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Bordeaux 41-42 Harlequins: Quins stun French side to make Champions Cup semis | Northampton Saints crush Bulls

Will Porter (two), Will Evans, Alex Dombrandt, Tyrone Green scored tries, as Harlequins stunned Bordeaux-Begles to reach Champions Cup semi-finals; Quins will face Toulouse or Exeter Chiefs – who play on Sunday – in last four; Northampton crushed much-changed Bulls 59-22

Will Porter
Image: Will Porter scored twice for Harlequins as they stunned Bordeaux-Begles in France to make the Champions Cup semi-finals

Harlequins produced a stunning upset as they reached the Champions Cup semi-finals by beating French heavyweights Bordeaux-Begles 42-41 in a remarkable game at Stade Chaban-Delmas.

Quins failed to progress beyond the quarter-finals in four previous attempts, and they arrived in south-west France as rank outsiders to topple a team that had swamped Saracens twice this season, scoring 100 points.

But a semi-final against Toulouse or Exeter now awaits after one of the competition's classic games delivered 12 tries.

Quins full-back Tyrone Green scored the clincher, although Bordeaux still had a chance to win it, but skipper Maxime Lucu missed the conversion of Madosh Tambwe's 76th-minute try.

It was a spectacular triumph, with scrum-half Will Porter scoring two tries, while there was also a penalty try and touchdowns for flanker Will Evans and No 8 Alex Dombrandt.

Marcus Smith kicked five conversions, and Bordeaux were ultimately thwarted despite tries from Lucu, Romain Buros, Nicolas Depoortere, Louis Bielle-Biarrey and Tambwe's double, with Lucu landing four conversions and a penalty.

Quins made a blistering start in 30-degree heat, stunning their hosts by scoring the game's opening try after just three minutes.

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England flanker Chandler Cunningham-South did the hard yards on his return to action from injury, punching holes in Bordeaux's defence, before centre Andre Esterhuizen's touchline break saw him find Porter with a scoring pass.

Smith added the conversion and things quickly got even better for Quins when referee Andrea Piardi awarded them a penalty try after Smith's pass to an unmarked Louis Lynagh was deliberately knocked on by fly-half Mateo Garcia, who received a yellow card.

The game's first water-break also saw umbrellas brought on to protect Bordeaux players from the sun and, after being suitably refreshed, they attacked from a close-range line-out before skipper Lucu applied an emphatic finish.

Bordeaux had gone up a gear and they struck again six minutes later when a sweeping attack inside Quins' half was rounded off by Buros, with Lucu's conversion narrowing the gap to two points.

Romain Buros
Image: Romain Buros scored a try for Bordeaux, as they continually fought back from big deficits before missing out late on

It was a pulsating contest and Quins conjured a memorable try 10 minutes before half-time just when it looked as though Bordeaux had grasped the initiative.

Wing Cadan Murley spun in and out of Bordeaux tackles before finding Dombrandt, whose inside ball to Porter saw the scrum-half kick ahead and regather for his second touchdown. Smith's conversion took Quins past 20 points.

And a first-half masterclass concluded from Quins when two shows of their scrum dominance was followed by a driven line-out and Evans dived over for their fourth try, with Smith converting for a 28-12 interval advantage.

Bordeaux knew they had to score first in the second half and it took them barely three minutes as Depoortere claimed a superb solo try, collecting a pass just inches off the ground before brushing aside Quins defenders.

Lucu converted and Bordeaux were rapidly establishing momentum as a long-range penalty from the captain left them six points adrift midway through the third quarter.

Quins, though, knocked Bordeaux backwards once again, and Dombrandt scored their fifth try approaching the hour-mark, with Smith's conversion making it 35-22, only for Bielle-Biarrey to touch down after Quins' defence was splintered.

And when Tambwe sprinted over with 15 minutes remaining - Lucu's conversion put Bordeaux ahead for the first time - the momentum appeared to have shifted, especially when Quins hooker Sam Riley lost control of the ball while going over the home line following a forward drive.

But Green then struck to revive hopes of a famous win and hopes were further raised when Lucu missed the conversion of Tambwe's second try before they ran down the clock and could start to celebrate an astounding success.

Northampton crush much-changed Bulls to book semi-final vs Leinster

Northampton feasted on a Bulls team weakened by the absence of their Springbok stars by registering a 59-22 victory at Franklin's Gardens that propelled them into the Champions Cup semi-finals.

Saints amassed nine tries, including two from England scrum-half Alex Mitchell, to book an appointment with Leinster at Croke Park on May 3 or 4 - the first time they have reached the last four since 2011.

What should have been a thunderous collision between the Gallagher Premiership leaders and the best team in South Africa instead turned into a procession as the Bulls paid the price for leaving out big names such as Willie le Roux, Canan Moodie and Kurt-Lee Arendse.

They blamed injury and their epic journey from Pretoria via eight different airlines and myriad routes for the omissions, but stood accused of devaluing the competition in order to prioritise the United Rugby Championship.

Ulster, Edinburgh knocked out of Challenge Cup by Clermont, Sharks

Edinburgh exited the EPCR Challenge Cup after suffering a 36-30 quarter-final defeat against the Sharks in Durban.

Despite leading narrowly at half-time, Edinburgh were ultimately undone by a Sharks team that put poor United Rugby Championship form to one side.

Ulster saw their hopes of reaching the semi-finals crushed by Clermont at Stade Marcel-Michelin as the French heavyweights ran in seven tries in a 53-14 victory.

Back-row forward Nick Timoney touched down twice for Ulster, with both scores converted by scrum-half John Cooney, but the visitors had no answer to Clermont's pace and all-court game.

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