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Sam Parry double helps Ospreys to dominant victory over Castres

By PA
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Two tries from hooker Sam Parry helped Ospreys to a dominant victory over Castres in their opening match of the European Rugby Challenge Cup.

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The hard work was done in the first half, with Parry’s brace and another try from Shaun Venter helping the Welsh side to a 25-3 lead at the break.

Castres improved in the second half but Dan Evans’ bonus-point try ended any hopes of a comeback and Luke Morgan added further gloss in a 39-15 success.

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Albert Tuisue scored two first-half tries for London Irish in a convincing 34-8 victory over Agen.

Steve Mafi and Oliver Hassell-Collins also crossed either side of half-time, with Agen’s only score at that stage a Noel Reid penalty.

Tevia Railevu got a try on the board for the hosts but Phil Cokanasiga grabbed London Irish’s fifth late on.

Worcester suffered late heartbreak at Pau as Antonie Erbani’s last-gasp try earned the French side a 24-20 victory.

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The teams were locked together at the break on 14 points apiece but two penalties from Jamie Shillcock gave Worcester a narrow advantage that they seemed set to hold onto until the final seconds.

Zebre and Bayonne played out a dramatic 25-25 draw at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi.

It was close throughout, with Zebre leading 18-13 at half-time. Bayonne wing Remy Baget then levelled the scores before Maxime Delonca scored a try to put the visitors in front.

Zebre fought back, though, and Matteo Nocera’s try was converted by Antonio Rizzi to leave the game tied.

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finn 5 hours ago
Massive red flag raised by weakened Champions Cup teams – Andy Goode

I wonder if the problem of some teams not taking it that seriously would be helped by making performance in the champions cup count towards qualification and/or seeding in the following year’s competition. Eg. top four seeds would be winners of the URC, premiership, and top 14, plus best performing team in the previous year’s CC who have not otherwise qualified. Doing that the seedings for this years comp. would have been: Tier one: Saracens - Munster - Toulouse - la Rochelle Tier two: Sale - Stormers - Racing 92 - Leinster Tier three: Leicester - Connacht - Bordeaux - Exeter Tier four: Northampton - Ulster - Lyon - Sharks Tier five: Harlequins - Glasgow - Stade Francais - Edinburgh Tier six: Bath - Bulls - Toulon - Ospreys The competition would probably work better with fewer teams, so I’d probably favour only the first 4 tiers being invited, and then going straight to a quarter final without a round of 16. On the one hand this would possibly incentivise teams to take the champions cup seriously, and on the other it would mean that the latter stages would be more likely to involve teams that have demonstrated a willingness to take the competition seriously. The main differences between my proposed system and the actual draw is that mine would give la Rochelle a fairly easy ride to the quarters, and would either exclude the Bulls entirely or would give then an insurmountably difficult draw. As it happened Exeter got quite an easy pool draw but that was a bit of a fluke. My system would reward Exeter for being one of the teams that demonstrably devote a lot of attention to the CC by guaranteeing them a good draw.

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