Article

Montpellier into quarters, nervous wait for Leinster

19 January 2013 23:38

Montpellier beat Toulon 23-3 on Saturday to qualify for the Heineken Cup quarterfinals, while defending champions Leinster stayed alive.

Tries from Thomas Combezou and Benoit Paillaugue, who converted both and also booted three penalties, gave the home side a victory that assured them of a place in the last eight for the first time in their history.

Montpellier, playing just days after the death of forwards coach Eric Bechu, finished their Pool 6 campaign on 22 points, enough to take one of the two best runners-up spots.

They join Harlequins, Ulster, Clermont Auvergne and Toulon in reaching the final eight of Europe's top club competition.

The six pool winners plus the two best second-place teams advance, with the final three places determined by Sunday's final round of games.

Two-time defending champions Leinster defeated Exeter 29-20 but face a nail biting Sunday which could end their hopes of a fourth title in five years.

The Irish side finished second in Pool 5 behind runaway leaders Clermont and can only make the quarter-finals by claiming the remaining best runners-up spot.

Leinster finished their group campaign with 20 points, but Irish rivals Munster can deny them a quarter-final spot if they score four tries and beat Racing Metro.

Unbeaten Clermont Auvergne booked a home quarter-final with a bonus-point 29-0 victory over Scarlets, who suffered their second competition whitewash in 17 years of European rugby.

In other results, Glasgow beat Northampton 27-20 after Peter Horne scored a dazzling last-gasp try to put an end to the Saints' campaign.

Ulster booked themselves a home tie in the quarter-finals with a scrappy 9-8 win over Castres at Stade Pierre-Antoine.

Finally, Cardiff Blues secured their first victory of a miserable season at the Arms Park, beating Sale Sharks 26-14.

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