The second round of the Heineken Champions Cup Last-16 knockouts began Wednesday, with both ties on the line.
First up, Leinster, the four-time champions, welcomed Connacht to the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Leinster had a five-point lead going into the match thanks to their 26–21 triumph in Galway a week prior.
Despite having the better start of the two teams, Connacht succumbed to the full force of what an in-form Leinster can bring to the table, losing 56 – 20.
The result puts Leinster in line for a quarter-final showdown with an in-form Leicester Tigers, who thrashed Top14 giants Clermont Auvergne 29–10 in round one.
Sale Sharks and Bristol Bears played at Ashton Gate in Bristol in the second match of the bank holiday weekend. The Bears came into the game with a one-point advantage after a tense and close first round.
Despite having a one-point lead and playing at home, the Bears couldn’t get close to Sale, who won 35 – 29 despite being down a man for a considerable portion of the game.
Both teams scored numerous spectacular tries, but the Sharks’ were the most spectacular. Bristol’s jump was slightly off following a high hanging kick-off from Robert Du Preez to start the second half, resulting in the ball falling into Manu Tuilagi’s hands.
The England centre demonstrated why he is so important to both his club and his country’s success by barging his way forward before delivering a clever offload to a charging Jean-Luc Du Produce l, who in turn found winger Tom Roebuck for the score.