Anglo-Welsh Cup: Stories from round three

After several weeks of fascinating action in both the Aviva Premiership and European competitions, the Anglo-Welsh Cup returned this weekend with no shortage of drama.

Round three gave plenty of opportunities to future stars looking to make a name for themselves, as well as some more established professionals looking to lead their teams.

Here’s our round-up of all the action.

Gloucester comeback downs Ospreys

With the Anglo-Welsh Cup final at Kingsholm this year, Gloucester will be desperate to go all the way and that reflected in their strong performance against the Ospreys.

The Cherry and Whites dotted down seven times with young winger Ollie Thorley impressing as he crossed the whitewash in the second half.

Mark Atkinson, Richard Hibbard, Callum Braley, Henry Trinder, Ben Morgan and Matt Scott also helped themselves to scores in a try-fest at Kingsholm.

Ospreys fielded an inexperienced side which had been three points ahead until the 50th minute when the English outfit showed their quality and ultimately cruised to victory.

Five-star Worcester beat Chiefs

A Josh Adams double helped Worcester Warriors to a five-try win over Exeter Chiefs and their first Anglo-Welsh Cup win of the season.

Exeter started brightly and went two tries up through Tom Lawday and Harry Strong, but soon found themselves fighting a comeback from Worcester that saw Adams and David Denton touch down before half-time.

In a pendulum-swinging match Tom Howe then put the Warriors ahead before Shaun Malton’s try and Joe Simmonds’ conversion reclaimed the lead for the Chiefs.

But Adams then completed his double and Luke Baldwin went over at the death to seal the win and inflict a first defeat for Exeter in this season’s competition.

Exiles hit top gear

After two positive European results London Irish were keen to keep the winning feeling and they did just that with a 66-7 triumph over Wasps

Joe Cokanasiga was the star of the show at the Madejski Stadium as he ran in three of Irish’s 10 tries in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

In-form winger Alex Lewington kicked off the try-fest with an excellent dot down before Scott Steele, Cokanasiga, Ollie Hoskins and James Marshall all did the same before half-time.

Scores from Saia Fainga’a, debutant Piet van Zyl, Asaeli Tikoirotuma and two more tries from Cokanasiga in the final 10 minutes means Irish chalk up their first victory in the competition.

Saracens display bright future

Saracens may have fielded a young and inexperienced side against the Dragons but they produced an accomplished display at Allianz Park to win 40-21.

Harrison Reedie put the Welsh side ahead but Saracens hit back with three quick-fire tries before the break through Mark Flanagan, Nick Tompkins and Rotimi Segun.

Matt Gallagher secured the bonus point after the break before Sean Refell and Tom Whiteley added further scores.

Lloyd Fairbrother grabbed two consolation tries for the Dragons, but they were unable to live with Saracens sparkling backs.

Lewis shines for Quins

Dave Lewis scored one try and played a big hand in two more as Harlequins moved to within touching distance of the Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-finals with a 35-7 win over the Scarlets.

The former Exeter scrum-half was influential throughout, with he and Henry Cheeseman crossing before half-time.

Archie White and James Lang then went over in the second half to wrap up the bonus point, with the latter finishing the day with five conversions as well to make it 15 points in total.

While the Scarlets responded with a try from Bryce Morgan, Ross Chisholm’s score at the death sealed the comfortable win and left Quins needing just a point from next week’s trip to Northampton to reach the last four.

Saints edge thriller

Northampton Saints’ patience was rewarded as they clinched a crucial last-gasp triumph at Sale Sharks to keep their quest to qualify for the semi-finals in rude health.

Nafi Tuitavake was the visitors’ hero as he burst over the line in time added on to seal a 24-20 win at the AJ Bell Stadium, the centre dotting down after the Saints had kept their cool in the final throes of the game.

Earlier, Ken Pisi and Ben Nutley had gone over to cancel out a first-half try from England U20s Sam Moore.

However, scores from Luke James and Marc Jones had turned the game on its head, only for Northampton to claim victory at the death.

Burns makes it a night to remember for Bath

Freddie Burns put in a man-of-the-match performance with his boot as Bath beat Newcastle 21-8 to top Anglo-Welsh Cup Pool One.

After a scoreless first half, Paul Grant, Nathan Charles and Jack Wilson all went over for tries with Burns kicking three conversions to give the home side victory at the Rec.

Burns also punished the Newcastle defence with a pinpoint cross-field kick that found Wilson to score the third try and put the result beyond doubt.

Tigers boost defence

Will Evans, England U20s Jordan Olowofela and Luke Hamilton all crossed for tries as Leicester Tigers got back to winning ways with an Anglo-Welsh Cup victory over Cardiff Blues.

The Tigers have now won two and lost one of their first three games in defence of the crown they won last year and are still in contention for the semi-finals heading into round four next week.

Matt O’Connor’s men stormed into a 17-0 lead at the break but the second half was a tighter affair as the Blues fought back.

Jack Roberts scored against his former club for the Welsh province, but Hamilton’s late score put the game to bed.