Higgins sparkles to give Bath valuable victory at Colomiers

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Bath's incredible season continued at Stade Selery yesterday with an invaluable 32-25 win over Colomiers in the first leg of their Parker Pen Challenge Cup tie. The Zurich Premiership front-runners take a seven-point lead into next weekend's return match and are favourites to advance to a quarter-final meeting against either Grenoble or Béziers.

The centre Andrew Higgins scored two second-half tries to help overcome a 18-12 deficit at the break, with the in-form boot of Ollie Barkley supplying 12 crucial points.

Colomiers showed early promise with tries for the centre Jean-Philippe Viard and the winger Julien Arias, but five-pointers from Bath's Scottish international Simon Danielli and England scrum-half Martyn Wood kept the visitors in touch in a free-flowing match in front of 4,500 fans.

The French international Thomas Castaignède was in inspired form for Saracens at Vicarage Road, scoring two tries and adding 12 points as Glasgow were outclassed 37-6 in a first-leg victory, which makes next weekend's trip to Hughenden all-but academic.

The England scrum-half, Kyran Bracken, Scotland's hooker Robbie Russell and the back-rower Ben Russell added tries, while the Scottish province had to settle for two Dan Parks penalty goals.

At Kingston Park, Newcastle Falcons - minus Jonny Wilkinson - ground out a tough 10-3 victory over Montferrand and face a daunting trip to France to make the quarter-finals.

The England Sevens' player Ben Gollings was the hero for the 5,000 home fans, scoring a first-half try, converting it and adding a second-half penalty to keep his side ahead. The Montferrand fly-half Jerome Gendre's penalty was his side's only reward for 80 minutes of hard graft, but the international-laden French club will rate their chances of overturning the deficit at Parc des Sports Marcel-Michelin next weekend.

London Irish secured a 20-13 win over Narbonne at Madejski Stadium but they will not be looking forward to next weekend's trip across the Channel to play the powerful French club.

The fly-half Mark Mapletoft slotted five penalty goals and the left winger Justin Bishop scored his side's only try of a match which was held up for 15 minutes after an injury to his team-mate, winger Paul Sackey.

The Narbonne winger Julien Candolon scored his team's try and the fly-half Cedric Rosalen kicked eight points to give the French club a good chance of advancing to a Challenge Cup quarter-final against either Connacht or Pau.

Elsewhere, visitors Béziers pipped Grenoble 19-15 and take a four-point lead into their home match next weekend. A five-pointer to the 30-year-old former French centre Jean-Marc Aue proved the difference between two closely matched sides.

Brive beat Castres 30-17. The Brive full-back Jerome Carrat kicked 15 points with tries from scrum-half Jean-Baptiste, winger Yves Donguy and former Cardiff lock John Tait. Castres had to make do with four Richard Dourthe penalties and a late try by back-rower Romain Froment, but will rate their chances of overturning the 13-point deficit next weekend.