Heineken Cup: Week 5 Review


Ospreys 44-17 Treviso

Ospreys clung onto their Heineken Cup existence after they ran in six tries in a comfortable victory over Treviso at the Liberty Stadium

Tommy Bowe's early interception try put the hosts in front before Ospreys' Daniel Biggar and Treviso's Kristopher Burton traded penalties. The Italian side then pulled themselves level when scrum-half Edoardo Gori crossed but Ospreys quickly bounced back and two tries from centre Ashley Beck, added to another penalty from Biggar, sent the Welshmen into a 25-10 half-time lead.

The home side extended the advantage early in the second half through a penalty try but Treviso wouldn't go away and Gonzalo Padro then grabbed their second try of the evening. That was as good as it got for the visitors and Ospreys sealed their impressive win with another penalty try and a converted score from Kahn Fotuali'i.

The Welsh outfit need to secure a bonus-point victory away to Biarritz next weekend and hope other results go in their favour if they are to qualify for the knockout stages.


Racing Metro 92 24-27 Edinburgh

Edinburgh are in with a shout of qualification from Pool 2 after a last-gasp win over Racing Metro 92 in Paris on Friday night.

Ross Rennie's score put the visitors ahead after 15 minutes but Racing were quick to respond and Francois Steyn's try brought them back level. Edinburgh were putting in a superb performance and when Netani Talei notched their second try of the evening, the away side had a 14-7 advantage at the interval.

Three minutes into the second half and the hosts were back on terms when full-back Juan Imhoff went over but the Scottish outfit weren't going to roll over easily and retook the lead when Dave Denton crossed for their third score of the night.

In what was becoming a gripping encounter, Racing got back level again when Antoine Battut touched down in the corner, leaving the game tied at 21-21. Penalties from Racing's Jonathan Wisniewski and Edinburgh's Greig Laidlaw had look set to secure two points for both sides but with the final kick of the game, Phil Godman slotted a wonderful drop-goal to make sure Edinburgh's dream run in the Heineken Cup goes on.


Ulster 41-7 Leicester

A thumping win over Leicester Tigers at Ravenhill on Friday night ensured that Ulster put one foot into the Heineken Cup quarter-finals.

The hosts raced into a 10-0 lead through a well-taken score from Andrew Trimble and a Ruan Pienaar penalty but Geordan Murphy's converted try soon after put Leicester straight back into the match. Ulster produced the same combination, a Trimble try and a Pienaar penalty, just before half-time which meant they went into the break leading 18-7.

The second half was a non-contest as a stunning performance from the home side was too much for the Tigers to handle. Three penalties from the reliable boot of Pienaar put Ulster 27-7 ahead and at that stage, the win looked confirmed even before the gloss was put on the result.

Craig Gilroy and Paul Marshall both went over in the final ten minutes to ensure that Ulster took a well-deserved bonus-point before they travel to Clermont Auvergne next weekend to decide who finishes top of Pool 4.


Aironi 0-82 Clermont Auvergne

Clermont Auvergne produced a twelve-try demolition of Pool 4 whipping boys Aironi as they kept alive their hopes of qualification from the group stage.

In what was a truly-one sided contest in Italy, Clermont were 47-0 to the good at half-time. Sitiveni Sivivatu went over twice early on before tries from Lee Byrne and Alex Lapandry sealed the bonus point after just 25 minutes. Scores from Julien Malzieu, Brock James and a second for Byrne ensured the scoreline was embarrassing even at the interval.

It was to get worse for the hosts in the second half as both Sivivatu and Malzieu completed their hat-trick of tries, Lapandry went over for his second score and Elvis Vermeulen completed the rout when he touched down.

A terrible way for Aironi to round off their home campaign in the Heineken Cup but Clermont will host Ulster next weekend as they look to top the pool and qualify for the knockout stages.


Harlequins 20-14 Gloucester

Harlequins are still in with a chance of making the Heineken Cup quarter-finals after they came from behind to beat Gloucester at the Stoop.

Nick Evans and Freddie Burns exchanged penalties in the opening stages of the game before Matt Hopper dived over for the game's first try and put Quins 10-3 ahead. But Burns came back to slot another penalty and when James Simpson-Daniel crossed later in the half, Gloucester were 11-10 in front.

Evans and Burns swapped penalties again early in the second half as the Cherry and Whites maintained their lead but with just six minutes left on the clock, Quins full-back Mike Brown cut through the visitors' defence and touched down to seal a massive victory for the London side who must beat Connacht next week to be in with a shout of qualification.


London Irish 15-22 Cardiff Blues

Cardiff Blues took a vital away victory from London Irish as they now look favourites to finish top of Pool 2.

Leigh Halfpenny's early penalty put the Blues ahead but that was quickly cancelled out by Irish's Adrian Jarvis, who then kicked two more successful efforts at goal to put the home side 9-3 ahead. Halfpenny did reduce the gap to three points on the stroke of half-time with his second penalty of the afternoon.

The visitors then went ahead shortly after the interval when Sam Warburton dived over after good work from Casey Laulala before two penalties apiece from Halfpenny and Jarvis meant that the Welsh side led 19-15 going into the final quarter of the game.

It was the visitors who finished the match stronger and Halfpenny's fifth penalty of the afternoon with just two minutes remaining meant that it was Cardiff who took the points and pole position in the group going into the final round of matches.


Montpellier 24-22 Bath

A try in the final minute allowed Montpellier to take victory against Bath and ensure the West Country side sit bottom of Pool 3.

The hosts took an early lead through a converted Pierre Berard score but Bath quickly got themselves onto the scoreboard with a penalty from Olly Barkley. On the stroke of half-time and with Montpellier down to 14 men, Ryan Caldwell went over to score and give Bath a 10-7 advantage at the interval.

A penalty from Benoit Paillaugue pulled the French side level but Bath soon retook the lead when Caldwell dotted down for his second score of the afternoon. The game was swinging one way and then the other and Montpellier levelled the scores once more when Alex Tulou crossed the whitewash, only for the visitors to go back in front when Matt Banahan went over.

As Bath thought they were going to record an impressive victory, Timoci Nagusa dived under the posts with the last play of the game, leaving Martin Bustos Moyana to slot a simple conversion which gave the hosts the win.


Munster 26-10 Castres

Munster became the first side to qualify for the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup as they saw off Castres in a bruising encounter at Thomond Park.

The Irish side established a 10-0 lead through a converted Johne Murphy score and a penalty from the evergreen Ronan O'Gara but Castres soon hit back with a converted score from flanker Yannick Caballero. O'Gara was in good form once again with the boot and two more penalties from the Ireland international gave Munster a 16-7 half-time lead.

O'Gara and Pierre Bernard exchanged penalties at the start of the second half but it was Munster who killed the game off on 68 minutes when prop Wian Du Preez powered his way over and, with O'Gara's conversion, sealed qualification for Tony McGahan's side who will now go in search of a home quarter-final.


Scarlets 17-29 Northampton

Scarlets' hopes of qualification from Pool 1 were ended as they slipped to a home defeat against Northampton Saints.

The home side raced into a 9-3 lead as Rhys Priestland slotted three penalties and Stephen Myler was on target from the kicking tee for the Saints. Scarlets then extended their lead when Viliame Iongi was on the end of Priestland's cross-field kick and touched down before Myler's second penalty took the score to 14-6 at half-time.

Soane Tonga'uiha's try five minutes into the second half brought Northampton to within a point of their hosts and they soon took the lead through another penalty from the reliable boot of Myler. A penalty from Priestland briefly put Scarlets back in front but another two successful efforts at goal from Myler put Northampton ahead by five points.

In the final moments of the game, as the hosts pushed for a winning score, Ben Foden intercepted a poor pass and ran the length of the field to score and secure a superb away win for the Saints, who are still in contention for a place in the Amlin Challenge Cup.

Toulouse 24-3 Connacht

Toulouse became strong favourites to finish top of Pool 6 as they secured a bonus-point victory over a brave Connacht side in France.

Niall O'Connor put the away side into a shock lead with a penalty on 13 minutes but Toulouse quickly struck back with a try from Timoci Matanavou. The hosts were struggling to break down a resolute Connacht side but went into a 10-3 lead at half-time after Maxime Medard crossed shortly before the break.

Louis Picamoles went over for a converted score early in the second half and Matanavou's second try of the game earned Toulouse a much-needed bonus point that puts them in charge of Pool 6 ahead of their trip to Gloucester in their final match next weekend.


Glasgow 16-23 Leinster

Leinster secured their place in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals after coming through a tough encounter against Glasgow Warriors at Firhill.

The hosts turned in a brilliant performance in the first half as they restricted Leinster to just a few half-chances but couldn't find a lead at the interval. Two penalties apiece from Glasgow's Duncan Weir and one each for Leinster's Jonny Sexton and Fergus McFadden meant the two sides were level at 6-6 at half-time.

Rob Kearney grabbed a converted try for the defending champions early in the second half before Weir and McFadden traded penalties once again as the visitors led 16-9. Glasgow then managed to draw themselves level through a converted try from replacement Colin Gregor but when Isaac Boss went over for the match-winning try for Leinster, the Scottish side's Heineken Cup adventure was finally ended.


Saracens 20-16 Biarritz

Saracens moved a step closer to the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup with an edgy win over Biarritz at Vicarage Road.

Biarritz moved into a 6-3 lead early on through two penalties from Dimitri Yachvili as Saracens could only manage one successful attempt at goal from Owen Farrell. The home side took the lead when scrum-half Ben Spencer scored a magnificent try and when Farrell slotted another two penalties, Saracens had a 14-6 half-time advantage.

Yachvili was proving to be the thorn in Saracens' side and he converted his own try to bring Biarritz back to within a point of their hosts. Farrell and Yachvili then swapped penalties once more but when the former knocked over his fifth successful effort of the game, Saracens had sealed a vital 20-16 victory and now know that a win against Treviso next weekend will seal their place in the quarter-finals.