-head Ronnie Sua, full-back Benjamin Lapeyre and wing Anthony Poujol, all converted by fly-half Blair Stewart, to romp into the lead.

Mercier interrupted Albi’s rampant spell with a penalty, but there was to be no Padova fight-back and a late try from Vainqueur stitched up Albi’s win.

Petrarca Padova
T: Cavalleri
C: Mercier
P: Mercier 3

T: Vainqueur 2, Poujol, Sua, Lapeyre
C: Stewart 5top



ARCUL DE TRIUMF 17th October 2009

Attendance: 1,000

BOURGOIN left Romania with a three-point lead at the top of Pool 1 thanks to a  win over competition minnows Bucuresti Oaks, but only after the home side had pushed the French Top 14 side all the way in a very tight contest.

Bucuresti, who notched a try from full-back Bota Botezatu and a conversion and two penalties from scrum-half, trailed twice in the first half with Bourgoin running in a try from lock Camille Levaste, while full-back Alberto Di Bernardo clipped over a conversion and two penalties.

With the contest all square at the break Calafeteanu kicked the home side 16-13 ahead early in the second half and a drop-goal from Dan Dumbrava, gave them a 19-16 lead after Sebastien Laloo levelled it up with a penalty for Bourgoin.

But the French side grabbed the crucial score to win when replacement front-rower Rémy Vigneaux crashed over for an unconverted score.

Bucuresti Oaks
T: Botezatu
C: Calafeteanu
P: Calfeteanu 3
DG: Dumbrava

T: Levaste, Vigneaux
C: Di Bernardo
P: Di Bernardo 2, Lalootop


HEADINGLEY 18TH October 2009

Attendance: 2,886

LEEDS Carnegie broke their duck for the season with a win over Rugby Parma which kept them in the hunt for top spot in Pool 1, beating the Italians 37-13 in a fashion which will give Neil Back’s a major morale boost.

Wing Richard Welding crashed over in the corner with Jason Strange converting before Parma lost two key players – centre Riccardo Pavan and scrum-half Pino Patelli – to injuries.

Leeds stretched their lead when loose-head Gareth Hardy was driven over for an unconverted try, Barry Irving slotted over a penalty just before half-time to get Parma on the board and wing Roberto Mariani touched down early in the second half to pull it back to 12-10 before a penalty apiece from Strange and Irvine took the score to 15-13.

Strange added another penalty before Scott Barrow broke away to grab Leeds third try and Strange’s conversion stretched their lead to 25-13.

Calum Clark then ran in the bonus-point try with Strange adding the extras before Welding’s second touchdown wrapped it up for the home side.

Leeds Carnegie
T: Welding 2, Hardy, Barrow, Clark
C: Strange 3
P: Strange 2

Rugby Parma
T: Mariani
C: Irving 1
P: Irving 2top


STADE YVES DU MANOIR 16th October 2009

Attendance: 7,230

MONTPELLIER, who won for the first time on the road in a year at Worcester Warriors in Round 1,  surrendered their chance to take a stranglehold on Pool 2 when they went down at home to spirited Connacht.

The Irish side staged a terrific second-half fight-back to eke out a narrow and valuable away win after trailing 16-10 at the interval in the Stade Yves de Manoir.

Midway through the first half, Montpellier looked the likely winners after former Leicester Tiger Ollie Smith notched his first try of the season with fly-half adding the conversion to an early penalty and a drop-goal to give the home side a 13-3 lead.

By half-time, Connacht had hit back with a try from Fionn Carr, converted by Miah Nikora, who had notched an early penalty but Todeschini clipped over a 38th minute penalty to send Montpellier in with a 16-10 half-time cushion.

After the break, Connacht stepped up a gear and Carr’s second try, converted by replacement fly-half Ian Keatley gave the visitors a 17-16 lead with 52 minutes gone in an increasingly tight contest.

Todeschini’s boot then eased Montpellier back into a 19-17 lead, but Connacht had the last say on the scoreboard when wing Niva Ta’auso nipped over for the unconverted try which proved enough to give the Irish side a highly valuable away win.

T: Smith
C: Todeschini
P: Todeschini 3
DG: Todeschini

T: Carr 2, Ta’auso
C: Nikora, Keatley
P: Nikoratop



Attendance: 5,300

WORCESTER Warriors blasted their way back into the Pool 3 reckoning with a comfortable bonus-point away win over tournament debutants Olympique Madrid, thanks to try doubles from Miles Benjamin and Alex Grove and one from scrum-half Johnny Arr.

Mike Ruddock’s men, beaten at home by Montpellier in Round 1 were in complete control by half-time with the bonus point in the back after Grove struck twice, Benjamin grabbed the first of his brace and Arr touched down.

The spirited but outclassed Spaniards Madrid notched their lone try in the first half, when wing Matias Tudela capitalised on some rare freedom to touch down an unconverted try.

But Worcester, who led 24-5 at the interval, built on their lead despite losing Chris Fortey to a yellow card early in the second half and when Grove grabbed his second try the match was over as any kind of contest, leaving Benjamin to round off an easy win in the 56th minute.

Olympique XV Madrid
T: Tudela

Worcester Warriors
T: Benjamin 2, Grove 2, Arr
C: Crook 5
P: Crook top



STADE FELIX MAYOL 15th October 2009

Attendance: 11,600

BIG-SPENDING Toulon made it two wins in a row with a 31-23 home win over Guinness Premiership leaders Saracens to take command of Pool 2, thanks to a masterly display from playmaker-in-chief Jonny Wilkinson.

Wilkinson, back in the sort of form which England cannot ignore ahead of the Autumn Test series against Australia, Argentina and New Zealand, knocked over four penalties and two conversions and helped Toulon conjure up a three tries-to-two win over the visitors.

Opposite number Derrick Hougaard kicked Saracens into an early 3-0 lead but with half-an-hour gone, Toulon were in charge after Wilkinson kicked two penalties and added the conversion on the first of two first-half tries from outside centre.

Lovabalavu’s second try, this time unconverted, made sure Toulon went in at the interval with a comfortable 18-9 cushion after Hougaard kicked two penalties to keep Sarries in touch.

After the break, a converted try from Tom May and another Wilkinson penalty eased Toulon into a 28-9 lead with 52 minutes gone, but Saracens were not about to fold up and they came roaring back with a 58th minute try from back-rower Wikkus Van Heerden, converted by Hougaard.

Wilkinson’s left boot eased Toulon’s lead back out to 31-16 and that proved enough with a 77th minute interception try, converted by Hougaard, not quite enough to earn Sarries a losing bonus-point.

T: Lovabalavu 2, May
C: Wilkinson 2
P: Wilkinson 4

T: Van Heerden, Haughton
C: Hougaard 2
P: Hougaard 3top


Attendance: 1,500

RUGBY Rovigo were made to look like Challenge Cup cannon-fodder by rampant Castres, who reacted to their home defeat by Toulon in Round 2 by storming to a, 12-try rout of their Italian hosts.

Hapless Rovigo mustered a lone second-half try from replacement scrum-half Younos Anouer and two first-half penalties from fly-half German Bustos in a match which was one-way traffic virtually from the off.

By half-time, Castres were 41-6 in front with the bonus-point in the bank inside 28 minutes after skipper Rodrigo Capo Ortega, number eight Joe Tekori, outside centre Yoan Audrin (2), open-side Yannick Caballero, full back Thomas Bouquie and wing Marc Andreu had all crossed the whitewash.

After the break, the Castres try procession continued with a penalty score, Tekori grabbing a brace to complete his hat-trick and front-rower Mathieu Bonello and scrum-half Thomas Sanchou adding a touchdown apiece.

Fly-half Romain Teulet filled his boots with seven conversions with Bouquie adding another two-pointer late on.

Rugby Rovigo
T: Anouer
P: Bustos 2

T: Tekori 3, Audrin 2, Capo Ortega, Caballero, Bouquie, Andreu, Bonello, Sanchou, Pen
C: Teulet 7, Bouquie top



STADIO TRE FONTANE – 17th October 2009

Attendance: 2,000

WASPS assumed command of Pool 4 after following up their Round 1 home win over Racing Metro with a near-perfect 57-0 rout of Italian hosts Rugby Roma, turning a 17-0 half-time advantage into a thumping victory with another 40 unanswered second-half points.

Joe Ward crashed over for the opening try with Eoghan Hickey kicking the first of six conversions and, after Roma number eight Jonathan Gagiani was sent to the sin bin, youngster Charlie Beech cruised over for the third score.

Dan Leo extended Wasps lead early in the second half with the first of his two tries, Tom Varndell notched his sixth try of the season and Hickey touched Wasps sixth try to make it 36-0 with 20 minutes to go.

Skipper Paul Sackey then got in on the try-scoring act to make it 43-0 before Ward-Smith and Leo both touched down again to round off an easy Wasps victory.

London Wasps
T: Ward-Smith 2, Leo 2, Ward, Beech, Varndell, Hickey, Sackey
C: Hickey 6top



Attendance: 6,157

BAYONNE picked up an away Pool 4 win over big-spending Racing Metro, but neither side looks set to mount much of a challenge for a quarter-final place with the Parisians naming a second-string side after their Round 1 defeat at Wasps.

Bayonne grabbed both of the match’s tries wing Sam Gerber touching down in a first half which ended with his side 7-6 up after scrum-half Manny Edmonds kicked a conversion and a penalty.

Filimoni Bolovucu touched down for Bayonne late in the second half with Benat Arrayet, who also notched a penalty, converting to take the game away from their hosts after a try from replacement John Leo’o, converted by Andrew Merhtens, and three penalties from Jonathan Wisniewski had given Racing a 16-13 lead with 12 minutes to go.

Racing Metro
T: Leo’o
C: Mehrtens
P: Wisniewski 3

T: Gerber, Bolovucu
C: Edmonds, Arrayet
P: Edmonds, Arrayettop



STADE DE SAPIAC 16th October 2009

Attendance: 5,635

MONTAUBAN, who last reached the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup seven seasons ago, are on course for another visit to the knockout stages after a comfortable 27-10 home win over Petrarca Padova put the French side in the Pool 5 driving seat.

But they had to win their second pool match the hard way after the Italians delivered a first-half wake-up call in the shape of a try from fly-half Stefano Ambrosio, who added the conversion to an earlier penalty kick to give Padova a 10-3 lead after 20 minutes.

The home side responded before half-time with a try from prop Silviu Flores and fly-half Johan Della Riva’s conversion and his second penalty of the contest had Montauban 13-10 up at the interval.

From there, Montauban eased to victory, pulling further ahead in the 46th minute thanks to a try from Jean Emmanuele Cassin with Della Riva adding the conversion.

A 67th minute touchdown from replacement Shannon Paku, converted by Della Riva, then wrapped up Montauban’s win.

T: Flores, Cassin, Paku
C: Della Riva 3
P: Della Riva 2

T: Ambrosio
C: Ambrosio
P: Ambrosio top


KINGSTON PARK 18th October 2009

Attendance: 4,470

SEVEN tries in a thumping 45-3 Kingston Park win bonus-point over French outsiders Albi earned Steve Bates’ Newcastle Falcons side pole position in Pool 5, where they have a handy two-point lead over Montauban.

Touchdowns from Danny Williams, prop Lawrence Oven and open-side Will Welch sent the Falcons in 21-3 up at the interval after fly-half Jimmy Gopperth kicked three conversions.

Albi fly-half Frederic Manca kicked his side’s lone penalty before the break and it was one-way traffic after the interval with front-row replacement Alex Walker, wing Tom Biggs, Gopperth and full-back Charlie Amesbury adding touchdowns in the second half.

Gopperth, selected ahead of the promising Rob Miller at outside-half, kicked five conversions for a 20-point haul.

Newcastle Falcons
T: Williams, Ovens, Welch, Walker, Biggs, Gopperth, Amesbury
C: Gopperth 5

P: Manca



STADE PIERRE RAJON 9th October 2009

Attendance: 6,215

BOURGOIN comfortably saw off Guinness Premiership relegation favourites Leeds Carnegie in the Stade Pierre Rajon to grab top spot in Pool 1 with a 29-19 win which piled on the pressure on Neil Back’s side to win their home games if they are to have any chance of making the Amlin Challenge Cup’s knockout stages.

The French side romped into a 10-0 lead early on thanks to a try from South African wing Rudi Coetzee and a conversion and a penalty from fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo, who went on to finish the match with 13 points to his name.

By half-time, wing David Janin had added Bourgoin’s second try to send them in 23-6 ahead with Benjamin Boyet adding two second-half penalties to seal their victory.

Leeds, though, made a better first of the second half, notching a try from replacement back-rower Alfie To’oala which was converted by Jason Strange, who also added two penalty kicks to his two first-half efforts.

T: Coetzee, Janin
C: Di Bernardo 2
P: Di Bernardo 3, Boyet 2

Leeds Carnegie
T: To’oala
C: Strange
P: Strange 4 top


ARCUL DE TRIUMF 10th October 2009

Attendance: 1,000

BUCURESTI Oaks gave Romanian rugby a massive boost with a 21-9 home win over Rugby Parma in the battle of the Pool 1 minnows to grab a share of the Pool 1 lead.

The Romanians notched tries from outside centre Csaba Gal Minya and lock Cosmin Ratiu on their way to a victory which saw them survive the loss of scrum-half to the sin bin in the second half.

Full-back Florian Vlaicu kicked a conversion and two penalties and centre Ionut Dimofte chipped in with a drop-goal to see off Parma, who replied with three penalties from skipper Barry Irving.

Bucuresti Oaks
T: Gal Minya, Ratiu
C: Vlaicu
P: Vlaicu 2
DG: Dimofte

Rugby Parma
P: Irving 3 top



SIXWAYS 8th October 2009
Attendance: 7,264

MONTPELLIER, who had not won away from home in any competition for over a year, stunned an expectant Sixways crowd into near silence with a well-deserved win over beaten 2007/8 finalists Worcester Warriors to grab second place in Pool 2.

Despite seeing lock Michel McCurdy spend 10 first-half minutes in the sin bin, Montpellier led 15-10 at the interval after full-back Jacques Schutte clipped over the opening penalty and Federico Todeschini added four more.

Skipper Pat Sanderson’s try, converted by Willie Walker on the stroke of half-time kept the Warriors alive, but Montpellier whipped the game out of their reach when wing Florian Nicot picked off a converted interception try on the hour, leaving replacement scrum-half Ryan Powell’s late touchdown as scant consolation for the home side.

Worcester Warriors
T: Sanderson, Powell
C: Walker 2
P: Walker

T: Nicot
C: Tomas
P: Schutte, Todeschini 4top


THE SPORTSGROUND – 10th October 2009

Attendance: 875

CONNACHT grabbed pole position in Pool 1, courtesy of a thumping, bonus-point 46-6 home win over tournament debutants Olympus Rugby XV Madrid at Galway’s Sports Ground.

The Spanish side’s fly-half kicked two penalties, but Connacht ran in eight tries with wing Fionn Carr (2), lock Michael Swift (2), Tiernan O’Halloran, Niva Ta’auso, Adrian Flavin and Mike McCarthy all crossing the Madrid line.

T: Carr 2, Swift 2, O’Halloran, Ta’auso, Flavin, McCarthy
C: Nicora, Keatley 2

Olympique XV Madrid
P: Palumbo 2





Attendance: 10,000

TOULON, won the all-French Pool 3 battle at Castres with England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson among a handful of star names given the weekend off by Toulon boss Philippe Saint-Andre.

Full-back Luke Rooney ran in two of Toulon’s three tries with the other coming from Australian scrum-half Matt Henjak. Stand-in fly-half Lionel Fauque kicked three conversions, a penalty and a drop-goal with Tom May clipping over another drop-goal.

Castres, who led 14-11 at the break, mustered first-half tries from fly-half Cameron McIntyre and number eight Joe Tekori, a McIntyre conversion and a Romain Teulet penalty in reply.

T: McIntyre, Tekori
C: McIntyre
P: Teulet

T: Rooney 2, Henjak
C: Fauque 3
P: Fauque
DG: Fauque, May top


VICARAGE ROAD 11th October 2009

Attendance: 5,678

GUINNESS Premiership table-toppers Saracens were able to field a second-string side and still cruise into pole position in Pool 3 with an easy 36-12 home win over Italian visitors Rugby Rovigo at Vicarage Road.

Tries from Michael Horak, Rodd Penney, Kevin Sorrell and Don Barrell earned Sarries their four-try bonus-point with three penalties and a conversion from fly-half Jake Sharp and a late two-pointer from replacement Derrick Hougaard rounding off the home side’s points tally.

Rovigo fly-half German Bustos kicked four penalties.

T: Horak, Penney, Sorrell, Barrell
C: Sharp, Hougaard
P: Sharp 3

Rugby Rovigo
P: Bustos 4top



STADE JEAN DAUGER – 9th October 2009

Attendance: 6,000

TOP 14 strugglers Bayonne, three points adrift at the bottom of the French league, grabbed pole position in the pool with a nine-try, 61-3 demolition job on hapless Rugby Roma.

Full-back Jean-Baptiste Peyras, centre Vincent Inigo and wing Clement Lagain grabbed touchdown doubles with scrum-half Manny Edmonds, and back-rowers Guillaume Bernad and Julien Pericelli scoring a try apiece in a contest which was one-way traffic from start to finish.

Stand-off Max Freschi kicked Roma’s lone penalty.

T: Peyras 2, Inigo 2, Lagain 2, Edmonds, Bernad, Pericelli
C: Edmonds 6, Bernard 2

Rugby Roma
P: Freschitop


ADAMS PARK 11th October 2009

Attendance: 7,841

TWO-TIME Heineken Cup champions London Wasps got their Pool 4 qualifying campaign off to a winning start at the expense of big-spending Parisians Racing Metro at Adams Park.

A modest crowd saw Wasps rejuvenated fly-half Dave Walder grab all of the home side’s points with six penalties, three of them in a first half which ended with the home side trailing 10-9.

A try from blind-side Ashley Clarke, converted by fly-half Jonathan Wisniewski and a penalty from Springbok centre Francois Steyn gave Racing the interval edge, but they lost impetus when Steyn suffered an injury and Walder outkicked Wisniewski three penalties to one in the second half to give Wasps an 18-13 win.

London Wasps
P: Walder 6

Racing Metro
T: Clarke
C: Wisniewski
P: Steyn, Wisniewski


MAISON DES SPORTS 9th October 2009

Attendance: 6,000

IN the all-French Pool 5 dust-up in the Maison des Sports, Albi went down to a 17-7 home defeat by Montauban, who top the pool on points difference after turning an 11-7 half-time lead into a potentially important away win.

Anthony Poujol notched Albi’s lone try in the first half with fly-half Blair Stewart converting, but a try from hooker and two penalties apiece from Johan Dalla Riva and Mathieu Belie saw Montauban home.

T: Poujol
C: Stewart

T: Lozupone
P: Della Riva 2, Belie 2  top


STADIO PLEBISCITO 10th October 2009

Attendance: Not recorded

NEWCASTLE Falcons had scrum-half Mickey Young to thank for their tight 29-27  away win over stubborn Petrarca Padova in the Stadio Plebiscito – an away win which got Steve Bates’ side off to a valuable victory.

Young nipped over in the 67th minute to notch an unconverted try, the Falcons’ fourth touchdown, whipping victory away from the Italian side, who mustered three tries themselves in an entertaining contest.

Warren Spragg, Alessandro Chillon and Stefano Ambrosio, who also notched a conversion, grabbed tries for the Italians with former Gloucester and France fly-half Ludovic Mercier kicking two conversions, a penalty and a drop-goal in what looked like being a shock home win.

But Young’s late intervention sealed a Falcons win set up by tries from Ed Williamson, Laurence Ovens and Danny Williams with fly-half Rob Miller kicking a conversion n and penalty before he handed over to Jimmy Gopperth, who added two second-half conversions.

Newcastle Falcons
T: Williamson, Ovens, Williams, Young
C: Miller, Gopperth 2
P: Miller

Petrarca Padova
T: Spragg, Chillon, Ambrosio
C: Ambrosio, Mercier 2
P: Ambrosio, Mercier
DG: Mercier