Following the conclusion of the Pool stage of the Heineken Champions Cup last weekend, we take you through the best of Saturday’s domestic action, with the Pool A qualifiers Exeter Chiefs and Saracens victorious.
Last-gasp try earns Saracens victory
A last-minute try from Francois Hougaard lifted Saracens to a 20-19 victory over Bristol Bears in the Gallagher Premiership at StoneX Stadium.
Saracens, who face Ospreys in the Round of 16 in April after finishing fourth in Pool A, trailled 8-0 at the interval after an AJ MacGinty penalty and a Harry Thacker try put Bristol ahead.
However, Theo Dan and Rotimi Segun dotted down for the hosts – as did Gabriel Ibitoye for the visitors – in the second half before Hougaard became the hero with a score three minutes into added time.
Exeter outlast Gloucester to move third
Elsewhere in the Premiership, Exeter Chiefs, who finished second in Heineken Champions Cup Pool A with three wins from four matches, defeated fellow Round of 16 qualifiers Gloucester 24-17 at Sandy Park.
Jonny Gray, Solomone Kata and Olly Woodburn all notched in a first half that saw the Chiefs, who host Montpellier Herault Rugby in the Round of 16, go up 21-14 at the interval.
Jonny May and Val Rapava-Ruskin responded for Gloucester, who face a tough assignment against the defending European champions Stade Rochelais in the Round of 16.
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Leinster continue strong form against Cardiff
Leinster Rugby, who topped Pool A of the Heineken Champions Cup with four wins from four, continued their unbeaten start to the United Rugby Championship season with a 38-14 romp of Cardiff Rugby at the RDS Arena.
The four-time European champions notched six tries in the contest – Luke McGrath (2), Max Deegan, Brian Deeny, Max O’Reilly and Liam Turner crossing the whitewash.
Leinster will host Irish opposition in the Round of 16 when they square off against Ulster Rugby – who qualified 8th in Pool B – in April.
Six-try Munster best Benetton
Munster Rugby ran in six tries in a 40-30 win over Bennetton Rugby in Treviso to move up to sixth in the United Rugby Championship.
Paddy Patterson and Jack O’Sullivan crossed in the first half before John Hodnett, Jean Kleyn, Antoine Frisch and Joey Carbery – who had 10 points in the kicking game – dotted down in the second period.
The Irish province, who won two and lost two in the Pool stage, have a tough task in the Round of 16 as they travel to South Africa to take on Cell C Sharks in April
La Rochelle lose out in high-scoring thriller
Defending Heineken Champions Cup holders Stade Rochelais came unstuck against Racing 92 in a 39-36 thriller thanks to a last second penalty from the boot Finn Russell at the Paris La Défense Arena.
Fly-half Antoine Hastoy was in fine form for La Rochelle totaling 26 points – two tries, two conversions and four penalties. Jules Farve and Rémi Picquette were also on the scoresheet for the visitors.
Stade Rochelais topped Pool B with four wins from four earning themselves a home time against Gloucester in the Round of 16 in April.