A tough 3-3 draw against Bath propels the three-time European champion Toulouse into the last eight of the European Cup. They will play the only undeafeated team so far - Cardiff Blues in Cardiff.
Reuters - Three-time European champions Toulouse and Bath fought out a tough 3-3 draw on Sunday though any pre-match tension had gone out of it as both sides were assured of a place in the last eight of the European Cup.
The loser of their match had been in danger of going out but English outfit Wasps' surprise 21-15 loss to Castres in France earlier on Sunday assured both sides of progressing.
Had two-time winners Wasps won, then the loser of the Bath-Toulouse clash would have failed to make it as one of the best second placed finishers - Bath though finish top of the group.
Leinster secured their place in the quarter-finals with a dour 12-3 victory over Edinburgh in Dublin.
Their Irish rivals and reigning champions Munster had already qualified but rounded off their group campaign with a 37-13 victory over French side Montauban.
Wasps' loss - which means for the second successive season they have failed to reach the knockout stages - also meant that Welsh region Ospreys qualify for the quarter-finals as one of the best-placed runners-up.
Wasps had only themselves to blame for having let victory slip from their grasp.
They had fought back principally through 10 points from Danny Cipriani after conceding two tries in the first-half to lead with just 13 minutes remaining with Dominic Waldouck going over.
However, Thomas Bouquie ensured heartbreak for the English team as he scored his second try of the match with 75 minutes on the clock and give the struggling French side a welcome boost in what is likely to be a tough relegation battle on the domestic front.
Wasps coach Shaun Edwards was left bitterly disappointed.
"It was massively important for us to get into the quarter-finals and we went into the game knowing there were no guarantees," said the former rugby league great.
"Now we need to put this result behind us and move on. We have to concentrate on qualifying for next season's European Cup."
Leinster dominated their Scottish rivals with fullback Rob Kearney the most eye-catching player on the pitch, producing some sparkling runs that his team-mates failed to take advantage of.
However, the reliable boot of Felipe Contepomi gave Leinster the breathing space they needed to secure the victory over their Scottish opponents.
Munster had already qualified but they didn't take their foot off the pedal as the two-time winners walloped Montauban with Ronan O'Gara scoring 12 points and replacement Barry Murphy making an instant impact by scoring a brace of tries, his first just two minutes after coming on.
Munster captain Paul O'Connell said it was mission accomplished in terms of securing a home tie in the last eight.
"We showed aside from the first 10 minutes that we are a very professional team who have good team spirit and very strong mentally," said the Ireland lock.
Double champions Leicester had sealed their place in the knockout stage on Saturday despite losing 15-9 to the Ospreys. The Tigers, winners in 2001 and 2002, picked up a crucial losing bonus point to make sure of top spot in Pool Three with 21 points. Ospreys dominated but their fast-breaking backs were unable to shatter the unyielding Leicester defence which stood firm even when they were reduced to 14 men late in the first half. "It is a very weird feeling in the dressing room," said Leicester skipper Martin Corry. "It was a very hard game, and in the end, we had to take stock and make sure we came out of it with something.
On Friday, Cardiff Blues made it a perfect six wins out of six - the sixth team to achieve that feat - with a nine-try, 62-20 demolition of Calvisano to grab top seeding in the quarter-finals. In the night's other Pool 6 tie, Gloucester's hopes were ended in a demoralising 24-10 defeat by Biarritz who are also eliminated.
Date created : 2009-01-25