Toulon send Sarries out
Saracens thumped Rovigo 56-8 but Toulon pipped them to a quarter-final place in the Amlin Challenge Cup.
Last Updated: 23/01/10 11:05pm
Andy Saull scored a hat-trick of tries for Saracens as they thumped Rovigo 56-8 in their European Challenge Cup clash in Italy, but it was not enough to see them through as Toulon pipped them to a place in the last eight.
The Guinness Premiership high-flyers did their best with an emphatic victory giving them a chance of making the quarter-finals, but Toulon's bonus-point win over Castres saw them top the group and make the quarters.
Saracens had a bonus point secured after just 23 minutes at the Stadio Mario Battaglini, with Sarries dominant as England Saxons flanker Saull barged over after just two minutes.
Rodd Penney added the second of eight tries on the day for Saracens after just 12 minutes, and Saull's second soon followed after a clever kick-off from Derick Hougaard.
England captain Steve Borthwick then charged down a clearance to allow Mouritz Botha to drive over and claim the bonus point with just 23 minutes on the clock in Northern Italy.
Wholesale changes were made by Saracens with the game already won at half-time, and centre Michael Tagicakibau added a brace of tries in the second half while Saull completed his hat-trick of scores.
Jacobus Immelman's grabbed a late consolation for Rovigo before Kevin Barrett rounded off the scoring with a try for the visitors just a minute before the end.
The win then left Saracens sweating on the result of the other game in their pool, but it was not good viewing as they saw Toulon thump compatriots Castres to make it through.
Japan international winger Christian Loamanu scored two tries, as did Mafi Kefu, while Sinoti Sinoti and Cedric Beal weighed in with one apiece.
Jonny Wilkinson converted all six scores to take Toulon to the comfort of a home quarter-final against one of the Heineken Cup runners-up sides.
Connacht finished as top seeds following a crushing, 10-try 66-0 win at Olympus Rugby.
Centre Keith Matthews and replacement hooker Adrian Flavin guaranteed the Irish province maximum points and a home draw in the last eight as they both notched two tries.
Other tries came from Fionn Carr, John Muldoon, Niva Ta'auso, George Naoupu, Conor O'Loughlin and Bernie Upton.
Elsewhere, Parma beat Bucuresti 16-9 in Italy, with former Wasps full-back Ed Thrower's try the difference between the teams.
Bayonne made light work of Roma with a 55-6 win in Italy, scoring nine tries.
Wing Jean-Baptiste Peyras and hooker David Roumieu both scored two, with centre Sam Gerber, openside Julien Puricelli, hooker Arnaud Heguy, lock Guillaume Bernad and replacement centre Thibault Lacroix all dotting down.
Italian international fly-half Craig Gower pitched in with five conversions for the Avirons.