Challenge Cup — Connacht seal passage into quarterfinals with Worcester draw


Connacht booked their place in the quarterfinals of the Challenge Cup after a 24-24 draw with Worcester.

A second-half fightback helped the visitors preserve their unbeaten run in Pool 5 after the draw against the Aviva Premiership side at Sixways.

The Irish province did lose their 100 percent record but they still hold a six-point advantage over the Warriors.

Tries from Perry Humphreys and Sam Lewis and a conversion from Chris Pennell saw Worcester race into a 12-0 lead just four minutes into the game.

Connacht responded with tries from John Muldoon and Niyi Adeolokun, while further scores from Humphreys and Josh Adams sent the Warriors into the break 24-14 up.

But the Guinness PRO14 side secured a share of the spoils with a second-half try from Tiernan O’Halloran and a penalty and conversion from Craig Ronaldson.

Brive moved to within three points of Worcester following a 29-19 bonus-point triumph over Top 14 rivals Oyonnax at the Stade Charles Mathon.

Alfi Mafi, Felix Le Bourhis, Seremaia Burotu and Benito Masilevu all crossed for the visitors, with Nicolas Bezy converting three of the scores and adding a penalty.

Julien Andy kicked four penalties for the hosts, whose try came from replacement back Jose Lima in the closing stages.

Theo Brophy-Clews ran in four tries to lead London Irish to a 47-17 Pool 4 victory over Krasny Yar at the Madejski Stadium.

Giorgi Pruidze crossed for a try and Lasha Malaghuradze converted and added a penalty to give the visitors a 10-7 half-time advantage, Ben Loader scoring a try in response for the Exiles.

But after the break it was a different story as Brophy-Clews scored his tries and replacements Lovejoy Chawatama and Joe Cokanasiga also went over, with Jacob Atkins slotting over four conversions and Thomas Bell another to add to one in the first half.

Andrei Ostrikov and Josh Beaumont went over to help Sale to a narrow 15-13 Pool 2 win over Lyon — a result which saw the Sharks leapfrog Lyon into second place in the group.

The Pau vs. Zebre clash went to form in Pool 3, with leaders Pau beating the bottom team 42-14.

Jale Vatubua, Laurent Bouchet, Masalosalo Tutaia, Peter Saili and Frank Halai all crossed for the hosts. Clovis Lebail converted all of them and the scoring was completed by a penalty try.

Giovanni Locata crossed twice for the Italian side. with Guglielmo Palazzani converting both scores.

Elsewhere, Bordeaux-Begles put pressure on Pool 1 leaders Newcastle with a 36-28 defeat of the Dragons.

The Dragons led 16-8 at half-time thanks to a converted James Benjamin try and three penalties from Dorian Jones.

However, the hosts — who scored a try late in the first half through Matthieu Jalibert — touched down three times after the break as Blair Connor, Fa’asiu Fuatai and Geoffrey Cros all crossed the whitewash.

Their visitors kept in touch with a Sarel Pretorius try but were denied a losing bonus-point when the conversion of Carl Meyer’s late score sailed wide.

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