European Challenge Cup wrap: Sale Sharks and Worcester Warriors triumph
The second round of the European Challenge Cup proved equally as dramatic as Round 1 as four Gallagher Premiership Rugby sides took to the field on Saturday.
Sale Sharks picked up where they left off last weekend with a sensational victory over Irish province Connacht.
Meanwhile Worcester Warriors continued their fine form in the Challenge Cup by downing Ospreys at Sixways.
Harlequins and Bristol Bears were also in action and here’s a look at how every side got on:
Sale Sharks 34-13 Connacht
Chris Ashton made his mark on his competitive debut for Sale as he scored a hat-trick in their victory over Connacht.
Ashton got off the mark in sumptuous style as he went over after a driving run as eight points from Faf De Klerk ensured the sides went in 13-13 at the break.
A Josh Beaumont try on the 53rd minute put Sale ahead before Ashton added two more fine scores to put daylight between the sides.
— Sale Sharks🦈 (@SaleSharksRugby) 20 October 2018
The result leaves Sale at the top of Pool 3 with maximum points having also downed Perpignan in Round 1.
Worcester Warriors 27-21 Ospreys
A first half blitz from Worcester Warriors ensured they made it three successive victories in all competitions as they beat a spirited Ospreys side.
After a convincing opening round victory against Pau, the Warriors carried on that form with a try after just 11 minutes as fly-half Jamie Shillcock, who kicked 12 points in the victory, finished off a break led by full-back Perry Humphreys.
🎥 “It was a special day for me and the family – it was just good to get the win.”
— Worcester Warriors ⚔️ (@WorcsWarriors) 20 October 2018
And tries form Wynand Olivier and Jack Singleton made it a commanding 21-0 lead at the break.
Yet Ospreys showed their resilience as a Cory Allen brace and a score from Rob McCusker brought the Welsh side back into the contest but it wasn’t enough to deny the Warriors victory.
Grenoble 19-13 Harlequins
Despite Marcus Smith’s best efforts Harlequins fell to 19-13 defeat to Grenoble at the foot of the Alps.
The precocious fly-half picked off a pass in the eighth minute, running home an interception try and then adding the extras to make it 7-0.
The hefty boot of Corentin Glenat kept the hosts in the contest, with one booming penalty on the half-hour mark putting the Top 14 outfit 9-7 in front.
Smith added two three-pointers in the first ten minutes after the break to hand Quins a semblance of momentum.
— Harlequins 🃏 (@Harlequins) 20 October 2018
But in an attritional contest it seemed appropriate another interception would define the contest, Lolagi Visinia telegraphing a pass in midfield and running in the winning try.
Quins remain top of Pool 5 on points difference thanks to their commanding Round 1 win over Agen.
Zebre 20-17 Bristol Bears
It was all smiles at Ashton Gate last week as Bristol Bears downed Zebre but that could not be replicated over in Italy.
Pat Lam’s side made the perfect start as Tom Pincus went over after 15 minutes before tries for Carlo Canna and Jimmy Tuivaiti flipped the game on its head.
📸| #BristolBears go down to narrow 🏆 defeat in 🇮🇹.
Congratulations, @ZebreRugby – thank you for your hospitality. 👏
— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) October 20, 2018
Pincus then got in on the act once more to level things up but a penalty from Canna a minute from time ensured it was a heart-breaking defeat for the Bears.