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Leicester Tigers fail their Clermont test

Clermont Auvergne and Leicester Tigers served up a 70-point thriller at the Stade Marcel Michelin, with the French side prevailing.

Clermont Auvergne and Leicester Tigers served up a 70-point thriller at the Stade Marcel Michelin, with the French side prevailing to leapfrog the Tigers in the Pool Three standings. Leicester looked to be heading for an embarrassing defeat when they found themselves 35-9 down with 10 minutes remaining but they launched a stirring fightback, scoring three converted tries through Anthony Allen, Toby Flood and Jeremy Staunton, but it proved too little, too late as they went down 40-30.

Bath kept alive their hopes of qualifying from Pool Four with a 16-9 win over Edinburgh. Pieter Dixon and Michael Stephenson both crossed the line for Steve Meehan's side in the first period, with Nicky Little kicking a penalty. The visitors kept in touch thanks to three penalties from the boot of Chris Paterson but Little settled things by kicking his second penalty on 71 minutes, the only points of the second-half.

Sale blew a massive hole in Harlequins campaign in a thrilling encounter at The Stoop. The 29-19 victory revives Sale's hopes, but three defeats leave Quins rock bottom of Pool Five and requiring an escape act to reach the quarter-finals. Tries from Dwayne Peel, Nick MacLeod and Dave Seymour helped the Sharks to a 24-12 half-time lead, with Nick Evans, the New Zealand fly-half, and David Strettle crossing for Quins.

England No 8 Nick Easter drove over early in the second half for the home side but Ben Cohen scored soon after for Sale. "They had four chances and they scored four tries," said the Quins coach John Kingston. "It's been a massively disappointing Heineken Cup campaign." Biarritz blitzed the Newport Gwent Dragons, 49-13, to confirm their credentials as major contenders this season. The French side, beaten finalists three years ago, opened up a nine-point gap as Pool Two leaders ahead of next Friday's return fixture in Newport.

Biarritz battered the Dragons into submission up front, and they claimed a bonus-point try just after half-time when England back Iain Balshaw touched down for the first of his double. Wing Takudzwa Ngwenya, scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili and substitute Valentin Courrent also crossed, while there was a penalty try and seven successful kicks from Yachvili, who finished with 22 points, before Courrent slotted the final conversion.

* With agencies

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