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Sivivatu's try not enough to halt Leicester

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Sportal.co.nz     18 Dec 2011     Getty Images

The Tigers, European champions in 2001 and 2002, appeared to have little chance of progressing from Pool Four when Clermont cruised into a nine-point interval lead at Welford Road.

But Leicester rapidly wiped out that deficit before Toby Flood's 62nd and 72nd-minute penalties secured the points and kept Tigers on course for an 11th quarter-final appearance in 15 seasons of Heineken Cup rugby.

England centre Manu Tuilagi and flanker Julian Salvi scored tries for the home side, while Flood kicked 13 points to put Leicester above Clermont in the group and just behind leaders Ulster.

Ex-New Zealand wing Sitiveni Sivivatu touched down for Clermont, while Morgan Parra and David Skrela both dropped goals, with Parra also slotting two penalties and a conversion.

Ulster pressed home their ambitions with a bonus-point 46-20 victory over Aironi in Monza.

Brian McLaughlin's men scored six tries on their way to a well-merited win, which puts them in pole position at the top of Pool Four ahead of next month's crunch clashes at home against Leicester and away to Clermont Auvergne.

Andrew Trimble, Tom Court, Craig Gilroy and replacements Robbie Diack and Adam Macklin were all on the mark for the visitors, while a first-half penalty try added to Italian woes.

George Biagi, Roberto Quartaroli and Sinoti Sinoti scored tries for Aironi.

Rory Lamont marked his return to Scottish rugby with Glasgow's only try in the 13-13 draw against Montpellier in France which kept his side's slim hopes of a quarter-final place alive.

The 29-year-old, who has been capped 26 times by Scotland, crossed for the Warriors' second-half try in only his second game back in Scottish rugby after the frustration of his recent spell in France with Toulon.

Replacement halfback Benoit Paillaugue, who stepped up for a late penalty instead of Francois Trinh-duc, sliced the last kick of the game and blew the chance to give Montpellier, who bagged a try through Yohan Audrin, victory.

An excellent 75th-minute try from Jonny May kept alive Gloucester's faint Pool Six hopes with a narrow 23-19 victory over Connacht.

Niall O'Connor looked to have earned Connacht their first win of the competition when his 72nd-minute penalty put the visitors 19-16 up, but replacement centre May then sailed past two defenders for the decisive score.

Tiernan O'Halloran and Tim Taylor had earlier traded first-half tries while O'Connor kicked four penalties and Taylor and Freddie Burns combined for three for the hosts.

London Irish gave themselves a mountain to climb if they are to qualify for the quarter-finals after Racing Metro bounced back from their loss in Paris last week with a 25-19 Pool Two victory in Reading.

Racing wing Sereli Bobo crossed for a try and first five-eighths Jonathan Wisniewski kicked 20 points with three penalties, three drop goals and a conversion to settle the clash.

Hooker David Paice got a try for London Irish with the last move of the game and wing Tom Homer kicked 14 points with four penalties and a conversion, but the hosts fell short.

On Friday night, Saracens ended Ospreys' 17-match unbeaten home run in Europe to a big step towards the quarter-finals.

The Premiership side produced a fine defensive effort to thwart their hosts at the Liberty Stadium.

No.8 Ernst Joubert capitalised on a charge down from a Dan Biggar clearance to cross for Saracens' try, with centre Owen Farrell adding the conversion and three penalties to seal victory for the English champions.

Biggar kicked two penalties for the hosts and converted a second-half try from lock Ian Gough, but they could not make their dominance of territory and possession count.

Sarries even played 20 minutes a man down in the second half as first Schalk Brits and then Kelly Brown were sin-binned.

The win keeps Saracens top of Pool Five and their destiny will be very much in their own hands. Ospreys, however, are now struggling to make the knockout phase.

Biarritz went above the Welsh side thanks to a bonus-point 29-12 victory over Benetton Treviso in the other game in the pool.

Iain Balshaw scored one of four tries for Biarritz, who were made to fight for their win despite Treviso going down to 10 men in the first half. They were actually leading 6-0 when Francesco Minto was shown the red card.

Edinburgh are eyeing their first quarter-final in eight years after a 19-12 victory over Cardiff Blues.

The Scottish side joined Cardiff at the top of Pool Two by ending their opponents' unbeaten record in the competition.

Tim Visser's first-half try and a 14-point kicking haul from Greig Laidlaw earned them the victory.

Dan Parks kicked three penalties for the Blues, who clinched a losing bonus point, which could prove crucial in the final group analysis, when Leigh Halfpenny booted a 79th-minute penalty.