Connacht claim shock win
A review of the weekend's actionin the Heineken Cup.
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Connacht produced one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Heineken Cup as they rounded off a perfect weekend in Europe for the Irish provinces with a 16-14 win in Toulouse.
Connacht were outscored two tries to one but Kieran Marmion's second-half effort combined with 11 points from the boot of fly-half Dan Parks - who successfully kicked two penalties, a conversion and a drop goal - saw them claim a huge scalp.
Four-time champions Toulouse notched tries in either half through Jean-Pascal Barraque and Thierry Dusautoir but they could not find a way to break down the Connacht defence again in the closing stages.
Miles Benjamin scored twice in two minutes as Leicester claimed a spirited 41-32 win over Montpellier at Welford Road.
The 25-year-old repaid Leicester's faith following more than a year out through a serious neck injury with two first-half scores after Vereniki Goneva had given the Tigers the lead in the fifth minute.
Flanker Jamie Gibson sealed the bonus point for Leicester with his second-half score as Toby Flood kicked 18 points for the Tigers.
Montpellier had looked out of the match at 24-3 down, but they rallied through tries by Mamuka Gorgodze, Timoci Nagusa and two for Pierre Berard as they claimed a try bonus point of their own.
Munster moved to the top of Pool Six as they swept past a weakened Perpignan team 36-8 at Thomond Park.
The injury-hit French club are noted for their poor away form with only one win on the road since March, and Munster built a 22-0 half-time lead without finding top gear.
A breakaway score from man-of-the-match Keith Earls supplemented tries from forwards Sean Dougall and David Kilcoyne as Rob Penney's men coasted clear.
Perpignan captain James Hook responded with a penalty and Munster had to be patient for their bonus point reward - a 66th minute penalty try sealed their five-point return before James Couglan and Joffrey Michel exchanged late efforts.
Wing Martyn Thomas scored tries in both halves as Gloucester beat Edinburgh 23-12 at Murrayfield.
The home side had taken an early lead in the Scottish capital when Greig Tonks danced in to score after six minutes.
But the lead lasted just four minutes before Rob Cook levelled for the visitors.
Thomas then touched down twice to give Nigel Davies side an 18-point lead before David Denton scored a converted try to give the scoreline a more respectable look for Edinburgh.
The victory moves Gloucester on to eight points in Pool Six, two behind leaders Munster.
On Saturday, Brian O'Driscoll orchestrated a masterful 40-7 victory for Leinster at Franklin's Gardens that has done significant harm to Northampton's hopes of progressing from Cup Pool One.
The vision of man of the match O'Driscoll created the opening two touchdowns for Luke Fitzgerald in a humiliating evening for Saints that saw them concede the bonus point as early as the 37th minute.
Jamie Heaslip and Eoin Reddan also crossed in the first half as Leinster issued a statement of intent in their quest to claim a fourth Heineken Cup crown.
They led 26-0 at half-time in the first meeting between the teams since the 2011 final and the rout continued after the interval with O'Driscoll, playing his first Heineken Cup match of the season, and Fitzgerald adding further tries.
Fly-half Ian Madigan slotted five conversions against the Aviva Premiership's second placed team.
Lee Dickson scored Northampton's only try.
Nick Evans scored 17 points as Harlequins produced one of their finest performances in Europe to win 32-8 and give themselves a lifeline in the tournament.
The fly-half scored the first of his team's four tries as Quins stunned Racing Metro in Nantes to claim their first win of the campaign.
Nick Easter, Charlie Walker and Karl Dickson then all followed to secure a bonus-point victory at Stade de la Beaujoire that lifts them to second in Pool Four.
Bernard Le Roux scored the home side's only try.
Clermont Auvergne extended their remarkable unbeaten home record to 68 matches after overcoming a spirited Scarlets side 32-11 in Pool Four at Stade Marcel-Michelin.
Jamie Cudmore, Napolini Vonowale-Nalaga (2) and Clement Ric scored the tries for the hosts, while Rhodri Williams went over for the away side.
Fly-half Jonny Wilkinson, who had already missed 11 points, landed a 30-metre drop goal five minutes from time as holders Toulon moved to the top of Pool Two with a 14-9 win over Exeter.
However, the game was costly for the French side, who lost Bakkies Botha (cut head), fellow Springbok Bryan Habana (hamstring) and Craig Burden (arm) to injury in the first half.
Florian Fresia scored the only try of the match for Toulon with all Exeter's points coming from penalties.
Saracens claimed top spot in Pool Three with a 39-10 bonus-point victory over Zebre.
George Kruis, Ernst Joubert and Chris Wyles all crossed before Chris Ashton scored twice in the space of eight minutes to wrap up the victory.
Samu Vunisa claimed a late consolation score for Zebre but it was never enough to trouble the visitors who recovered from their defeat to Toulouse at Wembley Stadium to get their campaign back on track.
Ulster further tightened their grip at the top of Pool Five with this 48-0 thumping of bottom side Treviso in the first of their back-to-back clashes which saw the home side also registering their first try bonus of the campaign.
First-half tries from Paddy Jackson, Luke Marshall, John Afoa gave unbeaten Ulster a commanding 22-0 lead which was added to by further scores from Dan Tuohy, Sean Doyle, Andrew Trimble and then a second from Marshall - who had been sin-binned early in the second half.
Jackson also ended the evening with 13 points to his name from a try, five conversions and a penalty while Darren Cave also had an outstanding game and was the provider for two of the scores.
On Friday night, an incredible 75-yard gallop by Lions wing Alex Cuthbert clinched a 29-20 victory for Cardiff Blues over Glasgow.
Rhys Patchell had crossed in the first half and kicked a penalty, while another Wales international, Leigh Halfpenny, contributed 16 points with the boot.
The shock victory over reigning champions Toulon in October had encouraged Blues supporters to dream of success in Europe despite mediocre results in the RaboDirect Pro12. This success will have raised their hopes even further.
Sean Maitland and Leone Nakarawa scored tries for Glasgow, both converted by Duncan Weir who also added two penalties.
Ospreys crashed to a third straight Heineken Cup defeat despite a fiercely-competitive performance against Castres.
They went into the clash following consecutive losses to Leinster and Northampton and they were once again edged out 15-9.
Dan Biggar slotted three penalties but was out-fired by Rory Kockett and Geoffrey Palis, who booted the French champions to a slender 15-9 victory.
The defeat leaves the Welsh region all but mathematically out of the Heineken Cup, while Castres maintained the chase on Pool One pace setters Leinster and Northampton, who clash on Saturday.