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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 December 2005, 19:05 GMT
European Challenge Cup R3 review
London Irish survived a late Agen fightback for a well-deserved 29-21 Challenge Cup win over the French side.

The Exiles moved into a comfortable 17-7 lead at the interval after scores from Paul Franze and Riki Flutey.

And their lead was then stretched to 22 points with 20 minutes left when Delon Armitage and Rodd Penney ran in for tries of their own.

But the size of their lead saw them ease off and let Agen get to within eight points before the final whistle.

In Sunday's other Cup game, Border Reivers held out to beat 1997 Heineken Cup champions Brive 25-22 at Netherdale.

Andy Miller and Garry Law both touched down to move the Scottish side 12-5 ahead at half-time.

And Gregor Townsend's ever-reliable boot ensured Borders kept themselves just ahead in the dyring moments.

Dave Walder scored 31 points as Newcastle defeated L'Aquila 86-0 to effectively guarantee a European Challenge Cup quarter-final spot on Saturday.

The Falcons playmaker ran in three of his side's 14 tries and slotted over eight conversions.

Prop Robbie Morris, flanker Cory Harris and England centre Jamie Noon each managed two tries apiece.

Newcastle were without Jonny Wilkinson, who is still out with his latest injury setback - a groin complaint.

Equally convincing winners were Gloucester, who romped past Toulon 74-3.

Mark Foster ran in three of the Cherry and Whites' 10 tries, while there were two tries apiece for Pete Richards and Jake Boer.

Ludovic Mercier helped the score rate tick over with 24 points from his spot kicks.

Elsewhere, Shane Drahm clocked up 20 points as Worcester netted a valuable 30-20 win over Connacht.

It gave the Warriors the lead in Pool 5 ahead of their away tie against the Irish side next weekend.

The match was tense to the final minute of the match when Draham converted Drew Hickey's try.

Northampton produced a hard-earned 32-30 win over Narbonne, Bruce Reihana topping the scoresheets through a try and 12 kicked points.

Reihana and backrowers Dan Browne and Sam Harding gave Saints a handy 20-7 lead at half-time, but Narbonne produced a far stronger display after the break.

But Saints held on for the win to move them to the top of Pool 1.

Bristol kept their European Challenge Cup hopes alive with a valuable 39-23 win over Viadana in Italy on Friday.

Stand-in skipper Dan Ward-Smith scored the first of his two tries, with centre Rob Higgitt also crossing, as the English side led 17-6 at the break.

Despite losing Argentine lock Mariano Sambucetti to the sin-bin, further tries by Ward-Smith, Vaughan Going and Lee Robinson saw them home.

Viadana bagged two late tries but Bristol are now in the last-eight mix.

Victory lifts them, temporarily at least, above Narbonne and Northampton, who meet at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday.

Home wins over Narbonne and Viadana in the closing rounds should be enough for Bristol to seal a quarter-final spot.




SEE ALSO
European Challenge Cup round-up
30 Oct 05 |  European Club
European Challenge Cup - round-up
22 Oct 05 |  European Club


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