Exeter Chiefs will face Toulouse in the European Champions Cup semi-finals after overcoming fellow Premiership side Northampton Saints.

The Chiefs reached the last four of the Champions Cup for the first time in their history thanks to a 38-15 triumph at Sandy Park on Sunday.

It was a scoreline that did not reflect how close the encounter was at one stage, with Northampton – who went ahead through Dan Biggar's early penalty – only four points behind at half-time.

However, second-half tries from Jack Nowell, Jonny Hill and Jacques Vermeulen, who also went over in the first half, put Exeter out of sight.

Sandy Park will be the venue for Exeter's semi-final on Saturday, as they take on Toulouse, who comfortably dispatched Ulster 36-8 at Stade Ernest Wallon.

Cheslin Kolbe was the star, with the South Africa wing scoring twice in a dominant display.

Kolbe grabbed both of his tries during the first half, with Antoine Dupont, Pita Ahki and Thomas Ramos getting in on the act after the interval, before John Cooney got a late consolation for Ulster.

Leinster beat Ulster 27-5 to claim a third successive Pro14 title in emphatic fashion on Saturday.

Heading into Saturday's clash in Dublin looking to extend their undefeated run, Leinster fell behind after four minutes.

James Hume ran in a fantastic opener for Ulster, who were in the hunt for their first trophy since 2005-06.

However, James Lowe quickly got Leinster on track, with any hopes of an Ulster comeback swiftly extinguished after the break.

Billy Burns' pass – which seemed to have been aimed at Marcell Coetzee – was gathered in by Robbie Henshaw, who burst over for Leinster's second, with Caelan Doris' score swinging the match firmly in the holders' favour.

It was enough to secure a 17th straight Pro14 win, with Leinster becoming the first side in the competition's history to take the title seven times and on three consecutive occasions.

With one piece of silverware secured, Leinster's focus will now switch to next weekend's Champions Cup quarter-final tie with Saracens.

Ulster staged a thrilling late comeback to deny Edinburgh and book a Pro14 final against defending champions Leinster.

Trailing by 12 heading into the closing stages at Murrayfield, the visitors scored 15 unanswered points to win 22-19 and reach their first final for seven years.

Ian Madigan – who had previously scored a clutch conversion – put a last-minute penalty through the posts after Michael Willemse was penalised for a deliberate knock-on.

That capped the fightback after tries from Rob Herring and John Andrew had hauled Ulster level.

Prior to the late drama, it appeared Ulster would fall at the last-four stage against Scottish opposition for the second straight season, having failed to get the better of Glasgow Warriors in last year's semi-finals.

Stuart McInally forced his way over to give Edinburgh a five-point half-time lead, before scores from Darcy Graham and Chris Dean extended their advantage despite an impressive try from Ulster wing Rob Lyttle.

But Edinburgh folded late in the contest and their wait to win the competition continues, having lost their only appearance in the final 11 years ago.

The dramatic match on Saturday came after Leinster defeated Munster 13-3 on Friday to remain on course for a third consecutive title and seventh overall.

The Scarlets face a nervous wait to see if they qualify for the Pro14 play-offs after an impressive 41-20 win over the much-changed Dragons on Saturday kept them in contention.

In a thrilling contest at Rodney Parade, Scarlets enjoyed a significant advantage in the scrums and had Dan Jones produce a fine display at fly-half, but it was not all plain-sailing for the visitors.

Scarlets held a slender four-point advantage at the break, with Samson Lee, Steff Evans and Jamie Davies touching down, while Jared Rosser and Taine Basham scored at the other end.

But Scarlets charged ahead after the interval, with Johnny McNicholl, Tom Rogers and Dane Blacker getting in on the act, while Jones' kicks were on the money five times.

The six-try victory secured Scarlets a bonus point, which moves them second in Conference B, but they need Connacht to do them a favour against Munster on Sunday otherwise their season will be over.

In Conference A, Leinster and Ulster have already made sure of their places in the play-offs, though the latter will be concerned about their chances in the next stage after disappointing in the two teams' meeting on Saturday.

Leinster, who gave many fringe players the opportunity to impress, claimed a brilliant 28-10 win at the Aviva Stadium.

Ed Byrne's early try sent them on their way, with the boot of Ross Byrne giving them a 13-0 lead at half-time.

Ulster were a little more threatening in the second 40, with Rob Herring getting them back in contention by finishing in the 53rd minute, but Scott Penny and Harry Byrne went over late on to wrap up a superb victory.

Ashton Hewitt salvaged a 20-20 Pro14 draw for the Dragons against the Ospreys after George North was sent off.

Wales wing North scored the opening try but saw red after only 14 minutes for taking Hewitt out in the air at the Liberty Stadium.

Yet still the Ospreys looked set to hold on for only a third victory of the season.

They led 20-15 at the break after Sam Perry also went over and Stephen Myler scored 10 points with the boot, Hewitt and Leon Brown touching down at the other end.

The Dragons could not find a way through a resolute Ospreys defence until Hewitt slid over in the corner right at the end, Sam Davies missing a chance to win it when his conversion attempt sailed wide.

Connacht got the better of Irish rivals Ulster 26-20 in their penultimate match of the regular season at the Aviva Stadium.

John Porch and Kieran Marmion finished to give Connacht a 14-6 advantage at the interval, with Bundee Aki – making his 100th appearance for the club – and Jack Aungier dotting down in the second half.

Jacob Stockdale and Nick Timoney scored the Ulster tries but they slumped to a defeat ahead of a clash with leaders Leinster before the Final Series.

Ireland duo Jordi Murphy and Will Addison have signed new two-year deals with Ulster.

Back row Murphy and utility back Addison were coming to the end of their contracts but have agreed new terms while the season has been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Jacob Stockdale was among the players who had already opted to remain with the Pro14 club, who have also signed fly-half Ian Madigan and scrum-half Alby Mathewson.

Head coach Dan McFarland said after Ulster's squad for next season was announced: "Our desire to build on the successes of this season to date is evidenced in our strong investment in talent from the current squad.

"Although it's an uncertain time for rugby, and all sport, I am confident our selection will stand us in good stead for when we are able to safely start the new season."

He added: "Looking to the future, we look forward to welcoming the new additions to the squad, who are set to bring their own unique skills and talent, as we move towards a time when the 2020-21 season can kick-off."

The Premiership has been suspended for five weeks and the quarter-finals of the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Premiership Rugby's decision followed new guidance from the United Kingdom government on Monday.

British prime minister Boris Johnson encouraged people to avoid mass gatherings and all "non-essential" travel and contact with others.

"The safety of our fans, players and staff is our first priority, and we would like to wish all of those who are affected our heartfelt best wishes and a very speedy recovery," a Premiership Rugby statement read.

"We'll continue to work closely with DCMS [the Departure for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport] and Public Health England, and to follow the advice of medical experts, and work with our clubs to help them to support their own wider communities at this time."

The decision to call off the European rugby season was taken during a conference call on Monday.

It means the matches in the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup scheduled for April 3, 4 and 5 will not now go ahead as planned, although organisers hope to rearrange the fixtures for later dates.

In a statement, the board of European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) said: "While respecting all further directives by governments and local authorities, EPCR, in conjunction with the relevant leagues and unions, remains committed to trying to find a solution which will enable it to complete the 2019-20 Champions Cup and Challenge Cup tournaments at such a time as that aligns with preventative measures undertaken by an overwhelming majority of sport's governing bodies and tournament organisers in Europe.  

"EPCR's priority is the health and welfare of players and club staff, and an update regarding the knockout stages of the tournaments will be communicated to all stakeholders as soon as practicable."

Zebre and Benetton Treviso have each had their Pro14 fixtures for this weekend postponed due to the threat posed by the coronavirus.

Parma-based club Zebre were due to face Ospreys while Treviso were set to host Ulster.

However, both fixtures will now have to be rearranged, with restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, known officially as Covid-19, forcing the games to be called off.

There have been 209 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Italy, with the death toll officially rising to five on Monday.

A Pro14 statement read: "Both Guinness PRO14 fixtures set to take place in Italy this weekend have been postponed due to the restrictions enforced by national and local authorities dealing with the threat posed by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

"The current restrictions are in place until Sunday, March 1, 2020 and PRO14 Rugby will remain in contact with the FIR [Italian Union], Zebre Rugby Club, Benetton Rugby and World Rugby to monitor situation on a daily basis."

Four Serie A football matches were postponed on Sunday, including Inter's clash with Sampdoria.

Saturday's scheduled Serie B match between Ascoli and Cremonese was postponed and up to 88 amateur football games were also called off.

Ulster and Glasgow Warriors both claimed victories on Saturday to keep themselves in pole position for a place in the Pro14 play-off quarter-finals.

Second in Conference A, Ulster bounced back from an away defeat at Ospreys last time out as they ran out 20-10 winners over Cheetahs.

Tries from Tom O'Toole and Robert Baloucoune proved enough for Ulster to claim their eighth win of the season and maintain their unbeaten run at home in all competitions this campaign.

Clayton Blommetjies drove over for Cheetahs with 15 minutes remaining, but the visitors did not have enough to set up a grandstand finish.

Glasgow, meanwhile, moved up to third in Conference A with a 30-19 comeback victory over Dragons, who took the lead through a Rhodri Williams try in the first minute.

The Warriors swiftly hit back via Tim Swinson and Grant Stewart to take a 10-point lead into the break.

Williams got his second for Dragons while Stewart doubled his tally for the home side and Huw Jones secured the bonus point after being dropped by Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend.

Ashton Hewitt's try brought Dragons back into contention but Mesu Dolokoto's late score made sure of a third straight win for Glasgow.

Luke Price booted the Ospreys to a stunning 26-24 victory over Ulster and Leinster maintained their 100 per cent Pro14 record by defeating the Cheetahs on Saturday.

The Ospreys had only one Pro14 victory to their name in the competition against Benetton Treviso back in October, but doubled their tally with a shock success as Storm Dennis battered Swansea.

Ulster, second in Conference A behind Leinster, came from 23-10 down to take a one-point lead courtesy of tries from Matt Faddes and Stuart McCloskey, Bill Johnston converting both scores in the space of nine minutes.

Scott Otten had scored a try in each half for the home side after Owen Watkin's five-pointer, but they looked set for more agony until Price split the posts with his third penalty of the match five minutes from time to lift the gloom.

The Leinster juggernaut rolled on at the RDS Arena, where Will Connors grabbed a double and there were also tries for Michael Bent, Ronan Kelleher and Rhys Ruddock in a commanding 36-12 victory.

Luan de Bruin and Aidon Davis crossed for the Cheetahs, third in Conference A, but they were soundly beaten by the defending champions.

Edinburgh completed a double over the Scarlets with a 14-9 win in Llanelli to return to the summit of Conference B, Duhan van der Merwe and Matt Scott scoring the only tries.

Connacht thumped Cardiff Blues 29-0, while the encounter between the Dragons and Treviso, due to be played at Rodney Parade, was called off due to the extreme weather conditions. 

Ulster secured a European Champions Cup quarter-final spot with a 22-15 defeat of Bath, while Northampton Saints and Glasgow Warriors stayed in the hunt for qualification on Saturday.

Clermont Auvergne sealed top spot in Pool 3 with a 26-19 victory at Harlequins, but Ulster knew a defeat of Bath would see them through as one of three best-placed runners-up.

The Pro14 side got the job done in the second half after the two sides were level at 7-7 at the break, Robert Baloucoune and Will Addison going over to add to a first-half try from Marcell Coetzee before Billy Burns was on target with a penalty.

Tries from Ruaridh McConnochie and Ross Batty, who was later red-carded for a no-arms tackle on John Cooney, were not enough for Bath to end the competition on a high note.

Northampton did all they could to advance as runners-up with a 36-24 victory at Top 14 high-flyers Lyon in Pool 1.

The Saints will go progress if either Saracens or Gloucester fail to pick up maximum points wins on Sunday after Mike Haywood, Teimana Harrison, Cobus Reinach, George Furbank and James Fish touched down in a bonus-point triumph at Matmut Stade de Gerland.

Glasgow must hope defending champions Sarries, whose relegation from the Premiership at the of the season for persistent salary-cap breaches was announced on Saturday, and Gloucester slip up after demolishing Sale Sharks 45-7 in Pool 2.

Leone Nakarawa set the tone early on with one of six Glasgow tries at the AJ Bell Stadium, where Adam Hastings scored 15 points from the tee.

Leinster made it six victories out of six in Pool 1 with an 18-0 defeat of Benetton Treviso, while Sam Simmonds grabbed a double as Pool 2 winners Exeter Chiefs saw off La Rochelle 33-14 at Sandy Park.

Beleaguered Sarries host Racing 92 on the final day of pool matches reeling from the announcement that they will drop of out of the Premiership, while Gloucester travel to Toulouse.

Saracens kept their European Champions Cup defence alive despite Rhys Carre's early red card at Ospreys, while Clermont Auvergne, Toulouse and Exeter Chiefs booked quarter-final spots.

Prop Carre was shown a straight red card for a shoulder-led tackle on Dan Evans just four minutes in, but the reigning champions went on to claim a crucial 22-15 triumph at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

Fly-half Manu Vunipola was successful with his six efforts from the tee, which consisted of five penalties and the conversion of Alex Lewington's try off Richard Wigglesworth's box kick.

Sarries consequently moved up to second in Pool 4 and three points behind Racing 92, who face Munster on Sunday.

A battling 31-31 draw with Glasgow Warriors was sufficient for Exeter to reach the last eight for just the second time in their history, with only the crossbar denying them the win via a 60-yard Stuart Hogg penalty beyond the 80th minute against his former club.

Tommy Seymour touched down in the opening minute as the Warriors surged into an early 14-3 lead, but Matt Kvesic's double helped ensure the Chiefs got a bonus point and progressed as Pool 2 winners.

Second-half tries from Alivereti Raka and George Moala led Clermont from behind to a 29-13 win at home to Ulster, the Top 14 side taking control of Pool 3.

Toulouse guaranteed a last-eight berth by winning 21-7 at Connacht. Jerome Kaino, Julien Marchand and Pita Ahki cross for the visitors, who were reduced to 13 men in the closing stages when Zack Holmes saw red for a dangerous tackle after Yoann Huget was sent to the sin bin.

Gloucester lost Danny Cipriani to injury after 12 minutes but remained in contention to advance as one of the three best runners-up with a 29-6 bonus-point win against Montpellier.

Ben Morgan, Louis Rees-Zammit and Todd Gleave marked their returns to the starting line-up with tries, the latter coming after Paul Willemse was shown a yellow card for collapsing the maul.

John Cooney claimed an 18-point haul as Ulster beat Munster 38-17 and the Scarlets edged a derby win over Cardiff Blues to go top of Pro14 Conference B on Friday.

Ulster followed up their 35-3 thumping of Connacht with another commanding performance at Kingspan, outscoring Munster by five tries to two to sit six points behind Conference A leaders Leinster in second place.

Scrum-half Cooney made a statement on a night in which he came up against Ireland's first-choice scrum-half Conor Murray, while it proved to be a miserable first start of the season for fit-again Munster fly-half Joey Carbery.

Shane Daly's try put Munster, beaten by champions Leinster last time out, in front but Cooney and Robert Baloucoune crossed at the other end, both scores converted by Cooney after he was also on target with a penalty.

Carbery's penalty reduced the deficit to 17-10 at the break, but Ulster ran away with it in the second half to maintain their unbeaten home record in the competition this season, Matty Rea, Stuart McCloskey and Jacob Stockdale touching down in a bonus-point triumph.

Gareth Davies scored his 50th Scarlets try as the Welsh region won 16-14 at Cardiff Arms Park to replace Munster at the summit. 

Davies reached the landmark in style in the first half with a stunning solo score and Leigh Halfpenny scored the other points for the visitors from the tee as tries from Owen Lane and Josh Adams proved to be in vain for the Blues.

Leinster crossed eight times, with Max Deegan and Scott Penny each grabbing a pair of tries, to rout provincial rivals Ulster 54-42 on Friday.

The top two in Pro14's Conference A went head-to-head, but it was scarcely a contest as the leaders eased to an eighth win in eight despite accommodating a late Ulster flurry.

There were five Leinster tries before half-time, with Deegan opening the scoring inside three minutes following a TMO check.

Angus Kernohan hit back, but Penny had two scores in quick succession - either side of Matt Faddes' yellow card - as the hosts pulled clear, soon going over once more through Robbie Henshaw to swiftly clinch the bonus point.

Although Faddes boosted Ulster hopes, a 10-minute spell either side of the interval settled the contest, with Fergus McFadden, Rob Kearney and the jet-heeled Cian Kelleher each marking the scoresheet.

It was largely one-way traffic from that point, with Ulster belatedly allowed to take control, although Deegan's 63rd-minute try ensured there was ample breathing space for Leinster.

A score from Craig Gilroy, two by Greg Jones and another courtesy of Jonny Stewart, along with Josh Murphy's departure to the sin bin, at least saved some face for the beaten visitors.

Racing 92 moved six points clear at the top of Pool 4 by beating Ospreys 40-27 to record their ninth successive home pool win in the European Champions Cup.

The 2017-18 runners up were without Teddy Thomas, the competition's leading try-scorer, but Racing's two wings - Louis Dupichot and Juan Imhoff - scored three of their team's six tries to shine in the absence of their key man.

The French side had a 40-5 lead just 15 minutes into the second half and eased off as a result, with Ospreys scoring four of their five tries in the closing 23 minutes.

With the bonus-point win, Racing opened up a six-point gap above Munster, who face reigning champions Saracens on Saturday.

Luke Morgan's try saw Ospreys get on the board first but Dupichot, capitalising on a charged-down kick, and Imhoff, intercepting a wayward pass to run in, turned the game on its head.

The two wings combined again for Imhoff's second and full-back Simon Zebo secured the bonus point before half-time. 

Replacement Georges-Henri Colombe barged over after picking the ball up from the back of a ruck for a fifth Racing try and Yoan Tanga was similarly unstoppable from close range shortly after.

Ospreys salvaged some pride and made the scoreline more respectable, though, Lesley Klim handing off Zebo en route to his first try, with the wing adding a second score late on after Luke Price and Shaun Venter had also gone over. 

John Cooney scored 19 points to take his tally for the season to a tournament-leading 54 as Ulster defeated Harlequins 34-10 to move six points clear in Pool 3.

Ireland scrum-half Cooney contributed a try in each half, three conversions and an early penalty, with Ulster becoming the first team to win four games in this season's competition.

Luke Marshall, Matt Faddes and Tom O'Toole were Ulster's other try-scorers, Stephan Lewies providing Quins' only five-pointer.

Page 1 of 2
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.