Challenge Cup wrap: Edinburgh and Gloucester qualify

Date published: January 13 2018

Edinburgh and Gloucester made sure of their places in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals following victories over Stade Français and Agen respectively.

Agen 24-45 Gloucester
Stade Armandie

Gloucester produced a stunning first-half display to secure their passage into the last eight of Europe’s second-tier competition following a dominant 45-24 triumph over Agen.

The Cherry and Whites have enjoyed an excellent campaign in comparison to their French opponents and it showed on Friday night.

Johan Ackermann’s men began at pace and were 21-0 up after 20 minutes thanks to two Henry Purdy efforts and another from Callum Braley.

Marco Kotze responded for the hosts but the away side went into the break 23 points in front after Jason Woodward went over.

Gloucester continued to dominate after the interval with Mark Atkinson touching down for a 35-5 buffer.

Agen did hit back via Johann Sadie and Akapusi Qera before Owen Williams’ penalty and Ed Slater’s try restored the visitors’ authority on proceedings.

Philippe Sella’s men had the final word as Jesse Jegerlehner crossed the whitewash, but it proved to be a comfortable victory for the Cherry and Whites.

The scorers:

For Agen:
Tries: Kotze, Sadie, Qera, Jegerlehner
Cons: Verdu, Russell

For Gloucester:
Tries: Purdy 2, Braley, Woodward, Atkinson, Slater
Cons: Williams 6
Pen: Williams

Agen: 15 Valentin Saurs, 14 Lucas Tolot, 13 Alban Conduche, 12 Pierre Fouyssac, 11 Branden Holder, 10 Hugo Verdu, 9 Paul Abadie, 8 Akapusi Qera, 7 Jesse Jegerlehner, 6 Marco Kotze, 5 Corentin Braendlin (c), 4 Denis Marchois, 3 Vakhtangi Akhobadze, 2 Marc Barthomeuf, 1 Morgan Phelipponneau
Replacements: 16 Clement Martinez, 17 Giorgi Tetrashvili, 18 Corentin Chabeaudie, 19 Christie van der Merwe, 20 Pio Muarua, 21 Ricky Januarie, 22 Jeremy Russell, 23 Johann Sadie

Gloucester: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Freddie Clarke, 7 Jake Polledri, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Jeremy Thrush, 4 Ed Slater (c), 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Motu Matu’u, 1 Cameron Orr
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Josh Hohneck, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Tom Savage, 20 Lewis Ludlow, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Tom Marshall

Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Stuart Gaffkin (Ireland), Paul Haycock (Ireland)

Edinburgh 34-33 Stade Français
Murrayfield

Edinburgh made sure that they would finish Pool 4 at the summit after battling to a narrow 34-33 victory over Stade Français.

Having won their previous four matches with bonus-points, this was much tougher for the Scottish outfit and they were initially thankful to the accuracy off the tee of Sam Hidalgo-Clyne.

The scrum-half opened his account early on but Jules Plisson kicked two penalties of his own to take the French outfit ahead.

Hidalgo-Clyne then levelled matters from the tee before Jonathan Danty was yellow carded, an indiscretion which allowed Edinburgh’s kicker to take the hosts back in front.

Just shy of the break, the home side’s half-back added his fourth effort for a six-point buffer, but they were under pressure in the initial exchanges of the second period.

Firstly, Plisson reduced the arrears before Sekou Macalou touched down as the visitors went into the lead.

Edinburgh hit back via Hamish Watson but, in a topsy-turvy encounter, Plisson equalised and Waisea Nayacalevu crossed the whitewash.

Richard Cockerill’s team were not done, however, and went back in front through Jaco van der Walt’s try and penalty. Although Giorgi Melikidze regained Stade’s advantage, Junior Rasolea scored late on and Blair Kinghorn converted to win the game for the Scots.

The scorers:

For Edinburgh:
Tries: Watson, Van der Walt, Rasolea
Cons: Hidalgo-Clyne, Kinghorn
Pens: Hidalgo-Clyne 4, Van der Walt

For Stade Français:
Tries: Macalou, Nayacalevu, Melikidze
Cons: Plisson 3
Pens: Plisson 4
Yellow Card: Danty

Edinburgh: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Damien Hoyland, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Junior Rasolea, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 Murray McCallum, 2 Stuart McInally (c), 1 Rory Sutherland
Replacements: 16 Neil Cochrane, 17 Matt Shields, 18 Kevin Bryce, 19 Fraser McKenzie, 20 Jamie Ritchie, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Darcy Graham, 23 James Johnstone

Stade Français: 15 Tony Ensor, 14 Romain Martial, 13 Waisea Nayacalevu, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Julien Arias, 10 Jules Plisson, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Sekou Macalou, 7 Matthieu Ugena, 6 Mathieu De Giovanni, 5 Alexandre Flanquart, 4 Paul Gabrillagues, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Laurent Panis, 1 Heinke van der Merwe
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Zurabi Zhvania, 18 Giorgi Melikidze, 19 Steevy Cerqueira, 20 Bakary Meïte, 21 Clement Daguin, 22 Shane Geraghty, 23 Jimmy Yobo

Referee: Tom Foley (England)
Assistant referees: Christophe Ridley (England), Simon McConnell (England)


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