Heineken Cup round-up: Michalak takes Toulouse clear of the competition

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The Independent Online

If Pool Three of the Heineken Cup is this season's "group of death" then Pool Six, where the reigning champions Toulouse, Wasps, Edinburgh and Llanelli are to be found, is the group of the decidedly queasy. The French giants, at least, will be feeling much better for their 20-13 win at Murrayfield yesterday.

Toulouse are now clear at the top of the group, thanks to a Vincent Clerc try and Frédéric Michalak's prodigious boot outpointing Mike Blair's try and Chris Paterson's goal-kicking. Wasps and Llanelli meet in Wales today and Edinburgh must try to find a result in Toulouse next week. Bonne chance, as they say.

A try from the Argentina full-back Ignacio Corleto and some strong defence earned Stade Français a crucial 16-12 win away to Clermont Auvergne in Pool Three, making up for an opening loss away to the Ospreys, who travel to Leicester today.

Leinster stayed alive in Pool Five with a 53-7 home win over the curiously laissez-faire Frenchmen of Bourgoin. Keith Gleeson, the highly rated No 8 James Heaslip and Gordon D'Arcy were among the tries.

In the European Challenge Cup Rob Andrew's injury-riddled Newcastle side won 86-0 against L'Aquila in Italy despite playing Mike McCarthy, a sizeable flanker, on the wing. Dave Walder collected three tries and eight conversions.

Northampton beat Narbonne 32-20 at Franklin's Gardens, their captain Bruce Reihana scoring a try, two penalties and three conversions. In France, Gloucester thumped Toulon 74-3 and Pau beat Overmach Parma 29-3. Bucuresti, the only Romanian club in the competition, lost 38-10 at home to Bayonne.

In George, South Africa, England, without their try-machine Tom Varndell, lost 28-22 to Fiji in the semi-finals of the second IRB Sevens event of the season. Fiji beat Argentina 21-19 in the final. Wales defeated Portugal to win the Bowl.

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