Overall last weekend was hugely positive for English clubs in the revamped European Champions Cup, with four of six teams reaching the quarter-finals. A tense weekend has set up some interesting clashes in the last eight, shaped by a tense final round of fixtures in what's been a hugely entertaining, unpredictable pool stage.
Wasps 20 – 20 Leinster
Andy Goode skewed a drop goal wide late on, but Wasps still managed to qualify ahead of Harlequins by virtue of head to head results.
In hindsight Wasps may rue not making more of an effort to point out that Leinster players were offside at the time of the drop goal attempt, as the draw sets up a quarter-final tie away from home with defending European champions Toulon.
Dai Young's side have done miraculously well to come back from losing their first two games, forcing their way in the knockout stages by the finest of margins.
Montpellier 27 – 26 Toulouse
Toulouse surprisingly lost to Montpellier, which opened up proceedings and would have been welcome news to every English team in with a chance of progression. Squandering a 20-9 lead to lose 27-26, they now surprisingly drop out of the Champions Cup leaving Bath to top the group and Glasgow to go through in second place.
Bath 20 – 15 Glasgow Warriors
Glasgow took an early lead, and had the better of opportunities, but failed to capitalise allowing Bath to feel their way back into the game using their forwards to the fullest extent. Scoring two penalty tries showed the clear dominance of the Bath forward pack.
The Scots did have the better chances but Bath were strong and well organised in defence. Bath were disrupted early on due to Kyle Eastmond's shoulder injury, but they have since said the move was just precautionary.
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Northampton 8 – 32 Racing Metro 92
Northampton where humiliated at home against a strong Racing side who pinned Saints into their own half. Racing controlled territory well and had possession for most of the game.
Although George North made attempts to drag Northampton back into the tie, Metro maintained their early grip on the game to top the group. The meta-game between Jaime Roberts and Luther Burrell may be a timely warning ahead of the Six Nations opener, as the Welshman ran riot over Northampton's midfield.
There were renewed questions of Dylan Hartley’s discipline as he was sin binned for tackling a man on the floor, and Tom Wood twisted his ankle during the match to add to English injury worries.
Clermont Auvergne 18 – 6 Saracens
A poor showing from Saracens at Stade Marcel Michelin as they felt apart like the ground they played on, in an underwhelming match dominated by territorial kicking. Although a Clermont Auvergne’s yellow card helped open up proceedings - during the ensuing sin binning the French side conceded a penalty - a Saracens yellow card allowed Clermont to score a second try and end the tie.
Fly half Owen Farrell picked up a injury twisting his knee in the tackle and limped off the pitch.
Munster 65 – 10 Sale Sharks
Simon Zebo and Andrew Conway put in superb displays over a youthful Sale. There was little at stake, as both sides were out of the running for pool one. The dominant display does restore some pride for the Irish province after scoring eight second half tries between the 65th and 80th minutes.
Castres 19 – 47 Harlequins
Harlequins bonus point win was immaterial as they miss out on the quarters due to Wasps better head to head record.
Although they ran in seven tries to fulfil the directive of scoring 28 points or more which would have left Saracens needing more than a losing bonus point, their earlier poor showing at Wasp's cost them a position in the quarters. Ill discipline cost Castres throughout with a yellow either side of halftime that allowed Harlequins to kill of the contest.
Ulster 26 – 7 Leicester Tigers
Both sides showed their attacking intent early on, but Ulster took the first score. In an attempt to take the initiative Leicester threw everything at their Irish hosts but left themselves open to a counter and trailed at half time 12-0. Ulster scored a further try to earn the bonus point, but Leicester left it too late to make a comeback. Geoff Parling will miss the start of the six nations after suffering a medial cruciate ligament injury early in the game.
Clermont Auvergne Vs. Northampton
Saints Racing Metro Vs. Saracens
Toulon Vs. Wasps
Leinster Vs. Bath
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