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Saints rout Edinburgh to secure knock-out spot

FOUR tries from Paul Diggin cemented Northampton's place in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals as they hammered hapless Edinburgh 37-0 at Franklin's Gardens last night.

Despite dominating possession, the home side looked as though they wouldn't get the necessary bonus point ahead of their trip to play Castres next weekend.

However, with five minutes remaining Diggin secured his hat-trick and Northampton's fourth try, to give them the bonus point, before touching down again under the posts to see off their dispirited opponents.

Northampton knew they had secured top-spot in the group after Castres failed to secure the victory they needed against Cardiff.

Cardiff kept alive their slim hopes of qualifying for the Amlin Challenge, though they may rue allowing Castres to secure the bonus point from their 14-9 victory.

The Blues already had no hope of reaching the last eight in the top-tier competition but this win keeps them in the hunt for a runners-up spot, which would put them in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup.

Castres were unable to convert possession into points. Early on, they got a penalty from Seremaia Bai.

The Blues gradually came into the game and Dan Parks kicked two penalties to put them 6-3 up.

Bai and Pierre Bernard got further penalties for Castres, but Leigh Halfpenny's try and a further Parks penalty proved enough for Cardiff.

Irish Independent