18 May, 15:44
It's down to the wire now for the five contenders who have been shortlisted for the ultimate individual accolade in northern hemisphere rugby, ERC European Player of the Year 2013.
Former Gloucester centre Terry Fanolua kept the French club in touch, but a
penalty try and a second-half try from Samoan Loki Crichton secured the
Brive can expect at least four points from their home match against Montauban
in the final round, but a solid win against Petrarca in Italy will give the
Falcons a healthy chance of progressing as one of the two best runners-up.
Meanwhile Guinness Premiership leaders Bristol were stunned in Wales as the
Dragons roared at Rodney Parade.
With the Newport Gwent Dragons bagging four points and Bristol one from the
17-11 home win, the sides are tied on 20 points at the top of Pool 1. The Welsh side have a tricky trip to Bayonne in the final round, and Bristol's home match against Bucuresti looks the easier task in the race to bag a home
The Dragons scored through United States international centre Paul Emerick and classy winger Gareth Wyatt, with Wales centre Ceri Sweeney adding eight crucial points with the boot.
Bristol were limited to two penalty goals from New Zealander David Hill in the
first half, and a second-half try from winger Lee Robinson gave the visitors a
bonus point that could prove the difference in the final analysis.
Bath continued their romp through the tournament with a 36-24 win at Connacht's Sportsground stadium in Galway. Full-back Michael Stephenson helped himself to a hat-trick of tries and Olly Barkley bagged 14 points as the English side took a stranglehold of Pool 4.
Barkley converted his own try in first-half injury time to give Bath a 19-10
lead at the break, and former England international Stephenson's silky skills
confirmed the victory against the never-say-die Irish side.
Bath move to 21 points at the top of the Pool, and need only a point against
bottom-placed Montpellier at the Recreation Ground next weekend to secure a
place in the Cup quarter-finals.
Harlequins stayed in touch with Bath thanks to a hard-fought 37-27 win at
Montpellier, but are probably playing for a best runners-up spot in their home
match against Connacht in the final round next weekend.
Quins beat their French rivals 57-10 in the home match, but needed the trusty
boot of fly-half Adrian Jarvis (20 points) to secure victory. Prop Aston Croall
scored a rare try to set Quins on their way at Stade Sabathe, and second-half
efforts from Will Skinner, Jarvis and David Strettle confirmed the five
Pool 1 cellar dwellers Bayonne exacted revenge on Romanian side Bucuresti with a thrilling 38-31 win at Stade Jean Dauger.
The French club lost to the Dragons, Bucuresti and Bristol (twice) in the
opening four rounds of the tournament, but secured the victory thanks to a try
double from hooker Christophe Laurent. Prolific Romanian winger Catalin Fercu grabbed a brace of his own, but six-try Bayonne deserved the points.
In a battle of the also-rans in Pool 3, Montauban beat Petrarca 19-7 on the
back of tries from South Africa international Jacobus Immelman, Canada
international Ryan Smith and centre Benoit Albert.