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European wrap: Leinster stage thrilling comeback as Connacht run riot

Six Guinness PRO14 sides took to the field on a dramatic Saturday of European action in the Champions and Challenge Cups.

Leinster edged out Exeter Chiefs in a thrilling contest at the Aviva Stadium but there was to be no joy for Glasgow Warriors as they were downed by Montpellier.

Scarlets got the better of Benetton in the only all-PRO14 contest thanks to a fine performance from Gareth Davies.

Elsewhere, in the Challenge Cup, Connacht continued their fine run in the competition as they dismantled Brive to put the Irish province on the brink of the quarter-finals.

Leinster 22-17 Exeter Chiefs

A sensational comeback helped put Leinster on the brink of the quarter-finals as they stunned Exeter Chiefs.

The Irish side went 14 points down as Sam Skinner and Luke Cowan-Dickie both went over for the English side to send them into a 17-3 lead.

But the hosts rallied in remarkable fashion thanks to penalties Isa Nacewa and a 66th minute try from Luke McGrath sealed the turnaround.

It’s back-to-back victories over the Chiefs which puts Leinster five points clear at the top of pool three.

Montpellier 36-26 Glasgow Warriors

It was a spirited effort from the in-form Warriors but they could do nothing to stop Montpellier clinching a vital victory.

In a breath-taking opening quarter which saw five tries; Fraser Brown, Peter Horne and Nick Grigg all crossed for Glasgow with Nemani Nadolo and Romain Ruffenach responding for the home side.

Two dot downs from Henry Immelman and one from Benoit Paillaugue gave Montpellier control of the match and a bonus point.

But George Thorne went over for the Warriors’ fourth of the afternoon to add some consolation for Dave Rennie’s men.

Benetton Rugby 12-31 Scarlets

A brace from Gareth Davies helped Scarlets pick up a much-needed bonus point victory as they beat league rivals Benetton.

Johnny McNicholl and Paul Asquith also went over as the Welsh outfit had secured their bonus-point after just 44 minutes.

Benetton fought back late on thanks to two tries from Monty Ioane but they could not overhaul Scarlets, who are neck-and-neck with Bath at the top of their pool.

Gloucester 69-12 Zebre

There was to be no revenge for Zebre over Gloucester as the English side ran riot in the opening half to condemn the Italians.

It was an easy afternoon for Gloucester who found themselves 45-0 up at the break as the visitors had Ciaran Gaffney yellow carded.

Ollie Thorley ran in four tries to add to scores from Freddie Clarke, Will Safe, Cameron Orr, Charlie Sharples, Motu Matu’u and a brace from David Halaifonua

Matteo Pratichetti and Valerio Bernabo scored consolations for Zebre on a difficult afternoon at the Kingsholm Stadium.

Connacht 55-10 Brive

Another week and another ruthless display from Connacht as they scored seven tries in a rout over French outfit Brive.

Matt Healy bagged a stunning four tries with Jack Carty hoovering up 25 points in a fine performance at the Sportsground.

Kieran Marmion and Tom Farrell also scored tries which leaves the Irish province on the brink of the last eight.

Connacht travel to English side Worcester Warriors in the new year knowing a victory would secure their place in the quarter-finals.

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