Heineken Cup: Week 3 Review


Cardiff Blues 25-8 Edinburgh

Dan Parks scored 20 points as Cardiff Blues hit the top of Pool 2 after a comfortable home win over Edinburgh in the Welsh capital.

The first half was a quiet affair as the hosts went to the half-time break leading by 6 points to 3; a drop-goal and a penalty from Dan Parks for Cardiff either side of a Greig Laidlaw penalty for the visitors.

Parks added two more penalties early in the second half to put the Welsh side 12-3 in front before an unconverted try from Edinburgh winger Lee Jones brought the visitors back into the contest.

Another drop-goal and penalty combination from Parks extended the lead back out to ten points before a late converted score from Alex Cuthbert sealed the deal for the home side.


Harlequins 10-21 Toulouse

Toulouse ended Harlequins' 14-match unbeaten run in all competitions with a confident and assured victory at the Stoop on Friday night.

Quins' Nick Evans and Toulouse's Luke McAlister swapped penalties before the visitors' winger Timoci Matanavou went over in the left corner for an unconverted score. McAlister then added another penalty to give the French side an 11-3 lead at half-time.

The hosts made the perfect start to the second period as a converted score from full-back Mike Brown brought them back to within a point of the former champions. But another penalty from the influential McAlister extended the lead before the Fijian Matanavou scored again in the corner to confirm a huge away victory for Toulouse.


Ulster 31-10 Aironi

Ulster managed to keep their Heineken Cup dream alive with a bonus-point victory over Aironi at Ravenhill.

Flanker Stephen Ferris opened the scoring for the hosts with a converted score before the visitors got themselves onto the scoreboard through a penalty from Tito Tebaldi.

Aironi full-back Giulio Toniolatti was then yellow-carded and Ulster took advantage with two tries either side of half-time; Adam D'Arcy and Andrew Trimble both grabbing unconverted scores.

The Irishmen then secured the win and the bonus-point they needed with two converted tries from Paul Marshall and Paddy Jackson before replacement Tommaso D'Apice gave Aironi a consolation score with two minutes remaining.


Castres 41-22 Northampton

Castres ended Northampton's Heineken Cup adventure and kept their qualification hopes alive after a bonus-point victory in France.

An early converted try from Steve Malonga put the hosts in front before Saints second-row Mark Sorenson pulled his side level with a score of his own. Romain Teulet then put Castres back into the lead with two penalties before visiting winger Jamie Elliott scored to close the gap to just one point.

Another penalty from Teulet extended the lead and whilst Northampton fly-half Stephen Myler was in the sin-bin, Castres winger Romain Martial grabbed a converted try to send the hosts into the half-time break leading 23-12.

Elliott then scored his second try of the afternoon to put Northampton back within six points but Teulet was in good form with the boot as he struck his fourth penalty. The visitors then scored their bonus-point try when flanker Samu Manoa powered over before Northampton suffered another blow when Tom Wood became their second man to be yellow-carded.

Teulet scored his fifth penalty of the game before two more tries for the home side, from Martial and Ibrahim Diarra, ensured that the French side took a bonus point and a hugely significant win.


Connacht 10-14 Gloucester

Gloucester took their first win of this season's Heineken Cup with a tight victory over Connacht at the Galway Sportsground.

Freddie Burns struck two penalties for the visitors before James Simpson-Daniel capitalised on a disappointing line-out from the hosts to extend Gloucester's lead to 11-0. The Irish side fought back well before half-time and full-back Gavin Duffy scored a converted try his team within just four points of Gloucester at the interval.

A penalty from Connacht's Niall O'Connor reduced the gap to one point on 43 minutes and the hosts began to put an increasing amount of pressure onto the Cherry and Whites. Burns stepped up eight minutes from time though to extend the lead with a penalty and Gloucester managed to hold on for a pride-restoring success.


Racing Metro 92 14-34 London Irish

London Irish turned around a half-time deficit to secure an impressive bonus-point win against Racing Metro 92 in Paris.

A Delon Armitage penalty for Irish was sandwiched between two successful kicks for Racing's Gaeton Germain before a try from Sereli Bobo and a drop-goal from Jonathan Wisniewski put the home side into a commanding 14-3 lead. The visitors responded well with a converted try from Jonathan Spratt closing the gap to just four points at half-time.

A penalty from replacement Adrian Jarvis brought Irish to within one point before a stunning second-half performance gave them the victory. Three tries for the visitors, one from Joe Ansbro and a brace from Adam Thompstone, gave Irish the win and more importantly, the bonus-point they required to keep their qualification hopes intact.


Saracens 31-26 Ospreys

Saracens moved to the top of Pool 5 with a thrilling win over Ospreys at Wembley Stadium, although the Welsh side took an important bonus point.

An early score from Rhys Gill put Saracens ahead before the hosts' Owen Farrell and Ospreys' Dan Biggar swapped penalties. The visitors briefly levelled with a converted score from Ashley Beck but Ernst Joubert swiftly put Sarries back in front with a converted try of his own. Biggar and Farrell then kicked a penalty each before the latter's third successful kick put the home side 23-13 up at the break.

Biggar reduced the gap with his third penalty but Saracens quickly grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck with an unconverted score from Chris Wyles. Farrell was then sin-binned for a dangerous tackle and the Ospreys took advantage as Beck scored his second converted try of the game.

The game then ended with its' recurring theme as both Farrell and Biggar struck their fourth penalties of the afternoon, the latter's kick handing the Ospreys an important bonus-point in defeat.


Scarlets 14-17 Munster

Munster now head Pool 1 following a close but important away victory at Scarlets on Saturday.

The hosts rushed into an early 8-0 lead through a try from Aaron Shingler and a penalty from Rhys Priestland but Munster levelled matters with a penalty from Ronan O'Gara and a Niall Ronan score in the right-hand corner. O'Gara then edged his side into a half-time lead with his second penalty shortly before the interval.

Another penalty from Priestland early in the second half restored parity for the Welsh side before two more successful kicks from O'Gara put Munster into a 17-11 lead heading into the last quarter of the game. Replacement Stephen Jones struck a penalty to ensure that Scarlets would take at least a bonus point but they couldn't find another score which would have given them victory.


Treviso 30-26 Biarritz

Treviso damaged Biarritz's qualification hopes with a stunning victory over the French side in Italy.

The hosts made a rapid start and raced into a 14-0 lead through converted tries from Michele Rizzo and Robert Barbieri before Biarritz got themselves on the board with a score from Pelu Taele-Pvihi. The two sides then exchanged converted tries, Cornelius van Zyl for the Italians and Marcelo Bosch for the French side, before a penalty from Treviso's Chris Burton gave the hosts a 24-12 half-time lead.

Another Burton penalty extended the lead early in the second half but the visitors hit back with converted scores from Damien Traille and Yann Lesgourgues, bringing Biarritz back to within one point of their hosts. But a final penalty from Burton secured a fantastic win for the Italian side and dented Biarritz's hopes of progressing from the group stage.


Bath 13-18 Leinster

Jonathan Sexton scored all of Leinster's points as they went to the top of Pool 3 with a close win at Bath on Sunday.

The English outfit had the better of the opening period and two penalties from Olly Barkley put them into a 6-0 lead but Sexton struck a penalty of his own on the stroke of half-time to reduce the deficit.

Three more penalties from the influential Irishman put Leinster in front by 12 points to 6 but Bath soon retook the lead through a converted score from Matt Banahan. Sexton was to have the final say as two more penalties in the last six minutes gave the defending champions an important win and put them three points clear at the top of the pool.


Clermont Auvergne 30-12 Leicester

Clermont Auvergne proved far too strong for Leicester Tigers as the French outfit powered to the top of Pool 4.

Morgan Parra put the hosts ahead with an early penalty before an unconverted score from Ben Youngs put the East Midlands side in front. Two more penalties from Parra put Clermont four points ahead before a converted try from Julien Malzieu on the stroke of half-time gave the French side a 16-5 lead at the break.

Leicester then had Manu Tuilagi and George Chuter sent to the sin-bin and with those two missing, Clermont took advantage when Wesley Fofana grabbed a converted try. Fofana then repeated the trick ten minutes later to put the French side 30-5 in front before Julien Bonnaire was yellow-carded.

Clermont then gave away a late penalty try to put the visitors into double figures but it only proved a consolation score as the hosts stormed to a comfortable victory.


Glasgow 20-15 Montpellier

Glasgow kept themselves in the Heineken Cup as they saw off Montpellier in a tight encounter at Firhill on Sunday.

Montpellier winger Pierre Berard was sin-binned early on and Glasgow soon took the lead through a penalty from Duncan Weir. Martin Bustos Moyana then levelled the game with a penalty but Weir put the hosts back into the lead with his second successful kick.

Glasgow's Jon Welsh was yellow-carded before a try from Eric Escande then put the French side ahead by two points. Weir was in impressive form with the boot and his two penalties before half-time put the Scottish side 12-10 ahead at the interval.

The hosts then effectively sealed the win with a penalty from replacement Ruaridh Jackson and a try from Federico Aramburu before a last-minute score from Montpellier's Sakiusa Matadigo ensured that the visitors took a bonus-point back to France whilst Glasgow celebrated victory.