Fa'asalele, Toulouse into European semifinals

With the Six Nations wrapping up last weekend, European rugby clubs resumed their regional competitions this week, with Manu Samoa players involved.

The European Champions Cup and second-tier Challenge Cup quaterfinals were played over Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning Samoan time.

This morning, Piula Fa’asalele came off the bench for the final 25 minutes for Toulouse in their Champions Cup win over Racing 92, 22-21.

The leading French Top 14 club played 60 minutes with 14 men after a red card to Zack Holmes, but were able to hold on and win with the Manu Samoa flanker’s help.

Toulouse secured a semifinal against Leinster later this month.

In the Challenge Cup, Alofa Alofa started at centre for Harlequins in their 18-16 win over Worcester, while Mat Luamanu came off the bench for the victors.

Harlequins can look forward to a semifinal against Clermont, who defeated Ahsee Tuala’s Northampton 61-38.

Tuala came on as a substitute and got the Saint’s first try, but Clermont, including Fritz Lee and Tim Nanai-Williams (who also scored a try), were far too strong.

Bristol went down 15-39 to La Rochelle in their quarterfinal with Manu Samoa captain Chris Vui starting at lock and inside back Tusi Pisi wearing the number 12 jersey.

Manu prop James Lay came off the bench for the Bears, who were without Samoan outside back Alapati Leiua who was serving the final game of a four match ban.

James’ brother Jordan Lay and Manu flanker Jack Lam both missed out on selection for coach Pat Lam’s side.

Bristol now turn their attention to the Premiership, where they are seven points ahead of relegation and four points behind a berth in European competition for next season.

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