Toulon's late surge against Sale throws pool wide open
Champions Cup round-up
A belated surge from Toulon not only saw them defeat Sale Sharks 27-12 at Stade Felix Mayol, but also kept their chances of making the Champions Cup quarter-finals alive.
Toulon go to qualified Saracens next with Pool 3 still for the taking, but they must earn a bonus-point win and deny the champions any if they are go level on points.
Saracens won the corresponding tie by nine points so, in terms of head-to-head, the French outfit must win comfortably in Allianz Park. Toulon were just two points ahead with four minutes remaining, but tries from Jonathan Pelissie and Josua Tuisova yielded maximum points.
Elsewhere, Owen Farrell showed nerves of steel to send over a pivotal 82nd-minute conversion to ensure Saracens scraped a 22-22 draw with Scarlets. Chris Ashton went over to give Farrell a shot to make sure the champions left Parc y Scarlets yesterday with more than a losing bonus point. A win would have sealed a home quarter-final but they must now beat Toulon to secure it.
Three penalties from Dan Jones and a try from Sarries wing Nathan Earle meant Scarlets led 9-5 at the break. Jones added another penalty, before Farrell converted the first of Ashton's two tries. Scarlets looked good for the win when Scott Williams got in and Jones converted, but Ashton and Farrell had other ideas.
Meanwhile, Camille Lopez's three penalties gave Clermont a 9-6 win over Bordeaux-Begles to confirm their place in the quarter-finals yesterday, but they must beat Exeter Chiefs next week to ensure a home draw.
Two penalties from former Leinster out-half Ian Madigan kept Bordeaux in contention but, on just 10 points ahead of their trip to Ulster, qualification from Pool 5 is out of the question.
By denying Wasps a winning bonus point Toulouse ensured that Connacht enjoy a one-point lead at the top of Pool 2. Not that they'll care as Dan Robson's late try cost them a vital win.
Yoann Huget crossed for Toulouse, with Jean-Marc Doussain converting, but Wasps responded through Elliot Day and Jimmy Gopperth converted.
Toulouse looked to have snatched it when their scrum won a converted penalty-try, but Robson and Gopperth sealed the 17-14 win.
Racing 92 registered their first points of a disastrous Pool 1 run by thumping Leicester. Tries from Xander Chauveau, Marc Andreu and Gerbrandt Gobler, as well as two conversions and a penalty from Dan Carter, sealed the 34-3 win.
Castres' late fightback couldn't undo Northampton at Franklin's Garden and the 28-21 loss ended their hopes of progressing from Pool 4. Teimana Harrison had the hosts ahead early with Stephen Myler slotting the first of four conversions. Alexandre Bias got in for Castre but Myler and Harrison scored for the Saints.
A converted try from Julien Dumora and two penalties levelled it, but Tom Wood scored to earn just a second Northampton win.