Richard Parks has been a key player for the Warriors this season
Celtic Warriors coach Lynn Howells saluted his team's fighting spirit after they clinched a dramatic Heineken Cup victory over Perpignan at the Brewery Field on Friday.
The Warriors kept alive their quarter-final hopes thanks to an 80th-minute penalty try, converted by fly-half Neil Jenkins, that enabled them to wipe out a six-point deficit and claim a priceless 16-15 victory.
It means that the Warriors could finish top of their group if they clinch a five-point maximum against Italian minnows Calvisano on Sunday week, which would be an outstanding achievement for a team in its first full season.
English champions Wasps, though, would still appear to be in the box seat. They play Calvisano tomorrow, then visit Perpignan a week later, knowing that two victories will put them through.
"We were disappointed with the conditions tonight, but we dogged it out," said Howells.
"I was very disappointed with our line-outs - they could have cost us the game - but our scrummage more than held up and we put them under a lot of pressure.
"To gain a quarter-final place would be massive. The pleasing thing tonight was that we created chances, and I felt that we did more than enough to justify winning the match.
"It was a good contest, and I thought the players were heroic in the way they put their bodies on the line."
Perpignan could find themselves in trouble with Heineken Cup chiefs after they played some of the closing minutes with 15 players on the field, even though their full-back Frederic Cermeno had been sin-binned.
The touchline officials appeared not to grasp the situation, although ultimately it made no difference to the final result.
Cermeno was the second Perpignan player to receive a yellow card in the second period, following his skipper Bernard Goutta to the bin.
"I would think that Perpignan were in breach of the competition rules, but I don't know about that until I sit down and watch the video," added Howells.
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.