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European round-up: Wasps cruelly denied at the death

Wasps were denied an historic European Rugby Champions Cup win away to Toulon by a last-gasp try as they missed an opportunity to seal a quarter-final spot.

The Aviva Premiership Rugby side looked to have ended Toulon’s 18-game unbeaten run at Stade Felix Mayol when Guy Thompson barged his way over the try-line with ten minutes remaining after Elliot Daly had made the initial break.

But Australian full-back Drew Mitchell raced on to Ma’a Nonu’s pass as time seeped into red to secure the French outfit a dramatic 15-11 win.

An early Quade Cooper try and penalty from Eric Escande gave Toulon an 8-0 advantage before two Jimmy Gopperth three-pointers and Thompson’s score put Wasps ahead.

But Mitchell’s try put hosts one point clear atop Pool 5 and Wasps director of rugby Dai Young acknowledges the defeat was a tough blow to take.

"I'm really gutted for the players,” he said. “I'm heartbroken for them. I couldn't have asked more of them. 

“We didn't want to leave here with any ifs, buts or maybes and I thought they were excellent today.

"We were under pressure for large spells of that game but we got through it and with 80 minutes on the clock we looked like we had won the game.

"We pressurised them, we didn't give them space to play and we forced them into errors and made them doubt themselves for large parts of the game. It just would have been nice to come away with a really famous victory.”

Elsewhere Harry Mallinder gave his father Jim something to smile about as his try with the last play of the game handed Northampton Saints a win over Glasgow Warriors.

Mallinder slotted in at full-back when Tom Collins went off injured in the first half, but Teimana Harrison and Christian Day charged over to put Saints in the ascendancy.

Finn Russell kept the visitors in touch with four penalties before a big penalty from Stuart Hogg put Glasgow into the lead with ten minutes remaining.

But man-of-the-match Mallinder popped up from George North’s tap-down to cross in the corner and win it for Northampton, with Myler nailing the conversion to make it 19-15 to the hosts.

In Saturday’s action Saracens wrapped up a home quarter-final with a fantastic bonus-point victory over Ulster.

After stunning the Irish province 27-9 away from home, tries from Billy Vunipola, Duncan Taylor, Maro Itoje and Schalk Brits sealed the 33-17 win in the return fixture and gives Mark McCall's side – who also sit top of the Aviva Premiership Rugby standings – an unassailable lead at the top of Pool 1.

Another fine display from No.10 Owen Farrell, who added 13 points from the tee, inspired Sarries and McCall insists the 24-year-old is ready to be the main man for England once again.

“I thought Owen was brilliant, he was outstanding,” said McCall. “When he missed kicks he just puts it behind him and then gets the next one over.

“He usually gets the really important ones over. He had a great game. The speculation seems to be that he will play 12 for England at Murrayfield.

“Clearly he has the skill set to do it if you want that kind of 12 there. He's a brilliant rugby player.”

Leicester Tigers recorded an impressive win over Italian side Benetton Treviso, winning 47-7 to also book their quarter-final spot with five wins from five so far.

Richard Cockerill's side were rampant and thanks to scores from Mike Fitzgerald, Vereniki Goneva, and Adam Thompstone as well as a penalty try, they had the bonus point before the interval.

Ben Youngs and Freddie Burns then got in on the act in the second half as Manu Tuilagi made his first start after a 15-month injury layoff.

Exeter Chiefs just missed out in France as a late Marco Tauleigne score gave Bordeaux-Begles a crucial 34-27 victory.

Dave Lewis, Max Bodilly, and Byron McGuigan had all crossed to bring Chiefs level at 27-27, but the final result means all four sides in Pool 2 are still alive in the competition heading into round six. 

And Bath Rugby were also on the wrong end of their clash away at Leinster, with Ian Madigan kicking 20 points to hand the Irish province a 25-11 victory despite Leroy Houston’s try.
 
SUNDAY

Northampton Saints 19 Glasgow Warriors 15

Northampton Saints
Tries: Harrison, Day, Mallinder 
Conversions: Hanrahan, Myler

Glasgow Warriors
Penalties: Russell 4, Hogg

Attendance: 14,874
Referee: Romain Poite (France)

Toulon 15 Wasps 11

Toulon
Tries: Cooper, Mitchell
Conversions: Michalak
Penalties: Escande
 
Wasps
Tries: Thompson
Penalties Gopperth 2
 
Attendance: 13,344
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
 
SATURDAY

Bordeaux-Begles 34 Exeter Chiefs 27

Bordeaux-Begles
Tries: Ashley-Cooper, Connor, Madaule, Auzqui, Tauleigne
Conversions: Bernard, Beauxis 2
Penalties: Bernard

Exeter
Tries: Lewis, McGuigan, Bodilly
Conversions: Hooley 3
Penalties: Hooley 2

Attendance: 17,233
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)

Saracens 33 Ulster Rugby 17

Saracens
Tries: B.Vunipola, Taylor, Itoje, Brits
Conversions: Farrell 2
Penalties: Farrell 3

Ulster Rugby
Tries: L Marshall, Humphreys
Conversions: Jackson, Humphreys
Penalties: Jackson

Attendance: 9,642
Referee: Jerome Garces (France)

Leinster Rugby 25 Bath Rugby 11

Leinster
Tries: Cronin
Conversions: Madigan
Penalties: Madigan 6

Bath
Tries: Houston
Penalties: Ford, Preistland

Attendance: 14,569
Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)

Leicester Tigers 47 Benetton Treviso 7

Leicester Tigers
Tries: Fitzgerald, penalty, Goneva, Thompstone, B Youngs, Burns, Pearce
Conversions: Burns 5, Bell

Benetton Treviso
Tries: Pratichetti
Conversions: Ambrosini

Attendance: 19,076
Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

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