Toulouse and Leinster improved their chance at qualifying for the knock-out round of the European Cup with wins over Newport-Gwent Dragons and Castres respectively.
AFP - Three-time champions Toulouse and Irish giants Leinster on Saturday took big steps towards qualifying for the knock-out round of the European Cup with wins over Newport-Gwent Dragons and Castres respectively.
Leinster's 33-3 win in Pool 2 came without a bonus point but still left them six points clear of second-placed Wasps, 25-16 winners over Edinburgh on Friday.
The home side's outside-half Jonny Sexton got the scoreboard ticking with a penalty in the 13th minute, and added a second five minutes later.
Leinster, driven by impressive 21-year-old flanker Sean O'Brien, then took the game to Castres but the visitors, led by Kiwi fullback Cameron MacIntyre and former Australian centre Steve Kefu, held out manfully in defence.
Sexton knocked over a third penalty just before the half-hour as Leinster began to dominate possession at a packed Donnybrook, but play became scrappy after home flanker Rocky Elsom was ruled to have knocked on over the line.
Bernard Jackman scored his first European try early in the second-half when Shane Horgan gathered his own chip and fed the hooker who stepped covering winger Salesi Sika for the line.
Anthony Lagadere, who missed a second-minute penalty, immediately pulled back three points for Castres, but that was soon negated by a fourth Sexton penalty.
Castres' replacement hooker Yannick Forestier was sinbinned with 15 minutes remaining and the home side made them pay, Brian O'Driscoll played in at the corner for a try David Holwell converted.
Despite Steeve Malonga giving an outstanding defensive display for Castres, Simon Keogh then crossed for Leinster's third try after good hands from prop Stan Wright, Jackman and Holwell.
In Pool 5, Toulouse piled the pressure on second-placed Bath, who play Glasgow on Sunday, with a bonus-point 26-7 win over Newport-Gwent Dragons.
Toulouse scored four tries through Yannick Jauzion, Clement Poitrenaud, Maxime Medard and Florian Fritz, Frederic Michalak hitting three conversions.
The Dragons scored a late converted consolation try through Steve Jones.
Gloucester leapfrogged Biarritz, 21-17 losers to Cardiff on Friday, into second place in Pool 6 with a six-to-two try 40-17 win in Calvisano.
Date created : 2008-12-06