Paul Asquith’s late try saves Scarlets’ blushes against Benetton
Anthony Belleau’s late try helps Toulon to victory over Bath
Paul Asquith of Scarlets scores his side’s fifth and winning try during the Champions Cup match against Benetton Rugby at Parc y Scarlets. Photograph: Harry Trump/Getty Images
Scarlets 33 Benetton 28
Centre Paul Asquith scored a try in the final minute as Scarlets pulled off a remarkable 33-28 bonus-point victory over Benetton at Parc y Scarlets.
It looked set to be a comfortable home victory when Scarlets went 14-0 up after six minutes and then Benetton had flanker Francesco Minto sent off for a dangerous tackle in the 24th.
But after 70 minutes the visitors, who had been 21-7 down, found themselves 28-21 up with a bonus point and all set to celebrate their first win in Europe for more nearly three years.
Scarlets’ nerves held firm however to set up a grandstand finish and score two tries in the final four minutes to claim their first win in Pool Five.
Scarlets’ try scorers were scrumhalf Gareth Davies (two), former Leinster player Tadhg Beirne and Steff Evans with Leigh Halfpenny kicking three conversions and Rhys Patchell one. Benetton’s tries came from number eight Robert Barbieri, fullback Jayden Hayward, wing Angelo Esposito and lock Federico, with flyhalf Tommaso Allen kicking four conversions.
Toulon 24 Bath 20
Chris Ashton had his blushes saved by a moment of individual brilliance from Toulon’s new France international Anthony Belleau after his howler almost gifted Bath a notable away win.
Playing at fullback for the French giants, the former England wing, a Champions Cup winner in the last two seasons with Saracens, gifted the English side a try in the 62nd minute with a complete miskick from behind his posts as he attempted to clear his lines.
The ball came off the side of his boot and bounced on the line and allowed Jonathan Joseph to snap up the ball, and the sucker try. Rhys Priestland’s conversion made it 20-15 and Bath were back in control of the game.
But Belleau, a 72nd-minute replacement for the injured Francois Trinh-Duc, put his side back in front with a kick-and-chase try from five metres out that changed the face of the game a mere three minutes after coming on, teeing his men up for a 24-20 win.
Castres 16 Racing 92 13
Benjamin Urdapilleta’s late penalty saw Castres edge past Racing 92 with a 16-13 win in Champions Cup Pool Four and edge them ahead of Munster ahead of the late kick-off at Thomond Park.
The sides were locked at 6-6 at half-time after two penalties apiece from Urdapilleta and Maxime Machenaud before a try from Edwin Maka, which was converted by Machenaud, put Racing in front.
The visitors looked set to hold on for victory until Maama Vaipulu crossed for a converted score in the 73rd minute, before Urdapilleta slotted the crucial kick.
Racing missed two late penalty attempts through Antoine Gilbert and Teddy Iribaren as Castres held on for their first win in the competition.
Northampton 32 Ospreys 43
Northampton pushed hard in a second-half fightback but couldn’t overcome Ospreys as they fell to a 43-32 Champions Cup defeat at Franklin’s Gardens.
Jeff Hassler and Dan Evans both scored twice for Ospreys, with Tom Habberfield and Kieron Fonotia also dotting down and Sam Davies adding five conversions and a penalty in an accomplished flyhalf display.
Northampton did produce some late fireworks, scoring five times in the second half through skipper Dylan Hartley, Nic Groom, Rob Horne, Ahsee Tuala and Harry Mallinder, but it was not enough to prevent a ninth defeat in 10 games in all competitions.
Mallinder and Ospreys’ Rob McCusker were sin-binned for their part in a brawl late on and the visitors’ Hanno Dirksen saw red for a high tackle on JP Estelles.
Northampton have now been beaten in all three Champions Cup matches and their hopes of progression from the pool stages are already over.