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Friday’s European Challenge Cup review: Wins for Cardiff Blues, Connacht and La Rochelle

  • Jack Carty kicked six penalties and a conversion to lead Connacht to a 25-10 win over Newcastle Falcons in the European Rugby Challenge Cup this evening
  • Cardiff Blues had to come from behind to secure a 37-27 win over Montpellier in the European Rugby Challenge Cup at Cardiff Arms Park
  • La Rochelle have secured their first win in the European Rugby Challenge Cup this season, surviving a late push from Zebre to claim a 27-19 win

CONNACHT 25-10 NEWCASTLE FALCONS

Connacht
Tries: Poolman
Conversions: Carty
Penalties: Carty (6)
Newcastle
Tries: Mayhew
Conversions: Willis
Penalties: Willis
Jack Carty kicked a 20-point haul, including six penalties, from the tee as Connacht overcame Newcastle Falcons in the European Challenge Cup on Friday night. 

The Ireland U20 international kicked six penalties as the Falcons continuously failed to control their discipline, which has been an ongoing problem for the North East club this season.

Chances were few and far between in an uneventful, tryless first half that saw Connacht lead 9-3 at the break compliments of three penalties from Ireland U20 fly-half Jack Carty while the Falcons number 10 Criag Willis put over a single three-pointer for the visitors

Carty put the Irish province nine points clear with yet another penalty after 47 minutes, but Newcastle responded by opening the try-scoring through skipper Richard Mayhew with Willis converting, 12-10

The hosts were reduced to 14 men for a time as Rory Parata had a spell in the sin bin, but the Falcons conceded yet another penalty soon after with Carty edging the hosts five points clear with the successful kick.

Another three-pointer from Carty came after 69 minutes before the Irish province secured the win with their opening try through replacement Danie Poolman with the winger forcing his way through the gap to dive over. The host composed fly-half took his total to 20 with the conversion and that is the way things stayed, 25-10.

The result keeps Connacht unbeaten in the competition so far this season, while Newcastle slip to their second loss after losing to CA Brive in Round 1.


Connacht: 15 Tiernan O’Halloran, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Rory Parata, 12 Peter Robb, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Caolin Blade, 8 George Naoupu, 7 James Connolly, 6 Sean O’Brien, 5 Aly Muldowney, 4 Ultan Dillane, 3 Nathan White, 2 Jason Harris Wright, 1 Finlay Bealham.
Replacements: 16 Shane Delahunt, 17 Conan O’Donnell, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Danny Qualter, 20 David Heffernan, 21 Ian Porter, 22 Shane O’Leary, 23 Danie Poolman.

Newcastle: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Dan Marshall, 13 Tom Penny, 12 Chris Harris, 11 Zach Kibirige, 10 Criag Willis, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Daniel Temm, 6 Richard Mayhew (c), 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Will Witty, 3 Taione Vea, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Alex Rogers.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Ben Harris, 18 Andrew Foster, 19 Calum Green, 20 Callum Chick, 21 Ruaridh Dawson, 22 Juan Pablo Socino, 23 Marcus Watson.


Venue: The Sportsground
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Thomas Charabas (France)
Assistant Referees: David Rosich (France), Laurent Amic (France)


CARDIFF BLUES 37-27 MONTPELLIER

Cardiff Blues
Tries: Patchell, Navidi (2), Williams, Cuthbert
Conversions: Patchell (3)
Penalties: Patchell (2)
Montpellier
Tries: Mackintosh, Nagusa, Malzieu, Gelo
Conversions: Paillaugue, Catrakilis
Penalties: Paillaugue
Cardiff Blues staged an incredible comeback for a bonus-point win over Montpellier in the European Challenge Cup.

The Blues actually took just 43 seconds to score the game’s opening try, with Tom James making a blistering break before playing in fly-half Rhys Patchell, who collected his own chip over the top to crash over. The number 10 then converted himself, 7-0.

Montpellier though were level just four minutes later as massive Kiwi prop Jamie Mackintosh forced the ball down after powerful forward carrying. Benoit Paillaugue converted before adding a penalty on 12 minutes later to give the visitors a three point lead.

One minute later wing Timoci Nagusa, following a dazzling, dancing break from fly-half Benjamin Lucas, touched down try number two for Montpellier. Paillaugue though couldn’t add the extras, 7-15.

A third try for Montpellier came after 19 minutes. Wing Julien Malzieu went over in the right corner as the referee played advantage to give the visitors a 13-point lead,with Paillaugue once again unable to convert.

The Blues regrouped and were back in the game before the break as on the brink of half-time Josh Navidi forced the ball down following a well-worked lineout drive. Patchell converted to reduce the deficit to six points, thus ending an entertaining first half, 14-20

The Blues began the second half as they did the first  through Lloyd Williams, who touched down the hosts third score two minutes after the restart. Patchell couldn’t add the conversion, leaving them one point behind.

Moments before the home side’s third try, Montpellier lost hooker Bismarck Du Plessis to the sin bin, and replacement lock Robins Tchale-Watchou soon followed to reduce the French to 13 men.

They survived the period without conceding a point but soon after gifted Alex Cuthburt a try that secured the hosts the bonus-point and regained them the lead. The winger intercepted scrum-half Lucas’ wayward pass to sprint over for the try from inside his own for half.

Patchell could not convert but soon after slotted a penalty to stretch Cardiff’s lead to seven points before the Blues got a fifth try when Navidi touched down his second with their number 10 converting, 34-20.

Replacement Charles Geli’s late try soon after for Montpellier secured the try-scoring bonus point for the visitors and appeared to have rescued them a losing bonus point but they had it snatched away from them as Patchell landed another penalty with the last kick of the game.


Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Rey Lee-Lo,12 Gavin Evans, 11 Tom James, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Josh Turnbull, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Macauley Cook, 5 James Down, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Tau Filise, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Sam Hobbs.
Replacements: 16 Ethan Lewis, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 Scott Andrews, 20 Cam Dolan, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Garyn Smith.

Montpellier: 15 Benjamin Fall, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Anthony Tuitavke, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Julien Malzieu, 10 Benjamin Lucas, 9 Benoit Paillaugue, 8 Akapusi Qera, 7 Antoine Battut, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Jacques Du Plessis, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Bismarck Du Plessis, 1 Jamie Mackintosh.
Replacements: 16 Charles Geli, 17 Mikheil Nariashvili, 18 Nicolas Mas, 19 Robins Tchale Watchou, 20 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Demetri Catrakilis, 23 Anthony Floch.


Venue: Cardiff Arms Park
Kick-off: 19:30 GMT
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Leo Colgan (Ireland), Paul Haycock (Ireland)


LA ROCHELLE 27-19 ZEBRE

La Rochelle
Tries: Lapeyre, Qovu, Murimurivalu, Fortassin
Conversions: Fortassin, Lebail
Penalties: Fortassin
Zebre
Tries: Toniolatti,Palazzani, Penalty
Conversions: Padovani (2)
Penalties:
La Rochelle got off the mark in the European Challenge Cup with a bonus point victory against Zebre at Stade Marcel Deflandre.

The French side, who were bottom of the pool with zero points prior to Friday night, flew into a comfortable 20-0 lead at the break, opening the scoring through Fabien Fortassin, who knocked over a penalty goal after 10 minutes, 3-0.

Four minutes later La Rochelle’s Benjamin Lapeyre touched down their opening try with Fortassin knocking over the resulting conversion to give the hosts a ten point lead.

Soon after Jone Qovu touched down try number two for the French side before Kini Murimurivalu added number three. Both tries were unconverted as La Rochelle took their convincing lead into the break, 20-0.

Fortassin secured the bonus point for the hosts two minutes shy of the hour with Jules Lebail knocking over the extra two points.

Zebre then began to forge a late comeback as replacement Giiulio Toniolatti grabbed a consolation try for the visitors two minutes later. Fly-half Edoardo Padovani though wasn’t able to convert for the Italians, 27-5

The visitors then lost Andrea Lovotti to the sin bin but it didn’t stop them scoring second try three minutes from time through another replacement, Guglielmo Palazzani to add some respectability to the scoreline with Padovani this time adding the extras.

That kick narrowed the deficit to 15 points and although they did get another score in the form of a penalty try, which again Padovani converted, it was too little too late.


La Rochelle: 15 Benjamin Lapeyre, 14 Lancelot Luteau, 13 Elliot Roudil, 12 Malietoa Hingano, 11 Kini Murimurivalu, 10 Fabien Fortassin, 9 Jules Lebail, 8 Jone Qovu Nailiko, 7 Zeno Kieft, 6 Romain Sazy, 5 Leo Cedaro, 4 Damien Lagrange, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Maxime Gau, 1 Thomas Synaeghel.
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Geledan, 17 Jordan Seneca, 18 Gagi Bazadze, 19 Romana Graham, 20 Benoit Guyot, 21 Ricky Januarie, 22 Jean-Pascal Barraque, 23 Kamilieni Raivono.

Zebre: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Kayle Van Zyl, 13 Giulio Bisegni, 12 Matteo Pratichetti, 11 Michele Visentin, 10 Edoardo Padovani, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Paul Derbyshire, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Filippo Ferrarini, 5 Marco Bortolami, 4 Valerio Bernabo, 3 Pietro Ceccarelli, 2 Victor Emiliano Coria Marchetti, 1 Andrea de Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D’Apice, 17 Andrea Lovotti, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Federico Ruzza, 20 Filippo Cristiano, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Giiulio Toniolatti, 23 Carlo Canna.


Venue: Stade Marcel Deflandre
Kick-off: 20:00 local (19:00 GMT)
Referee: Tom Foley (England)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Small (England), Roger Baileff (England)