Heroes of the weekend: Nakarawa and Graham on song

Rich Dore
20 January 2020

Share this article

The final round of pool games in the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup saw several Guinness PRO14 stars stand up and be counted for their clubs.

Whether involved in a battle for knockout stage qualification or just looking to end this season’s European adventure on a high, there was plenty at stake on the continent.

Leinster made it six wins from six, while both Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors saw individuals come to the fore in their respective games.

We’ve had a look at the weekend’s actions and picked out the players who stamped their names across the European stage.

Second debut delight for Nakarawa

Glasgow Warriors may have come up just short in their quest for a place in the quarter-finals as they just missed out on a best runners-up spot, but their returning Fijian superstar gave reason to celebrate.

Making his first appearance since returning to Warriors earlier this month, Nakarawa wasted little time in making his presence felt.

The second-row, playing at six in this game, powered over from close range early on to help Glasgow make the perfect start to their eventual 45-7 demolition of Sale.

The victory ultimately wasn’t enough to send Warriors through as Saracens pipped them to qualification.

Godwin almost inspires Connacht

Neither Connacht nor Montpellier stood a chance of making it through, and the lack of pressure led to a free-flowing game in which the French side emerged narrow 35-29 winners.

It looked as though Montpellier would pick up an easy win after easing to a 21-0 lead before Kyle Godwin began to pull the strings.

Firstly, the centre’s perfectly flighted long pass allowed Matt Healy to score a lovely team try and get Connacht on the board.

The 27-year-old then turned from provider to scorer in the second period as he skipped through a gap in the Montpellier defence to put Connacht ahead in the 46th minute.

His efforts proved to be in vain, though, and a late Montpellier try meant the home side took the victory.

Stander leaves his mark on dead rubber

There was little to play for when Munster took on fellow Guinness PRO14 side Ospreys in a game between third and fourth in Pool 3.

Nonetheless, CJ Stander managed to make an impact as he touched down twice to help his side to a 33-6 victory.

The win for Munster meant they finished the pool with three wins and a draw from their six games, missing out on qualification largely because they failed to win either meeting with Racing 92.

Darcy dazzles as Edinburgh march on

Edinburgh made light work of their Challenge Cup meeting with Agen – scoring 36 unanswered points on their way to a bonus-point win.

The victory, which earned Edinburgh an away quarter-final against Bordeaux, was dominated by one man as Darcy Graham went over the whitewash four times.

The winger opened the scoring, added the try of the game with a 40-metre break for the line for his second and sealed his hat-trick before the half-time break.

He claimed his fourth after the interval after running a clever support line to collect an offload for a simple finish.

Warren and Davies on song

After hammering Enisei-STM 47-5 Dragons can now plan for an away quarter-final with Bristol Bears.

Two men did more than most to ensure Dragons secured a tie their director of rugby Dean Ryan says will be one of the highlights of the Welsh side’s season.

Adam Warren was rewarded for an excellent performance at centre with two of the seven tries scored by Dragons on a day when they showed fine attacking flair.

The metronomic kicking of Sam Davies ensured Dragons were fully in control of their destiny throughout the game as he slotted six conversions.

Baldwin breaks the deadlock again

Just as he was in the 20-16 defeat of London Irish in November, Corey Baldwin was the man to get the show on the road as Scarlets got the better of their opposition once more.

Baldwin opened the scoring in the 33-14 success as he drove over the line to set Scarlets on their way to a bonus-point victory over Irish that clinched a quarter-final spot and a trip to Toulon.

Share this article