Challenge Cup: Scarlets seal top spot in Pool B after victory over Bayonne, while Brive qualify ahead of Newcastle

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Scarlets made it four from four in the group stages of the Challenge Cup by securing an impressive 20-7 triumph over Bayonne.

The Welshmen controlled the first half and went into the break with a 13-0 advantage through Jonathan Davies and Joe Roberts tries, while Leigh Halfpenny added a penalty.

Steff Evans then crossed the whitewash, with Halfpenny converting, to effectively seal the victory for the Scarlets with half-an-hour remaining.

Bayonne did respond in the final quarter when Bastien Pourailly went over, but the visitors comfortably saw out the rest of the game

Meanwhile, Benetton finished behind Scarlets but ensured a home tie in the next stage following a bonus-point 35-32 win against Stade Francais.

A brace from Mattia Bellini, and additional tries by Tommaso Menoncello and Rhyno Smith, paved the way for the Italian side to edge out their French opponents in a closely fought contest at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo.

Brive deny Newcastle to claim last-16 place

Cardiff failed to take top spot in Pool A following a 37-24 defeat at Brive, with the Frenchmen making sure of their place in the next round.

The Welsh side had already secured a place in the last 16 prior to Saturday’s fixture, but knew a bonus-point victory would see them move ahead of Toulon and Glasgow Warriors.

However, Cardiff trailed 17-3 at the interval following tries from Motu Matu’u, Mathis Ferte and Kevin Fabien.

Arthur Bonneval extended Brive’s advantage in the second period, and despite James Botham, Jason Harries and Rhys Priestland responding, the visiting side were comprehensively beaten.

Finally, Newcastle ended their campaign with a 35-21 victory over Connacht at Kingston Park, but it was not enough to qualify.

Following three straight defeats in Pool A, Michael Young, Matias Orlando, Mateo Carreras, Josh Barton and Pete Lucock all scored tries to help restore some pride.

Connacht had already booked their spot in the Challenge Cup knockout stages, but the defeat means they will miss out on home advantage in the round of 16.

READ MORE: Challenge Cup: Bath keep play-off hopes alive with Glasgow Warriors stalemate, Toulon top Pool A and Bristol beat Perpignan

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