Munster finished top of Pool B in the Celtic League with a 51-10 demolition of Cardiff at Thomond Park yesterday. Their eight-try romp guaranteed them a home quarter-final berth against another Welsh club, Llanelli, when the tournament resumes on the first weekend in December. Munster's wings, John Kelly and Anthony Horgan, helped themselves to a brace of tries apiece while the other touchdowns came from Jason Holland, Killian Keane, David Wallace and Mike Mullins.
Nick Robinson landed an early penalty for Cardiff, but the loss of the Wales lock Craig Quinnell to the sin bin for kicking an opponent at a ruck helped Munster to take control. Indeed, the visitors only crept into double figures in the last minute when the Lions' scrum-half Rob Howley intercepted and ran under the posts for a late consolation.
With Leinster also set for a home tie in the last eight, Ulster confirmed that a third quarter-final would take place on Irish soil with their 29-20 success at Pontypridd in Pool A. David Humphreys demonstrated his form ahead of Ireland's forthcoming Six Nations' Championship games with an excellent all-round display.
Humphreys slotted three penalties, a drop goal and a conversion, but Ulster still had to rely on tries by Ryan Constable and Mark Blair to come from behind in the last 20 minutes. Ceri Sweeney had hit the target with five penalties for the home side while Simon Best's first-half try for the visitors was cancelled out when Pontypridd's captain Dale McIntosh went over midway through the second half.
Bridgend edged a 17-18 thriller at Ebbw Vale in Pool A, but neither side had any hope of progressing further. Yet the possibility of a fourth quarter-final in Ireland is still alive, though Connacht, who entertain struggling Caerphilly this afternoon, needed Newport to beat Neath last night.
The England centre Will Greenwood will be missing when Harlequins turn out at Newcastle in the Zurich Premiership today. The clubs met four times last season with Quins winning a European Shield semi-final but losing the Tetley's Bitter Cup final. This time Quins, beaten in their first two matches, need a victory to put some daylight between themselves and Bath at the bottom of the table. The young England wing Michael Step-henson makes his first appear-ance of the campaign for Newcastle in place of Liam Bo-tham who has a broken nose.
Second-placed Sale are unchanged for their trip to Wasps, but the London side's injury problems mean that inexperienced forwards Jonny Barrett and Michael McCarthy feature in a 22-man squad. Bristol have replaced Andrew Higgins with Phil Christophers at centre for their home game with fourth-placed London Irish, and Leeds, anxious to put last weekend's 42-14 thumping by the Exiles behind them, are minus their fly-half Stephen Bachop due to a calf strain for their meeting with Northampton at Headingley.
A virtuoso 30-point performance from their 22-year-old Italian fly-half Ramiro Pez enabled Rotherham to thrash Coventry 55-9 and take over from Worcester at the top of National League One. Bedford remain third despite losing a 46-45 thriller at Moseley.
Melrose head the BT Scotland Premiership after seeing off Glasgow Hawks 28-25 and Heriot's FP, 18-16 winners at Stirling County, stay second.