TOP BAR - Fixtures

European Rugby Challenge Cup Round-Up: Humphreys wary of Gloucester Rugby complacency

David Humphreys says his Gloucester Rugby side will have to be wary of complacency in next week’s return fixture with Zebre after a hard-fought bonus-point win over the Italians at Kingsholm on Sunday.

The Cherry & Whites remain unbeaten in Pool 5 of the European Rugby Challenge Cup following the 35-10 triumph, but they were made to work for all five points.

Gloucester led 21-5 at the break with tries from Steve McColl and James Hook, while Hennie Daniller responded.

Michele Visentin went over after half-time but scores from Matt Kvesic and Mark Atkinson sealed maximum points for the Aviva Premiership Rugby outfit.

And ahead of a trip to Italy next Sunday, the director of rugby was urging caution.

“We know how difficult any away game is in Europe,” he said. “They have shown how good they are, so there will be no complacency from us going to Italy next weekend.

“We knew there would be some errors throughout the game and there were more than we would have liked but we got there in the end with four tries.

“If you keep working hard and putting in place some of the plays we have been working on, we knew we would get opportunities.”

Elsewhere on Sunday, London Welsh let a lead slip against Edinburgh and remain without a win in any competition this season.

Exiles winger Rhys Crane scored to give the visitors a 13-6 half-time lead, but WP Nel touched down immediately after the restart.

And Neil Cochrane and Rory Sutherland added scores in the final 15 minutes to make sure of the victory for the Pro12 side.

On Saturday, London Irish fell to a 24-14 defeat to Cardiff Blues as Lloyd Williams scored the decisive try for Welsh side on 63 minutes.

Having begun the competition with back-to-back wins Brian Smith’s outfit were optimistic about their chances of progressing and the director of rugby insists this defeat has not rattled them too much.

"We believe we can still win this pool," he said. "We had a good points difference going into the game, it would've been nice to squeeze a bonus point out of this but we have a chance to level it up next week.

"We're not where we wanted to be but we knew this was going to be like a mini test series. The key thing for us is to prepare well and give ourselves a good opportunity.”

On Friday, Newcastle Falcons maintained their 100 per cent record in the Challenge Cup with a 30-23 bonus-point victory over Stade Francais, leaving director of rugby Dean Richards to relish a dramatic return encounter next week.

Chris Harris and Simon Hammersley scored first-half tries to put the hosts 14-9 up at the break at Kingston Park, with fly-half Morne Steyn kicking all of the visitors' points.

The French side then went ahead as Julien Tomas touched down but fly-half Tom Catterick kicked his side back into the lead before Sean Robinson and Noah Cato scored to wrap up the extra point.

Krisnan Inu crossed over for Stade in between Robinson and Cato's efforts to help the visitors score a losing bonus point but Newcastle held on to make it three from three in Pool 3.

And although Richards was frustrated to not completely kill off Stade's chances of making the next round, he expects his side to rise to the occasion in Paris next week.

"Overall I am delighted with it. There were a lot of good contributions from the young players," he said.

"Sean Robinson sped in for a try from 20 yards, and it was probably 20 yards further than I ever ran in my own career. Tom Catterick's performance at fly-half was really pleasing, and shows why we highly rate him there.”

On Thursday, Exeter won in France for the first time in six attempts as they beat La Rochelle 36-10.

Gareth Steenson's penalty was followed by first-half tries from Tom James and Brett Sturgess before Jean-Pascal Barraque pulled a try back for La Rochelle.

Julien Audy kicked a penalty early in the second half, but Steenson replied with three of his own while tries from Byron McGuigan and Fetu'u Vainikolo secured a bonus point after Lekso Kaulashvili was sin-binned.
 
 
 
SUNDAY
 
Gloucester Rugby 35 Zebre 10
 
Gloucester
Tries: McColl, Hook, Kvesic, Atkinson
Conversions: Laidlaw, Burns 2
Penalties: Laidlaw 3
 
Zebre
Tries: Daniller, Visentin
 
Attendance: 10,005
Referee: Neil Hennessey
 
 
Edinburgh 25 London Welsh 13
 
Edinburgh
Tries: Nel, Hidalgo-Clyne, Cochrane
Conversions: Hidalgo-Clyne 2
Penalties: Heathcote 2
 
London Welsh
Tries: Crane
Conversions: Ross
Penalties: Ross 2
 
Attendance: 3,213
Referee: Cedric Marchat
 
 
 
SATURDAY
 
Cardiff Blues 24 London Irish 14
 
Cardiff Blues
Tries: Smith, L.Williams, Dacey
Conversions: Anscombe 3
Penalty: Anscombe
 
London Irish
Tries: Cross, penalty
Conversions: Geraghty 2
 
Attendance: 5,413
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz
 
FRIDAY
 
Newcastle Falcons 30 Stade Francais 23
 
Newcastle Falcons
Tries: Harris, Hammersley, Robinson, Cato
Conversions: Catterick 2
Penalties: Catterick 2
 
Stade Francais
Tries: Tomas, Inu
Conversions: Steyn 2
Penalties: Steyn 3
 
Referee: Marius Mitrea
Attendance: 4,089
 
THURSDAY
 
La Rochelle 10 Exeter 36
 
La Rochelle
Tries: Barraque
Conversions: Audy
Penalties: Audy
 
Exeter Chiefs
Tries: James, Sturgess, McGuigan, Vainikolo
Conversions: Steenson 2
Penalties: Steenson 4
 
Attendance: 10,864
Referee: Andrew McMenemy

This Christmas, Premiership Rugby is offering fans a special gift with selected tickets for the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final 2015. Click here to find out about this limited offer.

 

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