Exeter thrash Worcester to advance
February 1, 2014
Ceri Sweeney rounds off a comprehensive win for Exeter © Getty Images
Exeter ensured it will be an all-English affair in the LV= Cup semi-finals with a resounding 42-3 win away at Worcester Warriors.
Tries from Tom James and Gareth Steenson put Exeter well on their way in the first half, while the latter was also on song from the kicking tee as the visitors opened up an 18-3 lead. Worcester were unable to add to Chris Pennell's first-half score after the break, as Exeter edged away with another Steenson penalty.
To rub salt in the wounds of Worcester the visitors ran in three late tries, with Haydn Thomas grabbing two and Ceri Sweeney adding another at the death to continue Worcester's miserable season. The win moved Exeter top of Pool 2 and into the knockout stage.
Joining them there are Northampton Saints, who secured safe passage with a 20-16 win over Saracens - who were already assured of a place in the semi-finals.
Northampton's place was all but assured as James Wilson and two from Samu Manoa saw them over the line, though a converted try and three penalties from Ben Spencer kept the Premiership leaders in with a shout until the final whistle. The win means Northampton earn the home semi-final at Saracens' expense.
Bath booked a home semi-final after a convincing four-try victory over Leicester Tigers at Welford Road on Friday evening.
The 35-17 win means Bath top pool three with a perfect record of four wins from four games, while two-time champions Leicester crashed out of the competition after finishing behind Sale and Exeter in pool two. It was Leicester's third successive defeat in all competitions, their second at home.
Bath scored two tries in each half to earn a bonus point and after leading 18-17 at half-time they dominated the second period, winning it 17-0. Their tries came from Alafoti Fa'osiliva, Matt Banahan, Ollie Devoto and Carl Fearns while Gavin Henson kicked 15 points.
Dave Sisi charges forward for Bath © Getty Images
Leicester, who had George Chuter sin-binned at the start of the second half, replied with tries from Pablo Matera and Blaine Scully, with Owen Williams kicking seven points.
Sam Davies kicked a last minute touchline conversion to end Sale Sharks' hopes of reaching the LV= Cup semi-finals and give Ospreys a 37-36 win at Bridgend.
The English club needed a bonus point win to keep their hopes alive they looked on their way as they led 28-13 at the break. However, the Ospreys bounced back from 36-20 down after 55 minutes - with wing Aiesa Natoga to complete a try-hat-trick.
A five-try victory was not enough to take the Blues through to the semi-finals of the LV= Cup - but a 35-5 success will boost their confidence as they return to RaboDirect PRO12 duties next weekend.
Harlequins were in many ways the architects of their downfall. Their ambition was admirable, but their handling frequently let them down at vital moments. The Blues' scores came thanks to efforts from Filo Paulo, Gavin Evans, Dan Fish, Tom Williams and Marc Breeze while Harlequins profited from Ollie Lindsay Hague's try.
And Newcastle ended their LV= Cup campaign on a high note with a 29-0 win over Newport Gwent Dragons at Kingston Park.
On a gluepot pitch both sides displayed surprisingly good handling in the first half but the Falcons dominated the possession and ran in four tries, three of them before the break, as Newport struggled to match them up front. It was different story after the break the game disintegrated on the back of myriad changes from the benches and any hopes Newport may have had of a comeback were dashed when they had centre Nic Cudd sent off for a spear tackle on Adam Powell in the 56th minute.
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