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Champions Cup review: Saracens, Leicester and Bath come out on top

Champions Cup review: Saracens, Leicester and Bath come out on top

After another scintillating weekend of European Champions Cup action, Saracens, Leicester Tigers and Bath Rugby all reign supreme at the top of their pools.

Attacking bonus points were won by three impressive Aviva Premiership Rugby sides, while Rhys Priestland and Gareth Steenson’s accuracy from the tee proved to be the difference for their teams.

Here’s a round-up of the best action in case you missed it.

Scarlets 13-18 Bath Rugby

Former Scarlet Rhys Priestland was prolific in Bath colours, kicking all 18 of the visitors’ points to claim a second Champions Cup victory for the South-West side.

Scarlets had initially taken the lead through Steff Evans, but a lack of discipline let them down and Priestland took full advantage.

The Welshman had been perfect from the tee all night until he missed a late penalty – something for which he can hardly be blamed given it was a challenging kick from the halfway line.

Bath now top Pool Five, just ahead of Toulon on points difference after the French team’s close shave against Benetton Rugby.

 



Clermont Auvergne 24-7 Northampton Saints

Stade Marcel-Michelin is one of the most daunting places to visit in European rugby and Saints felt the full force of the jaunards crowds as they suffered a second Champions Cup defeat.

Clermont wasted no time and were across the whitewash in the first ten minutes, with Fritz Lee the man to go over after a dominant scrum from the French team.

Christian Day replied for Northampton after two more Clermont scores, but a fourth try from Etienne Falgoux left Jim Mallinder’s men with no chance of giving Courtney Lawes a win on his 200th appearance for the side.

 

Leicester Tigers 54-29 Castres Olympique

Tigers ensured Bath would not be the only Premiership side to top their pool, bombarding Castres with seven tries on their visit to Welford Road.

Telusa Veainu was the man of the moment, running in a hat-trick, and winger Jonny May could not be stopped either, getting his name on the scoresheet twice.

David Smith responded with a hat-trick of his own, but tries from Ben Youngs and Nick Malouf allowed Leicester to run away with the victory.

This high-scoring game could prove crucial as Tigers’ points difference gives them the edge over Munster in Pool Four.

 

Saracens 36-34 Ospreys

Saracens are the dominant force in Pool Two after holding off a relentless Ospreys side in a nine-try battle at Allianz Park.

It was tit for tat as the lead constantly changed hands between the two sides and it was Ospreys who opened up the most significant gap in the first half after a brace from Dan Evans.

Schalk Brits crossed to bring it back for the hosts, but Nick Tompkins’ try was the most crucial – it gave Saracens the nine-point lead which Ospreys never recovered, despite a late score from Sam Cross.

 

Montpellier 24-27 Exeter Chiefs

Tipped as the game of the weekend, this cross-Channel encounter certainly lived up to its billing as the Chiefs recorded a historic victory on French soil.

Rob Baxter was grinning from ear to ear in his post-match interview after a 72nd-minute penalty from Gareth Steenson meant his side held on to claim four points at the Altrad Stadium.

Exeter’s Don Armand and Montpellier’s Nemani Nadolo scored two apiece, with Ian Whitten claiming the try of the match as he evaded Montpellier tackles to cross the whitewash.

 

Wasps 41-10 Harlequins

Wasps took full advantage of a depleted Harlequins side as they ran in three tries at the Ricoh Arena to climb up to second in Pool One.

Three late changes to the Quins team meant it was always going to be a difficult evening for the visitors and Wasps made their intentions plain with tries from Dan Robson and Christian Wade in the first ten minutes.

The hosts continued to put on an attacking masterclass as they claimed the bonus-point victory, with Wade claiming five more points to add to scores from Ashley Johnson and Josh Bassett.

 

To catch up on what happened in the Challenge Cup click here

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