European round-up: Sarries and Tigers lead the way

  • Toulon beat Wasps with last minute try
  • Northampton steal victory over Glasgow

European Champions Cup

The fifth round of European rugby had two winning tries in the dying moments, scintillating passages of play and stunning performances from England squad members. Saracens, Leicester and Racing have now guaranteed their spots in the quarter-finals of the competition. Here's what we made of the weekend's action. 

Northampton Saints 19 Glasgow Warriors 15 

The boss’s son, Harry Mallinder, scored the winning try with two minutes left on the clock to leave Saints second in Pool 3 with a game to play. The 19-year-old poached a try from Stephen Myler’s cross field kick late on. It was a tight game with fierce battles for territory and possession with Northampton’s first two tries coming directly from set pieces. This intense fixture tees up a dramatic final weekend in Pool 3 with both teams fighting for second place.

Toulon 15 Wasps 11 

Wasps were left heart-broken by a last minute Drew Mitchell try to stop them becoming the first team to beat Toulon at home in Champions Cup history. Quade Cooper finished off Toulon’s first try after 12 minutes following a devastating counter attack from 70 metres out. The visitors kept themselves within one score of the French giants throughout the match via Jimmy Goperth’s boot until Elliot Daley’s run freed up space for Guy Thompson to power over the line with 10 minutes to play. However Daley’s departure due to injury after 75 minutes led to Mitchell’s try straight through the 13 channel. Wasps will play Leinster next weekend as they chase qualification from Pool 5.

Bordeaux-Begles 34 Exeter Chiefs 27

Exeter were entertained by Bordeaux on a sunny day in the south of France in a thrilling end-to-end game bursting with pace and excitement. Adam Ashley-Cooper opened the try scoring in the first quarter but stunning play in the outside channels kept the visitors within touching distance throughout the match. Olly Woodburn and Max Bodily combined in the second half out wide to score the try of the match from 70 meters out but Bordeaux’s replacement forward Marco Tauleigne dealt the killer blow with 10 minutes left. The Chiefs now sit third in Pool 2 behind Clermont Auvergne and Ospreys.

Saracens 33 Ulster Rugby 17

Saracens sailed through on top of Pool 1 to bag a home quarter-final after another dominant performance. Despite Ulster’s beautifully worked try inside the first five minutes, the home side cranked up the intensity and executed four unanswered tries highlighted by a delightful piece of individual skill by Owen Farrell to set up Duncan Taylor for their second try. Sarries’ forwards, at times, bullied the Ulster pack around set pieces and Billy Vunipola bulldozed his way over the try line to score his second try in the competition this season. 


Leinster 25 Bath Rugby 11

Bath were knocked out of the competition by Leinster on a cold evening at The Rec. Despite three academy players featuring in Leinster’s tight five, the visitors were able to control the tempo of play and keep a narrow game of rugby. Jonathan Joseph created the biggest spark for Bath with a beautifully weighted kick but Leroy Houston failed to ground the ball before a Leinster hand intervened. The match only saw one try from each side but Ian Madigan capitalised on Bath’s poor discipline with six penalty kicks. Bath will face Toulon at home in their final match of the tournament.

Leicester Tigers 47 Treviso 7

Manu Tuilagi made an instant impact in his first start back for Leicester with an assist inside the first two minutes to set up Michael Fitzgerald for the first of Tigers’ seven tries. It was a strong performance from all 15 players for the home side and Ben Youngs dotted down in the corner to score the try of the match thanks to some tricky footwork and blistering pace. Leicester will travel to Paris to face Stade Francis in round six next weekend, they are already nine points clear of the French side.

European Challenge Cup

Harlequins 34 Cardiff Blues 26

Enisei-STM 24 Newcastle 7

Gloucester Rugby 20 La Rochelle 10

London Irish 18 Grenoble 28

Pau 3 Sale Sharks 27