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European Round-up: Wasps book quarter-final spot in style

Wasps booked their place in the European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-finals with a thumping 51-10 victory over Leinster.

Drawn in arguably the most difficult pool of the competition – alongside Leinster, Aviva Premiership Rugby finalists Bath Rugby and reigning European champions Toulon – Wasps faced a tough task from the outset.

However, they kicked off the pool with victories over both Leinster and Toulon and, despite two defeats along the way, finished it off in style on Saturday.

There were tries for Jimmy Gopperth, Joe Launchbury, Elliot Daly, Frank Halai, Charles Piutau and Ashley Johnson as Wasps cut loose at the Ricoh Arena to secure top spot in Pool 5.

“When the draw was made, there wasn’t too much money riding on us, but I always felt we could cause teams problems,” said director of rugby Dai Young.

“After we did well in the first two games, we were always determined to stick in there and give it our best shot, and today we were excellent.

“We thoroughly deserved our win, and backed up our performance in Dublin, when the players weren’t given any credit, so it was really nice today that the players were able to show that wasn’t a one-off.”

Elsewhere, Saracens completed a perfect six wins from six in Pool 1 with a 28-17 victory at French giants Toulouse.

Ben Spencer grabbed the visitors’ only try but it was the kicking of both Charlie Hodgson and Owen Farrell that ensured they stayed out of reach.

Northampton Saints stayed in the hunt to join both Wasps and Saracens in the last eight with a 22-10 victory at Scarlets.

Harry Mallinder opened the scoring with his second try in as many games, before George Pisi and Sam Dickinson followed suit.

George North crossed over against his former club to secure the bonus point but the Saints must hope other results go their way this afternoon to qualify.

There is no such hope for Bath Rugby, however, whose final game in Europe this season was a hard-fought 19-14 defeat to Toulon, Anthony Watson with the home side’s only try.

In the European Rugby Challenge Cup, reigning champions Gloucester Rugby secured a home quarter-final with a 14-11 win at Zebre.

A Mark Atkinson try and three Billy Burns penalties were enough for the Cherry & Whites, who will host their last-eight clash in April.

"It will be a great atmosphere again,” said forwards coach Trevor Woodman. “The whole squad and club enjoyed it massively last year and going on to win it, and that's the aim again.

"We've done six from six now it's the quarters and with a home draw it will be something special."

In Pool 5 London Irish snuck their way into the knockout stage with a 31-17 away win against Agen.

Luke Narraway and Tom Fowlie got the Exiles off to the flying start before Tom Smallbone and Fergus Mulchrone ensured they picked up maximum points.

And they progress at the expense of Newcastle Falcons, who beat Brive 27-23 to finish second in Pool 1 – but their 16 points were not enough to qualify as a best runner-up.
European Rugby Champions Cup
Toulouse 17 Saracens 28

Tries: McAlister 2, Medard
Conversions: Flood
Tries: Spencer
Conversions: Farrell
Penalties: Hodgson 2, Farrell 4
Drop Goals: Hodgson
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wal)
Attendance: 12,498
Bath Rugby 14 Toulon 19
Bath Rugby
Tries: Watson
Penalties: Ford 3
Tries: S Armitage, Habana
Penalties: O’Connor
Referee: John Lacey (Ire)
Attendance: 13,285
Wasps 51 Leinster 10

Tries: Gopperth, Launchbury, Daly, Penalty, Halai, Piutau, Johnson
Conversions: Gopperth 4, Jackson
Penalties: Gopperth 2
Tries: Kirchner, Reddan
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (Fra)
Attendance: 16,519
Scarlets 10 Northampton Saints 22
Tries: R Jones
Conversions: A Thomas
Penalties: A Thomas
Northampton Saints
Tries: Mallinder, G Pisi, Dickinson, North
Conversions: Myler
Referee: Pascal Gauzere (Fra)
Attendance: 6,823
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Newcastle Falcons 27 Brive 23

Newcastle Falcons
Tries: Hammersley 2, Tait, Young
Conversions: Willis 2
Penalties: Willis
Tries: Bezy, Luafutu
Conversions: Laranjeira 2
Penalties: Laranjeira 3
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wal)
Attendance: 3,803
Zebre 11 Gloucester Rugby 14
Tries: van Schalkwyk
Penalties: Padovani 2
Gloucester Rugby
Tries: Atkinson
Penalties: Burns 3
Referee: Gary Conway (Ire)
Attendance: 2,413
Agen 17 London Irish 31
Tries: Nakosi, Narjissi
Conversions: Bouvier 2
Penalties: Bouvier
London Irish
Tries: Narraway, Fowlie, Smallbone, Mulchrone, Penalty
Conversions: Geraghty 3
Referee: Lloyd Linton (Sco)
Attendance: 3,712

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