There have been more dramatic final pool rounds in the Heineken Cup than this one – in matters of life and death (so to speak), yesterday confirmed only that Biarritz and Ulster were through, as expected, from Pool Four.
Biarritz 26-19 Bath
Two tries from Iain Balshaw helped the Basque club to a bonus-point win that secured top spot in the pool and a home quarter-final. Dimitri Yachvili and Takudzwa Ngwenya scored the other Biarritz tries; Tom Biggs scored two and Stuart Hooper one for Bath.
Aironi 6-43 Ulster
Ulster qualified for the quarter-finals for the first time since they were European champions, in 1999, with a bonus-point win in Italy. Pedrie Wannenburg scored two tries, Andrew Trimble, Simon Danielli and Chris Henry scored one each and the Irish province were awarded a penalty try. In the rather convoluted way of these things, Ulster won five of their six pool games and Biarritz won four, but more bonus points brought the French club level and their better head-to-head record – having hammered Ulster at home and narrowly lost at "rain-lashed Ravenhill" (TM) – gave them first place in the pool. In the last eight, Ulster thus will be away to the first or second seeds.
Ospreys 29-17 Toulon
Toulon won Pool Three but lost any chance of a home quarter-final. They led 14-9 at half-time, thanks to tries from Rory Lamont and Matt Henjak and two conversions from Jonny Wilkinson. The Ospreys are out of Europe, having finished third, so second-half scores from Nikki Walker and Alun Wyn Jones were rarities – consolation tries in a victory.
Munster 28-14 London Irish
Munster took second in Pool Three to earn a quarter-final in the thoroughly unfamiliar Amlin Challenge Cup. The 2006 and 2008 European champions trailed 14-7 to tries by Seilala Mapusua and Sailosi Tagicakibau to one from Damien Varley, before Niall Ronan, Keith Earls and Darragh Hurley scored tries, all converted by Ronan O'Gara.
Edinburgh 14-21 Cardiff Blues
Ben Cairns scored the only try for Edinburgh; the Blues kicked seven penalties but they will not be defending the Challenge Cup title they won last season.
Wasps v Toulouse
Wasps must beat the holders and score four tries, though even if they pull that off their chances of staying in the Heineken will be slim. The other Pool Six game, the Newport Gwent Dragons against Glasgow, is a very dead rubber indeed.
Leicester v Treviso
The Tigers need to win with a bonus point while the Perpignan vs Scarlets game goes their way – meaning that the Welsh team win or the Catalans win without a bonus – if they are to top the pool. Only the Italian club cannot make the last eight of either the Heineken Cup or the Challenge Cup.
Amlin Challenge Cup
Exeter fell short of the last eight after losing 32-30 in Montpellier. Sale scored eight tries in Madrid, beating Cetransa El Salvador 50-5; Brive won 24-20 away to Petrarca and Connacht won 83-7 at home to Cavalieri Prato. None of those games had anything riding on them – Brive are the only team still in the competition.Reuse content