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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 December 2005, 17:20 GMT
European Challenge Cup round-up
James Simpson-Daniel scores a try for Gloucester
Simpson-Daniel enjoyed his comeback for Gloucester
Newcastle stayed on course for the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals by thrashing Italian minnows L'Aquila 90-14 at Kingston Park on Sunday.

The Falcons racked up 14 tries for the second week in a row, Matt Thompson and Mike McCarthy each grabbing a brace.

Bristol also ran riot against Italian opposition, trouncing Viadana 89-5 at home to move to the top of Pool One.

Wings David Lemi and Lee Robinson ran in first-half hat-tricks, Lemi collecting a fourth in the second half.

Their pool should now be decided when they travel to Northampton on 14 January.

James Simpson-Daniel scored two tries on his comeback from a hip injury as Gloucester crushed Toulon 66-5 on Saturday.

Jake Boer also bagged a brace as the English side racked up 10 tries to remain on course for the last eight.

Worcester lost out 22-21 to Irish province Connacht in Galway to leave both sides fighting for top spot.

Flanker Matt Lacey crashed over eight minutes into injury-time to clinch a thrilling win for the home side.

London Irish staged a thrilling fightback to defeat Pool Two rivals Agen 32-24 in France, opening up a nine-point gap over their French challengers.

Agen led 24-12 at one stage, but Barry Everitt chipped away at the home side's advantage with two penalties before Irish scored two converted tries - from centre Paul Franze and full-back Delon Armitage - during injury time.

They are now just one more win away from the quarter-finals.

The Border Reivers' slender hopes of squeezing into the knock-out stages were snuffed out by Brive in a 34-28 defeat.

The Scots mounted a stirring fightback which took them to within a point of their hosts, but in the end they had to settle for a losign bonus point.

Scrum-half Johnny Howard inspired Northampton to a classy 22-7 win at Narbonne on Friday.

He was behind most of Saints' best moves as John Rudd's early try and three penalty goals from Bruce Reihana took them to a 14-7 half-time lead.

Reihana notched another penalty from long range after the break, and Ben Cohen then went over in the corner after good work from Jon Clarke.

Poor discipline cost Narbonne any chance they had of fighting back.

Northampton's England hooker Steve Thompson was sin binned in the first half.

But the home side's inspirational back-rower Christian Labit followed him, then incurred a second card, and try-scorer Franck Tournaire also saw yellow.

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