Connacht claim Challenge Cup quarter-final spot after Worcester draw


Connacht booked their place in the quarter-finals of the European Rugby Challenge Cup after a 24-24 draw with Worcester.

A second-half fightback helped the visitors preserve their unbeaten run in Pool Five after the draw against the Aviva Premiership side at Sixways.

Connacht did lose their 100 per cent record but they still hold a six-point advantage over the Warriors.

Photo: Sportsfile/Malcolm Couzens

Tries from Perry Humphreys and Sam Lewis and a conversion from Chris Pennell saw Worcester race into a 12-0 lead just four minutes into the game.

Connacht responded with tries from John Muldoon and Niyi Adeolokun, while further scores from Humphreys and Josh Adams sent the Warriors into the break 24-14 up.

But the Guinness PRO14 side secured a share of the spoils with a second-half try from Tiernan O'Halloran and a penalty and conversion from Craig Ronaldson.

Brive moved to within three points of Worcester following a 29-19 bonus-point triumph over Top 14 rivals Oyonnax at the Stade Charles Mathon.

Alfi Mafi, Felix Le Bourhis, Seremaia Burotu and Benito Masilevu all crossed for the visitors, with Nicolas Bezy converting three of the scores and adding a penalty.

Julien Andy kicked four penalties for the hosts, whose try came from replacement back Jose Lima in the closing stages.

Theo Brophy-Clews ran in four tries to lead London Irish to a 47-17 Pool Four victory over Krasny Yar at the Madejski Stadium.

Giorgi Pruidze crossed for a try and Lasha Malaghuradze converted and added a penalty to give the visitors a 10-7 half-time advantage, Ben Loader scoring a try in response for the Exiles.

But after the break it was a different story as Brophy-Clews scored his tries and replacements Lovejoy Chawatama and Joe Cokanasiga also went over, with Jacob Atkins slotting over four conversions and Thomas Bell another to add to one in the first half.

Andrei Ostrikov and Josh Beaumont went over to help Sale to a narrow 15-13 Pool Two win over Lyon - a result which saw the Sharks leapfrog Lyon into second place in the group.

The Pau v Zebre clash went to form in Pool Three, with leaders Pau beating the bottom team 42-14.

Jale Vatubua, Laurent Bouchet, Masalosalo Tutaia, Peter Saili and Frank Halai all crossed for the hosts. Clovis Lebail converted all of them and the scoring was completed by a penalty try.

Giovanni Locata crossed twice for the Italian side. with Guglielmo Palazzani converting both scores.

Pau, who moved back above Gloucester with the win, have also qualified for last eight as they - like the English side - are guaranteed to be one of the three best second-placed teams at least.

In Pool One, Newport Gwent Dragons are now five points behind second-placed Bordeaux-Begles after losing 36-28 away to the French outfit.

The Dragons led 23-15 in the 52nd minute when Sarel Pretorius crossed, adding to James Benjamin's first-half try, and Dorian Jones converted.

But the hosts were strong thereafter as Fa'asiu Fuatai went over and Geoffrey Cros claimed a brace with Matthieu Jalibert converting each time. Jalibert and Blair Connor had earlier crossed for Bordeaux-Begles.

Carl Meyer scored a late try for the visitors, with Jones missing his subsequent kick.

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