Friday night saw round four of the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup get underway, with three Guinness PRO14 sides in action.
Edinburgh maintained their perfect record in the Challenge Cup by thrashing Russian side Krasny Yar, but Dragons were narrowly beaten by Newcastle Falcons.
While in the Champions Cup, Ulster scored six tries in their victory over Harlequins to stay second in their pool.
Seven more Guinness PRO14 teams continue their European Odyssey’s over the weekend and will hope to put themselves in the strongest position to qualify for the knockout stages.
Edinburgh set new records after win
Edinburgh scored 12 tries as they kept up their 100 per cent European Challenge Cup pool record with a commanding win over of Russian side Krasny Yar.
And not only did Richard Cockerill’s men score 12 tries in their 78-0 win, but they were scored by 11 different players, with South African winger Duhan van der Merwe the only player to score twice.
Fly-half Blair Kinghorn contributed 17 points, scoring a try and kicking six conversions.
— Edinburgh Rugby (@EdinburghRugby) December 15, 2017
The result means Edinburgh are all-but assured of a place in the quarter-finals.
And the result was a club record in terms of number of points scored, margin of victory and number of tries, surpassing the previous best set when Edinburgh thrashed Krasny Yar 74-13 in the reverse fixture in Russia back in October.
Ulster see off Quins to stay in contention
Ulster stayed in the race for European Champions Cup qualification by delivering a six-try thumping of Harlequins.
Tries from Stuart McCloskey, Craig Gilroy, Charles Piutau, Alan O’Connor, John Cooney and Andrew Trimble set up a 52-24 win for Les Kiss’s side, completing back-to-back wins over the English club.
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) December 15, 2017
Cooney kicked five conversions and four penalties for a personal haul of 27 points in the contest at the Kingspan Stadium.
Despite the five-day turnaround, Ulster got the result they needed to stay secure in second in Pool One, two points behind runaway leaders La Rochelle – who play at Wasps on Sunday.
Dragons edged out by Falcons
Dragons hooker Elliott Dee scored two first-half tries but it was not enough as the Welsh side were narrowly beaten by Newcastle Falcons.
The visitors led 24-17 at the break and went on to complete the Pool 1 double in Newport with a 27-25 victory.
Defeat means they are eight points behind the English club at the top of Pool One with back-to-back fixture to come against French outfit Bordeaux-Begles.
— Dragons Rugby (@dragonsrugby) December 15, 2017
What they said:
Edinburgh assistant coach Roddy Grant:
“It’s quite difficult at half-time to be that far up and it was just pleasing the guys came out and played in the second half like they did in the first.
“Probably the most pleasing thing is nilling them. We conceded two tries [to Krasny Yar] in Russia which was frustrating.
“The big focus really was getting a result in terms of the points out of the game – getting five points hugely helps us going forward.
“We’ve tried to attack when we can and with the amount of tries we’ve scored it has been good or better. The style [Cockerill] is driving seems to have been working for us, but we’re really happy with where it’s going.”
Ulster assistant coach Dwayne Peel:
“Obviously a couple of tries we scored at the end got us to the six tries. Clinical was one thing, I thought the launch stuff was okay, but I think we were more composed beyond that.
“If we were honest with ourselves we’ve been making a few line breaks but we weren’t finishing things or being a bit hasty on the ball, and that was one pleasing aspect, we took our medicine on the first launch and managed to finish beyond that.
“Some good carries from the forwards gave us a good platform.”
Dragons head coach Bernard Jackman:
“I thought we gifted them 24 points in the first half.
“We backed ourselves to come back and we showed loads of courage and heart, but sometimes when you are that generous you cant claw your way back into the game.
“The players must have felt with two minutes to go that they were going to go and win it, but we weren’t as clinical as we needed to be and there were some strange decisions at the end there, but the learning from us is don’t gift teams those scores, if you look at the three tries Newcastle scored they didn’t really have to work for them, so we need to be smarter.”
Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 for adults and €5 for children, and can be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie
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