Last-gasp Leicester grab European Cup lifeline

2016-12-17 20:35
Owen Williams (AFP)

Paris, Dec 17, 2016 (AFP) -Leicester needed a last-minute, long-distance penalty to defeat Munster 18-16 on Saturday to keep their European Champions Cup quarter-final hopes on track.

Leicester, the 2001 and 2002 winners, were 16-15 down with one minute left after hooker Niall Scannell had grabbed the game's only try for Munster, the 2006 and 2008 champions.

But with the clock ticking down, CJ Stander was penalised and Welsh fly-half Owen Williams coolly slotted the winning penalty from 52 metres.

Williams kicked all of Leicester's points as the Tigers avenged last weekend's 38-0 mauling by Munster at Thomond Park.

The win allowed the Tigers to close the gap on Munster to three points in Pool 1 with Glasgow, who defeated French champions Racing 23-7 on Friday, leading the way on 13 points, two ahead of the Irish side who at least gathered a losing bonus point on Saturday.

In Pool 2, four-time champions Toulouse ran in eight tries in a 54-15 rout of Italian whipping boys Zebre who have conceded 224 points in four games.

Toulouse are top of the pool but it will be a temporary stay as Wasps take on Connacht later Saturday in Ireland where the English side will be looking to do the double after a 32-17 win over Pat Lam's side last weekend.

In Pool 5, Exeter won their first match in four attempts thanks to a 20-12 victory at Bordeaux whose hopes evaporated when winger Nans Ducuing was sent off.

Pool leaders Clermont face Ulster on Sunday.

On Friday, Glasgow's win over Racing92, last year's runners-up, completed a miserable for the French side who had been sent reeling by fly-half Johan Goosen's shock decision to quit at the age of 24.

Racing, boasting All Blacks superstar Dan Carter in their ranks, had already lost to the Scots 23-14 in Paris last weekend.

Friday's defeat left them on three losses in three games in Pool 1, without a point and with no chance of making the last eight.

Tries from Josh Strauss, making his 100th Glasgow appearance, Fraser Brown and Ali Price ensured victory with Racing only getting on the scoreboard in the last minute through a try from Xavier Chauveau.

Springboks star Goosen was threatened with legal action by Racing after his shock decision to quit the sport and return to South Africa.

The flay-half was reported to be taking up a commercial director's job at home, a decision which left Racing fuming.

On Sunday, defending champions Saracens can match the European Cup tournament record of 13 consecutive victories, a mark held by Munster since 2007, when they face Sale.

Saracens crushed Sale 50-3 at home last weekend and meet their English rivals again at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Second-placed Toulon will seek to make it two from two over the Scarlets following their 31-20 home victory.

An away win will be Ulster's goal as well as they look to back up their scintillating 39-32 home victory over previously unbeaten Clermont in Pool 5.

Read more on:    leicester  |  rugby

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