Heineken Cup - Saints crash out, Exiles alive
Northampton Saints crashed out of the Heineken Cup after a loss of discipline saw them beaten by Castres, but London Irish stayed alive after a great win at Racing Metro.
Castres 41-22 Northampton Saints
Northampton's indiscipline cost them dearly as Castres ended their participation in this season's Heineken Cup with 41-22 success.
The Aviva Premiership side produced a real Jekyll and Hyde performance and were well beaten, with fly-half Stephen Myler and flanker Tom Wood both sin-binned in the first and second half.
The French side took full advantage, with Steve Malonga, Romain Martial (two) and Ibrahim Diarra all crossing for tries. Romain Teulet also kicked 21 points for the hosts.
Mark Sorenson, Samu Manoa and a brace from Jamie Elliott were the try-scorers for the Saints, but it was not enough.
Racing Metro 14-34 London Irish
London Irish kept their Heineken Cup hopes alive with a stunning 34-14 bonus-point success over Racing Metro.
A brace of tries in less than five minutes halfway through the second period set the Exiles on their way to their first win of the competition as they bounced back from previous defeats to Edinburgh and Cardiff Blues.
Impressive scores from Joe Ansbro and Adam Thompstone turned the game on its head after 54 and 57 minutes respectively, before the latter claimed his second with seven minutes remaining at the Stade Yves Du Manoir.
Jonathan Spratt went over in the first half for Irish, with Delon Armitage and Adrian Jarvis kicking the rest of their points.
Sereli Bobo touched down for Racing, with Gaeton Germain kicking two penalties and Jonathan Wisniewski adding a drop-goal.
Saracens 31-26 Ospreys
Saracens marched to the top of their Heineken Cup pool with a 31-26 victory over the Ospreys in an entertaining clash at Wembley Stadium.
Rhys Gill, Ernst Joubert and Chris Wyles scored the tries and Owen Farrell, the 20-year-old who is in contention for a place in England's RBS 6 Nations squad, kicked 16 points.
The Ospreys kept themselves in touch with a brace of tries from Ashley Beck while Dan Biggar kicked the rest to ensure they left London with the consolation of a losing bonus point.
Saracens head into next weekend's rematch at the Liberty Stadium top of Pool Five with 10 points, three ahead of Biarritz and the Ospreys.
Connacht 10-14 Gloucester
Freddie Burns landed the decisive penalty as Gloucester clawed their way past Connacht 14-10 - their first win in this season's Heineken Cup.
Burns kicked the Aviva Premiership side 6-0 ahead at the Sportsground before James Simpson-Daniel and Connacht captain Gavin Duffy swapped tries coming up to half-time.
The second period was bookended by penalties from Niall O'Connor and Burns as the Cherry and Whites stood firm to pick up only their second away victory in all competitions since February.
Scarlets 14-17 Munster
Ronan O'Gara celebrated his 100th Heineken Cup appearance with 12 points as Munster saw off the Scarlets 17-14 in a rousing European clash at Parc y Scarlets.
The other points for the Irish came with a first-half try for flanker Niall Ronan. It was Munster's 13th straight win over the Scarlets.
The Scarlets, who had a try for flanker Aaron Shingler, two penalties for Rhys Priestland and one for Stephen Jones, led twice but could not match Munster's more streetwise approach.
Benetton Treviso 30-26 Biarritz
The boot of Kristopher Burton proved the difference as he helped Benetton Treviso secure an impressive 30-26 win over French side Biarritz.
The Italian side had gone into the Heineken Cup Pool 5 game with an unbeaten home record in the competition, and Burton helped them maintain that with 13 points.
Michele Rizzo, Robert Barbieri and Cornelius van Zyl touched down for Treviso, with Pelu Taele-Pvihi, Marcelo Bosch, Damien Traille and Yann Lesgourgues replying for Biarritz.