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Junior scores in win

Planet Rugby
Sunday, January 14, 2018

JUNIOR Rasolea scored a crucial try to help Edinburgh join Gloucester secure their places in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals following victories over Stade Français and Agen respectively.

Gloucester produced a stunning first-half display to secure their passage into the last eight of Europe's second-tier competition following a dominant 45-24 triumph over Agen.a

The Cherry and Whites have enjoyed an excellent campaign in comparison to their French opponents and it showed on Friday night.

Johan Ackermann's men began at pace and were 21-0 up after 20 minutes thanks to two Henry Purdy efforts and another from Callum Braley.

Marco Kotze responded for the hosts but the away side went into the break 23 points in front after Jason Woodward went over.

Gloucester continued to dominate after the interval with Mark Atkinson touching down for a 35-5 buffer.

Agen did hit back via Johann Sadie and Akapusi Qera before Owen Williams' penalty and Ed Slater's try restored the visitors' authority on proceedings.

Philippe Sella's men had the final word as Jesse Jegerlehner crossed the whitewash, but it proved to be a comfortable victory for the Cherry and Whites.

Meanwhile Edinburgh made sure that they would finish Pool 4 at the summit after battling to a narrow 34-33 victory over Stade Français.

Having won their previous four matches with bonus-points, this was much tougher for the Scottish outfit and they were initially thankful to the accuracy off the tee of Sam Hidalgo-Clyne.

The scrum-half opened his account early on but Jules Plisson kicked two penalties of his own to take the French outfit ahead.

Hidalgo-Clyne then levelled matters from the tee before Jonathan Danty was yellow carded, an indiscretion which allowed Edinburgh's kicker to take the hosts back in front.

Just shy of the break, the home side's half-back added his fourth effort for a six-point buffer, but they were under pressure in the initial exchanges of the second period.

Firstly, Plisson reduced the arrears before Sekou Macalou touched down as the visitors went into the lead.

Edinburgh hit back via Hamish Watson but, in a topsy-turvy encounter, Plisson equalised and Waisea Nayacalevu crossed the whitewash.

Richard Cockerill's team were not done, however, and went back in front through Jaco van der Walt's try and penalty. Although Giorgi Melikidze regained Stade's advantage, Junior Rasolea scored late on and Blair Kinghorn converted to win the game for the Scots.

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