Robbie Henshaw handed Ireland an RBS 6 Nations fitness boost as Connacht thrashed Enisei-STM 47-5 to qualify for the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals.
Fit-again centre Henshaw claimed one of Connacht’s eight tries as Pat Lam’s side made the last-eight courtesy of their bonus-point victory – but also Newcastle Falcons’ 27-23 win over Brive.
Battering-ram midfielder Henshaw had not featured since suffering a broken hand in November, but his timely return will boost Ireland boss Joe Schmidt’s Six Nations resources.
Matt Healy crossed twice, with Henshaw, Tiernan O’Halloran, Denis Buckley, Danie Poolman, Tom McCartney and Caolin Blade also on the scoresheet.
Vitalii Orlov claimed the Siberian visitors’ solitary score, with Jurijs Baranovs’ 14th-minute yellow card sparking Connacht’s victory march.
Simon Hammersley’s late second try secured Newcastle’s slender win over Brive, but was not enough to send the Falcons into the knock-out stages.
Instead Dean Richards’ side stopped Brive progressing, in a stubborn performance at Kingston Park.
Hammersley’s two tries bookended a gritty Newcastle showing, his second score securing the spoils but his third-minute opener helping the Falcons onto the front foot from the off.
Tries from Alex Tait and Micky Young had Newcastle 23-3 to the good at the break, Craig Willis slotting a penalty and two conversions.
Thomas Laranjeira’s penalty proved Brive’s only score of the half, but the Frenchmen hurtled back into the contest after the break.
Nicolas Bezy and Poutasi Luafutu both crossed for Brive in the second half, with Laranjeira converting both and adding two penalties.
Brive’s resistance forced Newcastle to raise the level again, only for Hammersley to provide the match-winning riposte.