Cardiff Blues and Edinburgh Rugby will enter their European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final at BT Murrayfield on Saturday in outstanding form, after both extended their winning domestic runs at the weekend.
Edinburgh triumphed 29-22 at Connacht Rugby on Friday to record their sixth successive Guinness PRO14 victory, before Cardiff overpowered Ulster Rugby 35-17 on Saturday for their fifth consecutive PRO14 success, their best sequence since 2009/10.
Edinburgh owed their win at The Sportsground to a match-turning performance from replacement fly-half Duncan Weir, who contributed 16 points in the 21 minutes he was on the pitch.
— Edinburgh Rugby (@EdinburghRugby) March 23, 2018
With Connacht, who entertain Gloucester Rugby on Saturday, leading 22-16 after tries from Tiernan O’Halloran, Tom Farrell and Finlay Bealham, Weir stepped up to the plate with two penalties and the conversion of his own try to keep Edinburgh in third in Conference B.
The following day Cardiff dominated from start to finish at Cardiff Arms Park, with fly-half Jarrod Evans masterminding their bonus-point victory by scoring the first of their four tries, converting three of them and kicking three penalties for a match haul of 20 points.
Wing Blaine Scully, replacement hooker Kristian Dacey and substitute prop Dillon Lewis also touched down as the Blues cemented fourth place in Conference A.
— Cardiff Blues (@cardiff_blues) March 24, 2018
The two English quarter-finalists are also approaching this weekend in fine fettle, with Gloucester emerging 33-29 winners at London Irish and Newcastle Falcons marking their first game at St James’ Park with a 25-22 victory against Northampton Saints in the Aviva Premiership on Saturday.
Gloucester rallied from 17-0 down to register their first away win in the competition since November with tries from wing Tom Marshall and one each from hooker James Hanson, flanker Lewis Ludlow and centre Mark Atkinson to stay sixth.
?? Flying into a new European week like… pic.twitter.com/BLClJuqXRS
— Gloucester Rugby (@gloucesterrugby) March 26, 2018
Newcastle are two places above Gloucester, after a record 30,174 Falcons crowd saw them chalk up their eighth win in nine Premiership matches prior to their quarter-final back at Kingston Park on Friday against Brive, with fly-half Toby Flood kicking 20 points at the 2019 European Rugby finals venue.
Brive also warmed up for the quarter-finals with a domestic home win at the weekend, edging out Agen 15-12 on Saturday to climb off the bottom of the TOP 14.
Meanwhile, Pau, who host Stade Français Paris in the Challenge Cup on Friday, defeated Oyonnax 33-12, but Stade slipped to a 33-37 home loss against Toulouse.