Leicester kept alive their hopes of winning the Heineken Cup for the third time in five seasons yesterday when they finished runners-up to Biarritz in Pool One with a 62-10 away victory over Calvisano.
The result left the Tigers on 19 points following their six games, and dependent on the outcome of today's matches in Pool Five. To have a chance of joining Northampton in the quarter-finals, Leicester needed to beat Calvisano, claim a bonus point and score a hatful of tries.
To their credit, they managed all three in freezing conditions. Geordan Murphy, Alesana Tuilagi, Andy Goode and George Chuter each touched down twice while Julian White and Harry Ellis also went over. Calvisano's only try came from young wing Ludovico Nitoglia.
Leicester's passage to the knock-out stages could be blocked by Perpignan or the Newport-Gwent Dragons, who travel to Edinburgh and Pool Five leaders Newcastle respectively today. With Jonny Wilkinson, whose knee injury might now take eight weeks to heal, and Dave Walder both ruled out, James Grindal fills in at fly-half for the Falcons. Gareth Wyatt replaces the injured Nathan Brew on the Dragons' wing and Peter Sidoli starts at lock instead of Luke Charteris.
Leinster were confirmed as the leading qualifier for the last eight in Pool Two thanks to a 52-17 thrashing of Treviso Shane Horgan ran in three of their nine tries and Shane Jennings claimed a double. Bath finished a distant second in the pool despite a 23-17 win in Bourgoin.
Sale and Connacht cruised into the semi-finals of the European Challenge Cup with aggregate successes over French opponents. Connacht won 19-3 at home to see off Dean Richards' Grenoble 45-24 while Sale, shaded 17-15 in Agen, went through 49-35. Meanwhile, Saracens hope their 13-point first-leg lead will be enough to put them into the semi-finals when they visit Brive this afternoon.
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