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Bristol ease into quarter-finals of Challenge Cup

Alapati Leiua of Bristol Bears celebrates after scoring his sides third try (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Bristol became the first English side through to the quarter-finals of the European Rugby Challenge Cup with a comprehensive victory over Brive.

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The Bears’ 52-3 win maintained their perfect record in Pool Four and ensured they will be at home in the last eight.

Piers O’Conor and Dave Attwood scored in the first half and they added five more tries in the second, with Callum Sheedy converting all seven.

Bristol are 13 points clear of second-placed Zebre, who pulled off the shock of the round by beating Stade Francais 29-24 in Paris.

Stade recovered from 17-0 down but were always playing catch-up and it was the Italians who took the win and bonus point.

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A top-of-the-table clash in Pool One ended with a convincing 42-14 victory for Castres against Dragons.

Six tries from the hosts secured their bonus point, with Dragons only managing two second-half efforts from Jared Rosser.

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Worcester draw level with Dragons on 15 points thanks to a thumping 66-10 victory over Russian minnows Enisei.

With lock Michael Fatialofa still in intensive care following the neck injury he suffered against Saracens last weekend, Warriors would have been forgiven for not having their minds on the pitch but they put in a thoroughly professional performance.

Ollie Lawrence scored a first-half hat-trick and Worcester pulled away after half-time, scoring six more tries.

Bordeaux-Begles secured their place at the top of Pool Three with a 32-17 over previously-unbeaten Edinburgh.

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The competition’s top scorer, Matthieu Jalibert, contributed 12 more points, with tries coming from Semi Radradra and Santiago Cordero in the first half and Yann Lesgourges in the second.

Third-placed Wasps won in France for the first time in more than five years, beating Agen 52-24 in a match that featured 11 tries.

Eight of those went to the English side, who were off the mark in just the second minute as Ashley Johnson crossed.

Agen kept pace for most of the first half but Tom Cruse’s converted try shortly before the break gave Wasps a nine-point cushion and they extended that in the second period, with Jimmy Gopperth scoring twice.

London Irish’s miserable run continued with a 27-10 defeat by Pool Two’s bottom side, Bayonne, who scored four tries.

Pau ended a six-match losing run away from home in the competition by beating Rugby Calvisano 47-19 in Pool Five. The French side crossed for seven tries, all scored by different players.

– Press Association

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J
Jon 4 hours ago
How Maro Itoje terrorised the All Blacks lineout

Yeah England were much smarter, they put their much vaster experience to use in both the scrum (bending/not taking hit) and lineout (Itoje early sacks) law vagaries. Really though, I know what is there, I’m more worried about Englands locks. We only got to see Itoje and Martin, right? Depth allround in the England camp was probably the difference in the series and the drop off when Itoje reached his minutes limit for the season (it was like the plug was pulled from the charger) was up there with keeping Sexton on the park in that quarter final. What happened there? You have a lot of watching hours experience with locks come blindsides Nick, especially with a typical Australian player make up, have you see a six the size of Barrett absolutely dominate the position and his opposition? I can easily see Scott, and even Martin for that matter, moving to the blindside and playing like Tadgh Beirne with the amount of top locks we have coming through to partner Patrick. Still with the English mindset, because despite running the best All Black team I’ve seen in a long time close, they do need to find improvement, and although I thought they had a lot of good performances from their 7’s (over the years), I really like the prospect of Cunningham-South in his 8 spot and Earl on the open. Can you see Martin as mobile enough to take over Lawes? I absolutely loved his aggression when Jordie ran upto him to try and grab the ball. That alone is enough reason for me to try him there.

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