Wednesday 21 March 2018

Stylish Scarlets progress after toppling Toulon

Champions Cup Round-up

Tom Prydie
Tom Prydie newsdesk

Scarlets secured a European Champions Cup quarter-final place as Pool Five winners after toppling Toulon. Tries before the interval by Tom Prydie, Hadleigh Parkes and Dan Jones underpinned a stylish Scarlets success, with fly-half Jones adding three conversions and two penalties, and Rhys Patchell a long-range penalty.

It ended a six-year wait for Welsh representation in the knockout stage of European club rugby's blue riband tournament, while the Scarlets went through for a first time since 2007.

In the same pool, Bath's seven-try win over Benetton in Italy failed to get them into a qualifying place. The English side needed a try bonus-point victory and other results to go their way to remain in contention. They scored five tries in the first half before stuttering in the second period as their hosts outscored them three tries to two.

Mark McCall admitted Saracens will be haunted by "a million regrets" if they fail to qualify for the knockout phase. The European champions overwhelmed Northampton 62-14 at Allianz Park to finish second in Pool Two and must wait to see if they will progress as one of three best runners-up.

But even if their quest to mirror Toulon by winning a third successive crown ends this weekend, McCall will take heart from the club's revival since enduring a sixth straight defeat when losing 46-14 to Clermont in December.

Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy rued the fact his team "didn't throw more punches" to test Clermont Auvergne before going down 24-7 in France and crashing out of the competition.

When the Welsh region got back to 13-7 in the second half they were firmly in the hunt to claim a ticket to the quarter-finals. That was as good as it got for the visitors, though, as Clermont closed out the game and earned themselves a home clash in the last eight.

"It was a huge effort coming away here to France, but there is real frustration that we didn't make the most of the opportunities we created," said Tandy.

"We had ins to the game, but we didn't throw as many punches as we would have liked. We went down on the last day in an horrific pool."

Sunday Indo Sport

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