Planet Rugby

Connacht flying high with Falcons

15th January 2010 21:51

Share:

Newcastle v Leeds Josh Afu

Key crossing: Josh Afu

Newcastle have one foot in the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals after a 16-14 come-from-behind win at Albi.

Fly-half Jimmy Gopperth completed the Falcons' impressive second-half comeback by converting Josh Afu's try seven minutes from time to snatch a crucial away victory at Stade Municipal.

The result stretches Newcastle's lead at the top of Pool Five to seven points over Montauban, who play on Saturday, before the final group matches next week.

Newcastle know victory over Italian minnows Petrarca at home next week will guarantee their place in the last eight of the Challenge Cup for the fifth year in a row.

However, they were made to work hard for the victory against Albi, who occupy a lowly position in France's Top 14.

Penalties from Gopperth and Albi's Blair Stewart, a last-minute replacement at fly-half before kick-off, saw the teams level 6-6 at half-time.

However, a try swiftly after the break by replacement Yogane Correa handed Albi a lead they would hold onto until late on.

Stewart cancelled out Gopperth's third penalty before flanker Afu finished a blistering Falcons attack to level the scores 14-14 ahead of Gopperth's conversion.

Elsewhere, Connacht qualified for the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup for the second year in succession after beating nearest rivals Montpellier 20-10 at the Sportsground.

Only two points separated the teams in Pool Two before the tie but the Irish province maintained their unbeaten record thanks to second-half tries from Liam Bibo and Fionn Carr.

A brace of penalties from the boot of fly-half Ian Keatley handed Connacht a 6-3 lead at half-time.

But Bibo burst through after 57 minutes before wing Carr followed nine minutes later to settle the tie.

Keatley converted both before Mamuka Gorgodze touched down in the final minute for the French team.

However, their failure to gain a losing bonus point meant Connacht cannot now be passed for top spot in the group.

Connacht travel to Madrid next week bidding to clinch top seeding and with it a guaranteed home draw in the last eight.

In France, Castres fly-half Thomas Bouquie scored one of his team's seven tries in an easy 47-0 victory over Roma at Stade Jean Pierre-Antoine.

Bouquie added six conversions to finish with seventeen points though Castres cannot catch Saracens to qualify from Pool Three.

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
International Match
Saturday , November 1
Barbarians vs Australia14:30
USA vs New Zealand15:00
More International Match fixtures
LV= Cup
Saturday , November 1
Sale Sharks vs Wasps14:00
Exeter vs Gloucester15:00
Bath vs London Welsh15:00
London Irish vs Leicester15:00
Northampton vs Newcastle16:00
Sunday , November 2
Saracens vs Harlequins13:00
More LV= Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Leinster vs EdinburghLeinster vs Edinburgh Preview
Glasgow vs Benetton TrevisoGlasgow vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Ospreys vs ConnachtOspreys vs Connacht Preview
Saturday , November 1
Cardiff Blues vs Munster17:15
Scarlets vs Zebre18:00
Ulster vs Newport Gwent D'gons19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 1
Lyon vs Toulouse13:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
La Rochelle vs Montpellier18:30
Brive vs Castres18:30
Bayonne vs Clermont Auvergne20:45
Sunday , November 2
Toulon vs Grenoble13:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 26
Castres 16 - 21 LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Report
Clermont Auvergne 35 - 3 Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Report
Benetton Treviso 10 - 26 Racing Metro 92
Wasps 16 - 23 HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Report
Saturday , October 25
Ulster 13 - 23 ToulonUlster vs Toulon Report
Bath 19 - 21 ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Report
Montpellier 13 - 15 GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Report
Northampton 34 - 6 OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Report
Scarlets 15 - 3 LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Rovigo 18 - 33 Cardiff Blues
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
Bucuresti 9 - 13 Stade Francais
Oyonnax 15 - 25 Gloucester
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Western Province 19 - 16 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 36 - 32 TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615