Rugby

Rassie's Munster join Leinster in Euro Cup QF

2017-01-15 06:23
Rassie Erasmus (Gallo Images)

Paris - Two-time winners Munster joined fellow Irish side Leinster in the European Champions Cup quarter-finals on Saturday with a fractious 14-12 win over Glasgow.

Munster, the champions in 2006 and 2008, ensured top spot in Pool 1 with 20 points, six ahead of Glasgow with just one round of matches left next weekend.

Rassie Erasmus, the Irish club's director of rugby, said he sees no reason why Munster cannot win a third European title.

"If the players play as hard as they can and that takes us as far as possible, I think we would be stupid to put targets out there," he said.

Glasgow were left to regret a golden opportunity to book a first ever place in the quarter-finals when they led 12-9 with just 10 minutes left.

Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg, with two monster 50m kicks, were Glasgow's penalty scorers while Tyler Bleyendaal responded with three for Munster.

The Irish, however, launched a mighty 19-phase assault on the Glasgow line which ended with Lee Jones being illegally upended by Hogg's flailing arm across the head.

Hogg was sin-binned and Munster pounced as Simon Zebo and Keith Earls set-up replacement centre Francis Saili to score the game's only try. That made the score 14-12 with Bleyendaal missing the conversion.

Russell spurned a chance to kick what could have been a winning drop goal, leaving his team to face a final weekend trip to Leicester while Munster will look to wrap up a home quarter-final when they host Racing 92.

Two-time winners Leicester were dumped out of the competition after suffering a morale-sapping 34-3 loss to Racing, last year's runners-up who were already eliminated.

Xaiver Chauveau, Marc Andreu (2), Gerbrandt Grobler scored tries with Racing also awarded a penalty try.

Scrumhalf Dan Robson scored a try with just 58 seconds left as Wasps snatched a nerve-racking 17-14 triumph over Toulouse to edge closer to the last-eight.

Victory moved Wasps to second place in Pool 2, a point behind Connacht who crushed hapless Zebre 66-21.

But 2004 and 2007 champions Wasps will be favourites to grab the automatic qualifying place as their final match will be at Zebre who have lost all five games, shipping 290 points.

Connacht have to travel to four-time champions Toulouse where both sides will still be in contention to make the last-eight as one of three best runners-up.

Trailing 14-10 with under a minute left on Saturday, Robson scored a wonderful smash-and-grab try by taking a quick penalty five yards out and diving over.

Toulouse appeared to have sealed victory when they were awarded a controversial 72nd-minute penalty try for Danny Cipriani entering from the side.

"I'm really pleased that we found a way to win. We showed a lot of team spirit and scored points when we had a player in the sin-bin," said Wasps director of rugby Dai Young.

Connacht stayed on course for the quarter-finals with a 10-try home win over Zebre.

Tiernan O'Halloran, Kieran Marmion and Matt Healy scored two tries each with John Cooney, Finlay Bealham, Craig Ronaldson and Caolin Blade also grabbed scores.

Three-time winners Leinster raced into the quarter-finals Friday with an eight-try, 57-3 humiliation of Montpellier who had Springboks star Francois Steyn red-carded just before the half-hour mark for a sickening tackle on Jonny Sexton.

The Irish side, champions in 2009, 2011 and 2012, ensured top spot in Pool 4 on 21 points with a trip to Castres to come next week where they will aim to guarantee a home tie in the last-eight.

Castres' hopes of making the next round ended on Saturday with a 28-21 home defeat to Northampton.

Read more on:    munster  |  rassie erasmus  |  rugby
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