Heineken Cup - Northampton victory boosts Euro hopes

Northampton kick-started their Heineken Cup campaign with a priceless victory at Franklin's Gardens that put them firmly back in the Pool One mix.

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Premiership - Foden inspires Saints to big win
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Ben Foden (PA Photos)

Star-studded Welsh region the Ospreys, though, are facing an early exit after they were unable to recover from last weekend's home defeat against Leinster.

Number eight Samu Manoa, lock Christian Day and full-back Ben Foden scored tries for the Saints, with fly-half Stephen Myler converting all three touchdowns and booting two penalties as Northampton triumphed 27-16.

Wales fly-half Dan Biggar posted all the Ospreys' points from a try, conversion and three penalties, yet they now have a mountain to climb in a group that also includes reigning French champions Castres, conquerors of Northampton eight days ago.

Saints, though, can look forward to home and away appointments with three-time European champions Leinster when the tournament resumes in December, content that they will be major players in the inevitable scramble for last eight places.

Harlequins' Heineken Cup hopes have been left hanging by a thread as Clermont condemned them to a second successive Pool Four defeat.

Conor O'Shea's men put up a brave fight against last season's finalists and were rewarded with Tom Williams' try on the stroke of half-time.

But the damage had already been done for the Aviva Premiership outfit in central France as first-half tries from Lee Byrne, Wesley Fofana and Thierry Lacrampe handed Clermont a much-needed 23-16 win - but no valuable bonus point.

And, although Nick Evans scored a drop goal with the final kick of the game to give his team-mates a deserved losing bonus point, the writing is on the wall for Quins because no team has qualified for the knockout stages of the competition following two opening losses.

Second half tries from Tim Swinson and Tyrone Holmes were enough to confirm Glasgow's first Heineken Cup victory of the season.

The Warriors had to wait for their final group game last season before collecting a win but they have already got themselves off the mark just two games into this year's competition after beating Exeter 20-16.

An exchange of penalties saw the Chiefs lead 9-6 at half-time but lock Swinson's try following a moment of brilliance from Niko Matawalu nine minutes into the second half set the hosts on target for victory.

Flanker Holmes added a second seven minutes from time before visiting number eight Dave Ewers ensured Exeter left with a losing bonus point that sees them draw level with Toulon at the top of Pool 2.

James Hook kicked 11 points in another impressive performance as Perpignan ended Edinburgh's mini revival with a 31-14 victory.

The Scottish side caused one of the biggest shocks of round one with a victory over Munster, having gone into the match on the back of five consecutive defeats.

But the Catalan giants proved too strong on Sunday and put Alan Solomon's team to the sword with a commanding second-half performance.

Tim Visser's first-half try put the visitors in the ascendancy but they were blown away as Perpignan secured a maximum-points haul with tries from Wandile Mjekevu (two), Joffrey Michel and Justin Purll.

Cornell Du Preez crossed in the closing stages but it was merely a consolation for Edinburgh, who left France empty-handed.

The result has blown Pool Six wide open, with every team having won once in the opening rounds of the European competition.

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