LEINSTER vs GLASGOW WARRIORS
RDS, Dublin - Saturday 31st May
KO: 18:15 BST
15 Rob Kearney 14 Fergus McFadden 13 Brian O'Driscoll 12 Gordon D'Arcy 11 Zane Kirchner 10 Jimmy Gopperth 9 Eoin Reddan 1 Cian Healy 2 Sean Cronin 3 Mike Ross 4 Devin Toner 5 Mike McCarthy 6 Rhys Ruddock 7 Shane Jennings 8 JAMIE HEASLIP (C) BENCH: 16 Aaron Dundon 17 Jack McGrath 18 Martin Moore 19 Leo Cullen 20 Sean O'Brien 21 Isaac Boss 22 Ian Madigan 23 Darragh Fanning
15 Peter Murchie 14 Sean Maitland 13 Alex Dunbar 12 Peter Horne 11 Tommy Seymour 10 Finn Russell 9 Chris Cusiter 1 Gordon Reid 2 Dougie Hall 3 Jon Welsh 4 Jonny Gray 5 AL KELLOCK (C) 6 Rob Harley 7 Chris Fusaro 8 Josh Strauss BENCH: 16 Pat MacArthur 17 Ryan Grant 18 Moray Low 19 Tim Swinson 20 Leone Nakarawa 21 Niko Matawalu 22 Ruaridh Jackson 23 Sean Lamont
Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU) Asst Referees: Leighton Hodges (WRU), Ian Davies (WRU) TMO: Derek Bevan (WRU) Citing Commissioner: Maurizio Vancini (FIR)
Scotstoun - Friday 16th May 2014
KO: 19:35 BST HT: 9-7 Att: 10,000
REPLACEMENT Gordon Reid grabbed the decisive try as Glasgow Warriors edged past Munster 16-15 to reach their first ever RaboDirect PRO12 Final. The Warriors, who were beaten at the semi-final stage in each of the last two years, recorded their ninth straight win in the competition and will meet Leinster in the final.
Munster asserted much of the early dominance, driving towards the hosts' line, and they were rewarded when captain Varley squeezed his way over, Ian Keatley navigating the breeze to add the extras. Russell looked to reply from the tee on the quarter-hour mark but he sent a penalty wide - but he made amends with a second penalty minutes later, after Munster failed to roll away, 3-7. But no more points were to come for the visitors in the remainder of the first half.
Keatley was quickest to take the initiative following the penalty and his accurate kick pegged the hosts back into their own 22 but more sloppy work at the breakdown allowed Glasgow to clear. The match slipped into something of a lull, as Munster applied the brakes and began to frustrate their hosts, but a streaky Dougall run soon had their tails up. The flanker was brought to the ground inside the Warriors' 22 and after it was recycled Simon Zebo forced his way across the line, only for the TMO to rule out the try.
Grateful for the reprieve, Glasgow looked more energised and quickly earned a penalty. Russell moved his side to within one point and when Varley was penalised at the breakdown the fly-half sent his side into the break 9-7 up.
Glasgow began the second half as the ended the first but with even better results as early pressure saw first-half replacement Reid crash over the Munster line, with Russell converting.
Munster replied immediately as Conor Murray orchestrated a persistent attack on the Warriors line which resulted in Dougall shunting his way over, but Keatley's conversion flew wide.
With Glasgow's advantage now just 4 points, they pressured inside the Munster 22 but Rob Penney's side escaped and Keatley made it 16-15 from the tee after 67 minutes.
The Munstermen struggled in vain to break down their resilient hosts and it was Leone Nakarawa who broke clear from inside his own half in search of a game-settling score five minutes from time. Tommy Seymour then caught a vital interception as the Warriors continued to counter-attack only for Zebo to track him to prevent another try - but that was the final input.
15 Peter Murchie 14 Sean Maitland 13 Mark Bennett 12 Alex Dunbar 11 Tommy Seymour 10 Finn Russell 9 Chris Cusiter 1 Ryan Grant 2 Dougie Hall 3 Jon Welsh 4 Jonny Gray 5 AL KELLOCK (C) 6 Rob Harley 7 Chris Fusaro 8 Josh Strauss BENCH: 16 Pat MacArthur 17 Gordon Reid 18 Geoff Cross 19 Tim Swinson 20 Leone Nakarawa 21 Niko Matawalu 22 Ruaridh Jackson 23 Sean Lamont
SCORERS T: Reid C: Russell P: Russell (3)
15 Felix Jones 14 Keith Earls 13 Casey Laulala 12 James Downey 11 Simon Zebo 10 Ian Keatley 9 Conor Murray 1 Dave Kilcoyne 2 DAMIEN VARLEY (C) 3 BJ Botha 4 Dave Foley 5 Paul O'Connell 6 CJ Stander 7 Sean Dougall 8 James Coughlan BENCH: 16 Quentin Macdonald 17 James Cronin 18 John Ryan 19 Donncha O'Callaghan 20 Patrick Butler 21 Duncan Williams 22 JJ Hanrahan 23 Andrew Conway
SCORERS T: Varley, Dougall C: Keatley P: Keatley
Referee: Marius Mitrea Asst Referees: Giuseppe Vivarini, Stefano Penne TMO: Carlo Damasco
RDS, Dublin - Saturday 17th May
KO: 19:00 BST HT: 0-6 Att: 18,246
IAN MADIGAN climbed off the bench to rescue Leinster and book a place in the RaboDirect PRO12 final against Glasgow Warriors following a thrilling 13-9 semi-final win over Ulster. Madigan scored the only try of the match on 71 minutes after a heroic defensive effort from Ulster, ensuring the defending champions will be back at the RDS on May 31.
The first half was frenetic with huge hits flying in all over the pitch but defences were on top with neither side giving anything away. Ulster were handed the first chance to break the deadlock on four minutes but South African scrum-half Ruan Pienaar missed the target from long range. But Jackson made no mistake from closer in after some impressive work from Pienaar and Tommy Bowe.
Mistakes began to creep in when both sides were on the attack but both were imperious in defence and the scores remained lock at 3-0 to Ulster until just before the interval.
By that stage Leinster were down to 14 men after Gordon D'Arcy was sent to the sin bin for a late tackle on Bowe, but it was the hosts going offside after a strong carry from centre Darren Cave that gave Jackson the chance to double his points haul. He duly obliged and the visitors went into the break 6-0 up.
While Leinster flew out of the blocks in the second half, Ulster held firm and indeed stretched their lead to 9-0 after D'Arcy, back in the fray, was penalised. Jackson made it three from three shortly after Brian O'Driscoll went off to a standing ovation, but Leinster finally got on the scoreboard on 58 minutes through fly-half Gopperth.
Replacement Sean O'Brien was having an impressive impact and on 63 minutes another penalty from New Zealand Gopperth brought the defending champions to within 3 points.
With 9 minutes on the clock another replacement Madigan finally got the first try of the match, breaking the previously unflinching Ulster line to dot down.
Gopperth added the extras but Ulster set about laying siege to the Leinster try-line. James McKinney kicked to the corner after the visitors were awarded a penalty, but a huge defensive stand from the hosts kept them out to hold on to the narrow win.
15 Rob Kearney 14 Fergus McFadden 13 Brian O'Driscoll 12 Gordon D'Arcy 11 Dave Kearney 10 Jimmy Gopperth 9 Eoin Reddan 1 Cian Healy 2 Sean Cronin 3 Martin Moore 4 Devin Toner 5 Quinn Roux 6 Rhys Ruddock 7 Shane Jennings 8 JAMIE HEASLIP (C) BENCH: 16 Aaron Dundon 17 Jack McGrath 18 Mike Ross 19 Leo Cullen 20 Sean O'Brien 21 Isaac Boss 22 Ian Madigan 23 Zane Kirchner
SCORERS T: Madigan C: Gopperth P: Gopperth(2) D’Arcy
15 Craig Gilroy 14 Tommy Bowe 13 Jared Payne 12 Darren Cave 11 Andrew Trimble 10 Paddy Jackson 9 Ruan Pienaar 1 Callum Black 2 Rory Best 3 Ricky Lutton 4 JOHANN MULLER (C) 5 Iain Henderson 6 Robbie Diack 7 Chris Henry 8 Roger Wilson BENCH: 16 Rob Herring 17 Andrew Warwick 18 Adam Macklin 19 Dan Tuohy 20 Sean Doyle 21 Paul Marshall 22 James McKinney 23 Luke Marshall
SCORERS P: Jackson(3)
Referee: Leighton Hodges Asst Referees: Ian Davies, Neil Paterson TMO: Gareth Simmonds
GLASGOW WARRIORS secured a home fixture against Munster in the RaboDirect PRO12 play-offs after running in eight tries and securing second-spot in the process in a comprehensive 54-0 bonus-point win over Zebre. In their final fixture of the regular season, Glasgow produced a memorable performance in the opening 25 minutes, scoring five tries to effectively blow the Italians away. Stuart Hogg scored twice, while Alex Dunbar, Al Kellock and Ryan Grant all scored in the opening quarter of the game. Nikola Matawalu scored try number six for Glasgow before the break and but the home side had to wait until the 65th minute for number seven as replacement Geoff Cross went over. And Matawalu wrapped up the win in the final minutes for the home team, taking Glasgow's try count to eight.
DEFENDING champions Leinster saw off a spirited Edinburgh 15-13 at the RDS to ensure they finished top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table and secure a home play-off berth. Tries from flanker Jordi Murphy and Dave Kearney did the trick, coupled with the boot of Jimmy Gopperth, but it was far from plain sailing for the hosts. Edinburgh, bidding to end their season on a high after four straight RaboDirect PRO12 losses, pushed their hosts all the way and Tim Visser's late try sent nerves wrangling at the RDS. But in the end it was not to be for the Scots as they suffered the narrow loss, while Leinster will welcome Ulster back to the RDS for their semi-final clash.
ULSTER fly-half James McKinney starred with the boot as his side warmed up for the RaboDirect PRO12 play-offs in fine style with a 19-17 win over Munster at Thomond Park. McKinney kicked 14 points while scrum-half Michael Heaney dotted down for his first Ulster try in perfect preparation for next weekend's semi-final away to Leinster. Munster meanwhile, who will travel to Glasgow Warriors next week, scored tries through Duncan Williams and Sean Dougall but slipped to back-to-back home defeats in the RaboDirect PRO12 for the first time since 2010.
JASON TOVEY marked his 100th start for the Dragons with a dramatic late penalty that sealed a hard-fought 20-19 RaboDirect PRO12 victory against Treviso. The losing bonus point for the Italians was enough however to leapfrog their rivals Zebre and claim the Italian European qualification spot. Fabio Semenzato's early score and Manoa Vosawai's late one, coupled with the boot of fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo, looked like it would be enough to extend the Dragons' losing streak to eight league games. But the Welsh region, who scored two tries of their own through Tyler Morgan and Will Harries, held their nerve at the death as Tovey slotted a late kick to deny the Italians their first away victory of the season.
OSPREYS put their RaboDirectPRO12 play-off disappointment aside as they produced a solid performance to claim a bonus point 45-20 win over Connacht. The Welsh side were eliminated from play-off contention last week after losing 30-27 to Zebre but ended their season with a convincing win. Six tries for the home side and a man-of-the-match performance from Sam Lewis was enough to seal a comprehensive win.
JONATHAN DAVIES' final game in a Scarlets shirt ended in victory over Cardiff Blues - but the Wales international had Steve Shingler to thank for securing a 27-15 RaboDirect PRO12 triumph. Davies captained the region for the final time before setting off for pastures new next season in a close-fought contest at Parc y Scarlets. Rhodri Williams and Liam Williams crossed for Scarlets while Macauley Cook and a penalty try kept this Welsh derby interesting until the dying moments. But Shingler's late intervention with boot - he kicked seven points - and hands - the centre going over with just five minutes to go - sealed the Scarlets win.
GLASGOW WARRIORS 54 - 0 ZEBRE
Scotstoun Stadium - Saturday 10 May 2014
KO: 18:30 HT: 40-0 Att: 5,950
Warriors T: Hogg (2), Grant, Kellock, Dunbar, Matawalu (2), Cross C: Weir (6), Jackson
LEINSTER RUGBY 15 - 13 EDINBURGH RUGBY
Royal Dublin Society - Saturday 10 May 2014
KO: 18:30 HT: 5-6 Att: 17,900
Leinster T: Murphy, Dave Kearney C: Gopperth P: Gopperth
Edinburgh T: Visser C: Laidlaw P: Laidlaw (2)
MUNSTER RUGBY 17 - 19 ULSTER RUGBY
Thomond Park - Saturday 10 May 2014
KO: 18:30 HT: 10-10 Att: 16,436
Munster T: Williams, Dougall C: Keatley (2) P: Keatley
Ulster T: Heaney C: McKinney P: McKinney (4)
DRAGONS 20 - 19 BENETTON TREVISO
Rodney Parade - Saturday 10 May 2014
KO: 18:30 HT: 10-11 Att: 6,026
Dragons T: Morgan, Harries C: Tovey (2) P: Tovey, Thomas Harries, Evans
Treviso T: Semenzato, Vosawai P: di Bernardo (3)
OSPREYS 45 - 20 CONNACHT RUGBY
Liberty Stadium - Saturday 10 May 2014
KO: 18:30 HT: 24-15 Att: 6,403
Ospreys T: Hassler, Beck (2), Alun Wyn Jones, Smith, Baker C: Biggar (6) P: Biggar Alun Wyn Jones
Connacht T: Leader, Buckley, Gilsenan C: Nikora P: Nikora
SCARLETS 25 - 17 CARDIFF BLUES
Parc y Scarlets - Saturday 10 May 2014
KO: 18:30 HT: 10-8 Att: 9,046
Scarlets T: Rhodri Williams, Liam Williams, Steve Shingler C: Priestland, Steve Shingler P: Priestland, Steve Shingler
Blues T: Cook, PT C: Humberstone P: Humberstone
REPLACEMENT Guglielmo Palazzani's try right at the death put a big dent in Ospreys' RaboDirect PRO12 top four hopes as Zebre took an entertaining 30-27 victory in Palma. The Italians had led 16-6 at the break after Giovanbattista Venditti's try plus eight points from Luciano Orquera. Ospreys hit back immediately after the break, Justin Tipuric with a try after just 34 seconds before Ashley Beck and Alun Wyn Jones seemingly put them on course for a comeback win. But tries from Brendon Leonard plus Palazzani's effort in the 82nd minute broke Ospreys hearts, leaving them with just the losing bonus point and four points behind fourth-placed Ulster having played a game more.
THE Scarlets secured a place in the top-six of the RaboDirect PRO12 with a high-scoring 34-23 bonus-point victory over Welsh rivals Newport Gwent Dragons. The hosts had four different scorers at Parc y Scarlets as Jake Ball, Gareth Davies, Jordan Williams and Ken Owens all went over. The Dragons, who have now failed to win any of their last seven outings, saw Tom Prydie cross in each half but it was not enough to inflict a first RaboDirect PRO12 home defeat on the Scarlets - who with victory ensured qualification for next year's European Cup - this calendar year.
PADDY JACKSON scored all of Ulster's points as they secured a RaboDirect PRO12 play-off place despite losing 22-20 at home to league leaders Leinster. In a feisty contest, the hosts played most of the contest with 14 men after Tom Court's dismissal but a try and 15 points from the boot of Jackson saw Ulster gain the point they needed to seal a top-four place. Leinster had Rob Kearney and Rhys Ruddock sin-binned but saw Shane Jennings cross in the second half. On top of that, 14 points from fly- half Ian Madigan and a further three more from substitute Jimmy Gopperth kept them four points above second-placed Glasgow Warriors in the RaboDirect PRO12 standings with just one game to go.
TOMMY SEYMOUR's hat-trick saw Glasgow Warriors romp to a 38-16 victory against Treviso to take a major step closer to a home semi-final in the RaboDirect PRO12 play-offs. Seymour's treble, as well as a score for Gordon Reid, ensured it was a comfortable victory for the Warriors at Stadio Monigo, taking their winning streak in the RaboDirect PRO12 to seven. In turn it puts the pressure on Munster, who must respond against Edinburgh on Saturday, if they are to challenge Gregor Townsend's men for a place in the top two. For Treviso meanwhile, it's another blow in their quest for the Italian berth in next season's new look elite European competition as, following Zebre's win over the Ospreys on Thursday, they remain bottom of the RaboDirect PRO12 table.
CONNACHT dominated the first half but still wound up on the losing side to a resilient Cardiff Blues team who extended their winning RaboDirect PRO12 run to four games on the spin with a 22-15 victory. It was not the send-off Dan Parks was looking for as he made his final appearance for Connacht in their last home game of the season, extending the home side's losing streak to four games. Despite Connacht's Matt Healy and Robbie Henshaw running in two tries, it was not enough to match three from the Blues, and a converted penalty try was the difference between the sides. Dan Fish's final try sealed the victory for the Blues for their first in Ireland in 16 months.
MUNSTER kept the pressure on Glasgow Warriors in the hunt for a home RaboDirect PRO12 playoff semi-final after running in seven tries against Edinburgh at Meggetland. The hosts took the ascendancy early on through Carl Bezuidenhout and WP Nel, but Andrew Conway had responded before Denis Hurley danced over with half-time approaching. And Munster turned the screw after the break, as Damien Varley, Duncan Williams, Tommy O'Donnell and two penalty tries saw them go some way to forgetting their European disappointment of last weekend. JJ Hanrahan was also inch-perfect from the tee - collecting 16 points - as Munster sit just one point behind second-place Warriors with one regular season game remaining against Ulster next week.
ZEBRE 30 - 27 OSPREYS
Stadio XXV Aprile - Thursday 01 May 2014
KO: 18:00 HT: 16-6 Att: 3,025
Zebre T: Venditti, Leonard, Palazanni C: Orquera, Iannone (2) P: Orquera (3) Vunisa
Ospreys T: Tipuric, Beck, Alun Wyn Jones C: Biggar (3) P: Biggar (2) Alun Wyn Jones
SCARLETS 34 - 23 DRAGONS
Parc y Scarlets - Friday 02 May 2014
KO: 19:05 HT: 24-13 Att: tbc
Scarlets T: Ball, Gareth Davies, Jordan Williams, Owens C: Priestland (4) P: Priestland (2)
Dragons T: Prydie (2) C: Burton, Tovey P: Burton (3) Thomas
ULSTER RUGBY 20 - 22 LEINSTER RUGBY
Ravenhill Stadium - Friday 02 May 2014
KO: 19:30 HT: 8-9 Att: tbc
Ulster T: Jackson P: Jackson (5) Court
Leinster T: Jennings C: Madigan P: Madigan (4), Gopperth Kearney, Ruddock
BENETTON TREVISO 16 - 38 GLASGOW
Stadio Monigo - Friday 02 May 2014
KO: 20:00 HT: 9-19 Att: tbc
Treviso T: PT C: Ambrosini P: Berquist (3)
Warriors T: Seymour (3), Reid C: Russell (3) P: Russell (3), Bennett Holmes, Harley
CONNACHT RUGBY 15 - 22 CARDIFF BLUES
Sportsground - Saturday 03 May 2014
KO: 17:00 HT: 10-3 Att: 5,168
Connacht T: Healy, Henshaw C: Nikora P: Nikora Muldowney, McKeon
Blues T: PT, Jones, Fish C: Gareth Davies (2) P: Gareth Davies
EDINBURGH RUGBY 12 - 55 MUNSTER RUGBY
Murrayfield - Saturday 03 May 2014
KO: 17:00 HT: 12-20 Att: 3,782
Edinburgh T: Bezuidenhout, Nel C: Laidlaw Gilchrist
Munster T: Conway, Hurley, Varley PT (2), Williams, O’Donnell C: Hanrahan (5), Murray (2) P: Hanrahan (2)
GLASGOW WARRIORS 37 - 34 EDINBURGH
Scotstoun Stadium - Saturday 26 April 2014
KO: 19:05 HT: 23-13 Att: 8,855
Warriors T: Murchie (2), Jackson, Bennett, Harley C: Russell (3) P: Russell (2)
Edinburgh T: Nel, Scott, Leonardi, Visser C: Laidlaw (4) P: Laidlaw (2) van der Westhuizen, Coman
PETER MURCHIE scored twice as Glasgow Warriors climbed to second in the RaboDirect PRO12 table with a dramatic 37-34 win over Edinburgh that also sealed them the 1872 Cup for a fifth year in a row.
In their rescheduled clash after January's fixture was washed out, the Warriors ran in three tries in the first half through Murchie, the departing Ruaridh Jackson and Mark Bennett.
WP Nel barrelled over for the visitors who struggled with ill discipline as they lost a man in each half to the sin bin but Murchie bagged a second soon after the interval to put the Warriors in control.
Edinburgh refused to buckle and Matt Scott's score brought them back into contention.
Richie Vernon looked to have sealed Glasgow victory but Tim Visser crossed twice in the last three minutes in dramatic fashion for Edinburgh who sealed two bonus points in the process but could not deny their local rivals six wins in a row in the RaboDirect PRO12.
Edinburgh's away form has been their undoing this season, they have only won once on their travels in the RaboDirect PRO12, and have not beaten Glasgow in five attempts.
LEINSTER cemented their place at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table after a comfortable 62-7 victory over Treviso on Good Friday. The Irish province ran in nine tries from eight different scorers in Dublin as they got back to winning ways following their 25-19 defeat against the Ospreys last Friday at the Liberty Stadium. Jimmy Gopperth was also at his instrumental best from fly-half and finished the game with a haul of 15 points as Leinster edged further clear of second-placed Ulster.
GLASGOW WARRIORS took a huge step towards booking up their RaboDirect PRO12 play-off spot by completing a first season's double over Ulster since 2010 with a 27-9 win. The Warriors looked destined to trail at the break after Ulster's Paddy Jackson slotted three penalties to one from Finn Russell but Sean Maitland crossed at the last for a converted score to establish a 10-9 lead. And the match was transformed in the space of ten minutes after the break with Sean Doyle's yellow card seeing 14-man Ulster concede five points to the boot of Russell and a try to Seymour. From then Ulster hammered on the door but they failed to make up the ground and Glasgow Warriors broke clear near the end for Mark Bennett to cross and rubber-stamp the win.
ZEBRE recorded their first ever RaboDirect PRO12 victory over Scottish opposition running in three tries to take a deserved 26-13 win over Edinburgh. The better side in the first half, Zebre went into the breakleading 14-6 thanks to Giovanbattista Venditti's try before Edinburgh's Matt Scott touched down for Edinburgh and Jack Cuthbert converted to take the visitors back to within a point. But the Italians replied almost immediately, Filippo Cristiano adding a second try before Kameli Ratuvou added the third late on for what turned out to be a comfortable win.
MUNSTER climbed to second in the RaboDirect PRO12 as Paddy Butler's second-half try wrapped up a bonus point 32-23 victory over Connacht. The title-challengers recovered from falling behind to an early Matt Healy try to cross three times before the break. Butler secured the bonus point with a second-half try and despite a late fightback from their hosts, Munster held on for the win.
CARDIFF BLUES clung on to record their third RaboDirect PRO12 win in as many games by edging Scarlets 17-13 in a fiery derby on Judgement Day. In the first of two of the day's Millennium Stadium encounters, Alex Cuthbert's score saw the Blues start off with a bang - while Gareth Davies collected 12 points off the tee. Scarlets came roaring back through Rhys Priestland just before the break but in a second half which saw both Robin Copeland and Liam Williams sent off, the Blues did enough to hold on. The Blues were enjoying a fine run of form in the RaboDirect PRO12 after victories over Edinburgh and Ulster in their last two games - and started as they meant to go on against Scarlets.
A late penalty try helped Ospreys grind out a precious 20-10 victory against a spirited Newport Gwent Dragons side to keep them in contention for the RaboDirect PRO12 playoffs. In the second all-Wales clash at the Millennium Stadium for Judgement Day, both teams missed a glut of chances to put points on the board in the first half. But Richie Rees touched down after the break to plunge Ospreys' playoff hopes into jeopardy before Tom Habberfield snuck over the line on the hour-mark. Dan Biggar kept their points tally ticking over with the conversion and two penalties, before the Dragons finally cracked to yield a penalty try late on. Ospreys' top-four hopes had taken a blow two weeks ago after a loss to fourth place Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun but got themselves back on track with an impressive win against Leinster.
LEINSTER RUGBY 62 - 7 BENETTON TREVISO
Royal Dublin Society - Friday 18 April 2014
KO: 19:00 HT: 29-7 Att: tbc
Leinster T: Murphy, Cronin, Healy, Kirchner, Ryan, Reid (2), Heaslip, Luke McGrath C: Gopperth (7) P: Gopperth Boss, Jack McGrath
Treviso T: PT C: Berquist Esposito
GLASGOW WARRIORS 27 - 9 ULSTER RUGBY
Scotstoun Stadium - Friday 18 April 2014
KO: 19:35 HT: 10-9 Att: tbc
Warriors T: Maitland, Seymour, Bennett C: Russell (3) P: Russell (2) Wilson
Ulster P: Jackson (3) Doyle
ZEBRE 26 - 13 EDINBURGH RUGBY
Stadio XXV Aprile - Saturday 19 April 2014
KO: 15:30 HT: 14-6 Att: 1,866
Zebre T: Venditti, Cristiano, Ratuvou C: Orquera P: Orquera, Garcia (2)
Edinburgh T: Scott C: Cuthbert P: Bezuidenhout (2)
CONNACHT RUGBY 23 - 32 MUNSTER RUGBY
Sportsground - Saturday 19 April 2014
KO: 18:15 HT: 8-27 Att: 6,227
Connacht T: Healy, McKeon, Poolman C: Parks P: Nikora (2)
Munster T: Conway, van den Heever, Denis Hurley, Butler C: Keatley (3) P: Keatley (2)
CARDIFF BLUES 17 - 13 SCARLETS
Millennium Stadium - Sunday 20 April 2014
KO: 14:00 HT: 14-8 Att: 30,411
Blues T: Cuthbert P: Gareth Davies (4) Copeland
Scarlets T: Priestland, Owens P: Priestland (2) Liam Williams
DRAGONS 10 - 20 OSPREYS
Millennium Stadium - Sunday 20 April 2014
KO: 16:45 HT: 0-0 Att: 30,411
Dragons T: Rees C: Burton P: Prydie Cudd, Morgan
Ospreys T: Habberield, PT C: Biggar (2) P: Biggar Ryan Jones, Spratt
DAN BIGGAR kicked 20 points including a crucial late drop-goal and a vital penalty to defeat RaboDirect PRO12 leaders Leinster 25-19 and keep their play-off hopes alive. Ospreys led 13-10 at the break thanks to a Jeff Hassler try and eight points from the boot of Biggar, with Cian Healy's try just before half-time keeping Leinster in touch. Biggar extended Ospreys' lead with a further two penalties in an eight-minute spell after the interval but Jimmy Gopperth kicked three penalties to draw Leinster level with 12 minutes to go. At that point the leaders were favourite to take the win but Biggar regained the lead with a well-taken drop goal and then held his nerve to seal the victory with a penalty. Leinster, now focused solely on the RaboDirect PRO12 following their elimination from the European Cup last weekend, took the lead on ten minutes.
ANDREW TRIMBLE helped himself to hat-trick as Ulster returned to winning ways in the RaboDirect PRO12 in style, running in eight tries to down Connacht 58-12 at Ravenhill. Ulster saw a six-game winning streak came to an abrupt halt against Cardiff Blues last time out and were clearly eager to get back to winning ways as they wrapped up a try bonus point after just 24 minutes as Paul Marshall helped himself to two tries and Trimble and Tommy Bowe got in on the act. Connacht had levelled through a Dave McSharry try after falling behind early on, but they simply had no answer to Ulster's dominance - even if Darragh Leader also touched down. Trimble secured his treble just before the hour mark while Luke Marshall and Craig Gilroy also crossed in a convincing home win.
DAFYDD HEWITT's late try saw Cardiff Blues secure back-to-back RaboDirect PRO12 victories as they beat Edinburgh 29-22 at Meggetland. Centre Matt Scott went over for the hosts early on but tries from Cory Allen, Filo Paulo and Dan Fish handed the ascendency to Cardiff Blues. Tom Brown did threaten an Edinburgh comeback as he grabbed the home side's second try of the game, but it wasn't to be as Hewitt went over with five minutes remaining to secure a RaboDirect PRO12 double for Cardiff over their Scottish opponents. However it wasn't all doom and gloom for Edinburgh as Cornell du Preez went over at the death to earn his side a losing bonus point.
GLASGOW WARRIORS inflicted a first RaboDirect PRO12 home defeat of the season on Munster, helping their own play-off hopes in the process with a 22-5 victory at Thomond Park. The Warriors shocked their hosts with three tries in the first-half to build up a commanding 22-5 lead as Jonny Gray, Sean Maitland and Josh Strauss all went over, cancelling out CJ Stander's reply. And that is how the game stayed in the second 40 as despite constant pressure from the hosts, Glasgow held on for the famous win - their fourth straight in the RaboDirect PRO12.
SCARLETS made it five wins in a row at Parc y Scarlets in all competition on Saturday despite being pushed all the way by a committed Zebre side who went down 27-20. It was revenge of sorts for the Welsh outfit, who were held to a draw by bottom club Zebre in their previous meeting earlier this season. But victory for the home side helped consolidate their top six spot, as they overcame a 13-9 first-half deficit following tries from Giulio Toniolatti and Samuela Vunisa. Jordan Williams and Ken Owens touched down after the break while Rhys Priestland finished with a personal haul of 17 points.
TREVISO closed the gap on Newport Gwent Dragons after running out 45-27 winners in a thrilling RaboDirect PRO12 clash. The Italians will have to square off against the Dragons again on the last day of the season and will take heart from a spirited performance. It is just their third win in the last ten matches and pulls them further away from fellow Italian strugglers Zebre. Despite the comprehensive win Treviso fell behind early following a Jason Tovey penalty on 10 minutes. Treviso were level 7 minutes later following a Mat Berquist penalty but Tovey restored the Dragons' lead with another penalty moments later. However, the first try of the match on 22 minutes signalled the beginning of the end for Newport Gwent Dragons.
The Dragons managed a three-try haul from Matthew Screech, Ross Wardle & Cory Hill, but Treviso eclipsed them with five from Ludovico Nitoglia, Luke McLean, Michele Campagnaro, Manoa Vosawai and Matteo Muccignat, which coupled with 20 points from Mat Berquist, left the visitors flailing.
OSPREYS 25 - 19 LEINSTER RUGBY
Liberty Stadium - Friday 11 April 2014
KO: 19:05 HT: 13-10 Att: 8,656
Ospreys T: Hassler C: Biggar P: Biggar (5) DG: Biggar
Leinster T: Healy C: Gopperth P: Gopperth (4)
ULSTER RUGBY 58 - 12 CONNACHT RUGBY
Ravenhill Stadium - Friday 11 April 2014
KO: 19:05 HT: 30-5 Att: 13,948
Ulster T: Paul Marshall (2), Trimble (3), Bowe, Luke Marshall, Gilroy C: Jackson (5), McKinney P: Jackson (2)
Connacht T: McSharry, Leader C: Nikora Swift
EDINBURGH RUGBY 22 - 29 CARDIFF BLUES
Murrayfield - Friday 11 April 2014
KO: 19:45 HT: 10-17 Att: 3,700
Edinburgh T: Scott, Brown, du Preez C: Cuthbert (2) P: Cuthbert
Blues T: Allen (2), Fish, Hewitt C: Gareth Davies (3) P: Gareth Davies Bradley Davies
MUNSTER 5 - 22 GLASGOW WARRIORS
Thomond Park - Saturday 12 April 2014
KO: 18:30 HT: 5-22 Att: 13,946
Munster T: Stander
Warriors T: Gray, Maitland, Strauss C: Weir (2) P: Weir
SCARLETS 27 - 20 ZEBRE
Parc y Scarlets - Saturday 12 April 2014
KO: 18:30 HT: 9-13 Att: 6,708
Scarlets T: Jordan Williams, Owens C: Priestland P: Priestland (5) Timani
Zebre T: Vunisa, Toniolatti, Garcia C: Orquera P: Garcia
BENETTON TREVISO 45 - 27 DRAGONS
Stadio Monigo - Saturday 12 April 2014
KO: 19:00 HT: 19-6 Att: 3,183
Treviso T: Nitoglia, McLean, Campagnaro, Vosawai, Muccignat C: Berquist (4) P: Berquist (4)
Dragons T: Screech, Wardle, Hill C: Tovey (3) P: Tovey (2)
IN a re-arranged fixture after the original Valentine's night clash was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, Paddy Jackson showed Joe Schmidt just what he is missing with a virtuoso first-half display as Ulster claimed a bonus-point win over the Scarlets to strengthen their grip on a RaboDirect PRO12 play-off spot. Jackson was sent back for club duty this weekend by the Ireland head coach as Leinster's Ian Madigan took his place in the matchday squad but the youngster certainly was not licking his wounds with two tries in the first half at Ravenhill. In addition Jackson also set up a fine score for Tommy Bowe as Ulster cut their Welsh opponents to shreds, crossing the whitewash three times before the interval. Gareth Davies' breakaway effort kept the Welsh region interested but the biggest cheer of the night was reserved for Stephen Ferris who came off the bench in the second half for his first appearance since November 2012. And a rip-roaring cameo from the British & Irish Lion, who has been out with an ankle injury for 16 months, helped Ulster to seal the bonus point with the last play of the game as Tom Court burrowed over.
EDINBURGH staved off a late assault at Rodney Parade to record their first away win of this season's RaboDirect PRO12, edging to a 23-19 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons. WP Nel and Matt Scott crossed over for Alan Solomons' side, as Jack Cuthbert regularly kept the scoreboard ticking over from the tee. Replacement Ross Wardle's late try put the pressure on and the Dragons were piling forward for a killer blow in the dying stages, but Edinburgh held on to claim their second league win of 2014.
TWO tries from Henry Pyrgos and a stunning performance from Sean Maitland saw Glasgow Warriors storm back into the RaboDirect PRO12 play-off places with a 29-10 victory over Benetton Treviso. In an early blitz Pyrgos grabbed the double either side of a Niko Matawalu score, but it was the lightning speed of Maitland that conjured up both of the tries. And the utility back, making his first start since December for Glasgow after injury troubles, bagged one of his own in the second half - while Pete Horne also made his return following nine months out with cruciate ligament damage. Treviso had cut the lead down to nine at the break through Alberto Sgarbi's score and five points from kicker Tobias Botes before the hosts raced away. Warriors may have won two RaboDirect PRO12 games on the spin but Treviso had seen off Scottish rivals Edinburgh last time out for their fourth league win of the season.
ULSTER 26 - 13 SCARLETS
Ravenhill - Friday 14 March 2014
KO: 19:05 HT: 21-10 Att: 14,000
Ulster T: Jackson (2), Bowe, Court C: Pienaar (3)
Scarlets T: Gareth Davies C: Barclay P: Barclay, Barkley
DRAGONS 19 - 23 EDINBURGH RUGBY
Rodney Parade - Thursday 03 April 2014
KO: 18:30 HT: 9-10 Att: 4,574
Dragons T: Wardle C: Tovey P: Tovey (4)
Edinburgh T: Nel, Scott C: Cuthbert (2) P: Cuthbert (3) van der Westhuizen
GLASGOW 29 - 10 BENETTON TREVISO
Scotstoun Stadium - Friday 04 April 2014
KO: 19:35 HT: 19-10 Att: 4,710
Warriors T: Pyrgos (2), Matawalu, Maitland C: Russell (3) P: Russell Holmes
Treviso T: Sgarbi C: Botes P: Botes
TOMMY SEYMOUR's dramatic late try saw Glasgow Warriors clinch a nail-biting 11-9 victory over RaboDirect PRO12 play-off rivals the Ospreys at Scotstoun. Seymour dived over on 75 minutes and the try was awarded after consultation with the TMO, just three minutes after Dan Biggar's drop goal handed the impetus to the visitors. In a tight match that was locked at 6-6, Biggar was on target on 72 minutes but after a break and kick forward from Niko Matawalu, Seymour dotted down to win the match for the hosts. Ospreys' losing bonus point keeps them in fourth, one point and one place above the Warriors, but the Scots have two games in hand in the race for the play-offs.
JEVON GROVES' late try rescued a 25-25 draw for Newport Gwent Dragons, denying Zebre a fourth ever victory in the RaboDirect PRO12 in the process. Groves dotted down with three minutes to go - Jason Tovey converting - to level the scores after a Luciano Orquera penalty on 72 minutes had given the hosts a 25-18 lead. It's the second time Zebre have drawn this season and while they remain at the bottom of the RaboDirect PRO12 table, they have pulled level on 20 points with fellow Italians Treviso. After a scoreless opening 20 minutes at the Stadio XXV Aprile the floodgates were opened by Samuela Vunisa who ran over to give Zebre the lead. An Orquera conversion was enough to ensure Zebre maintained their lead after Dragons' Tovey was unable to convert Dan Evans' try on 26 minutes. The remainder of the hosts points came from a penalty from Garcia and five from Orquera, while Smith & Groves crossed for the Welsh region and Tovey added two penalties for the draw.
A classy kicking display from Cardiff Blues' Gareth Davies ensured the Welsh outfit walked away 28-23 victors against Ulster in the RaboDirect PRO12. The 30-year-old fly-half kicked seven penalties and one conversion and proved to be the difference between the two sides. The win was a first in six match for the Blues who suffered against the Ospreys last week, losing 34-9 in the Welsh derby. The Blues looked to have the game wrapped up at the break after ending the half 22-5 after Robin Copeland raced over the line following a clever pass from winger Alex Cuthbert. But six penalties from Cave brought the visitors close enough to secure a losing bonus point.
QUICKFIRE tries from front rows Leonardo Ghiraldini and Alberto de Marchi saw Benetton Treviso stop the rot with a well-earned 20-16 RaboDirect PRO12 victory over Edinburgh. Treviso clinched their first win in the RaboDirect PRO12 since late December, hitting back after trailing 9-3 at the interval with Ghiraldini and de Marchi dotting down within five minutes of each other. Edinburgh salvaged a late bonus point when Cornell Du Preez went over at the death - Carl Bezuidenhout converting - but there was no time to complete a dramatic comeback. Alan Solomons' troops may have lost their last two RaboDirect PRO12 away games but had collected two bonus points in doing so with narrow defeats at Scarlets and Connacht. Meanwhile, Treviso were on an eight-game losing streak in all competitions and found themselves under pressure from the off, with scrum-half Grayson Hart in particular looking menacing.
BRIAN O'DRISCOLL scored his first try of the season as Leinster came from behind to defeat Munster 22-18 and maintain their lead at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table. In a pulsating game between the league's top two sides, Ian Keatley had got his side into a deserved lead with four penalties before Ian Madigan levelled up the penalty count as the hosts gradually worked their way back into the game. But making the most of Dave Kilcoyne's yellow card, Leinster made their pressure count in the second half with O'Driscoll getting the game's only try just short of the hour mark, converted by Madigan. Keatley added two more penalties to Madigan's one but it was not enough as the Munstermen's poor away record to Leinster continued with their fifth consecutive loss, not helped by the enforced reshuffle as captain Peter O'Mahony reported a tight hamstring prematch with CJ Stander coming into the starting line up in his place.
JONATHAN DAVIES' second-minute try helped lay the platform for Scarlets' 32-30 RaboDirect PRO12 victory over Connacht, but they were pushed all the way by the Irish region who picked up a losing bonus point late on. Jonathan Davies was one of a number of players returning from international duty to boost Scarlets' season run in, and he needed little time to leave his mark, touching down almost immediately before eight points from Rhys Priestland helped them into a 13-6 half-time lead. A Gareth Davies try plus a superb team move finished by Josh Turnbull extended their lead before Connacht hit back with tries from Fionn Carr and Robbie Henshaw to get within two points. Gareth Maule's try settled nerves for the Scarlets but Eoin McKeon dotted down at the death to ensure Connacht did not come away empty handed.
GLASGOW WARRIORS 11 - 9 OSPREYS
Scotstoun Stadium - Friday 28 March 2014
KO: 19:35 HT: 0-3 Att: 5,038
Warriors T: Seymour P: Weir (2)
Ospreys P: Biggar (2) DG: Biggar
ZEBRE 25 - 25 NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS
Stadio XXV Aprile - Saturday 29 March 2014
KO: 16:00 HT: 13-15 Att: 1,800
Zebre T: Vunisa C: Orquera P: Garcia, Orquera (5)
Dragons T: Dan Evans, Smith, Groves C: Tovey (2) P: Tovey (2) Faletau
CARDIFF BLUES 28 - 23 ULSTER RUGBY
Arms Park - Saturday 29 March 2014
KO: 18:30 HT: 22-5 Att: 7,084
Blues T: Copeland C: Gareth Davies P: Gareth Davies (7)
Ulster T: Cave P: Jackson (6) Tuohy
BENETTON TREVISO 20 - 16 EDINBURGH
Stadio Monigo - Saturday 29 March 2014
KO: 19:00 HT: 3-9 Att: 3,160
Treviso T: Ghiraldini, de Marchi C: Botes (2) P: Botes (2)
Edinburgh T: du Preez C: Bezuidenhout P: Bezuidenhout (3)
LEINSTER RUGBY 22 - 18 MUNSTER RUGBY
AVIVA Stadium - Saturday 29 March 2014
KO: 19:00 HT: 6-12 Att: 51,700
Leinster T: O'Driscoll C: Madigan P: Madigan (5
Munster P: Keatley (6) Kilcoyne
SCARLETS 32 - 30 CONNACHT RUGBY
Parc y Scarlets - Sunday 30 March 2014
KO: 14:05 HT: 13-6 Att: 6,111
Scarlets T: Jonathan Davies, Gareth Davies, Turnbull, Maule C: Priestland (3) P: Priestland (2)
Connacht T: Marmion, Carr, Henshaw, McKeon C: Nikora (2) P: Parks (2)
AISEA NATOGA scored a hat-trick of tries to secure Ospreys a 34-9 bonus-point victory over Cardiff Blues and strengthen their grip on a RaboDirect PRO12 play-off place. Natoga's two first-half tries followed the opening score of the night from Ashley Beck and the winger added a third of his own once Rhys Webb had wrapped up the bonus point after the break. Dan Biggar also kicked nine points while Gareth Davies slotted three penalties for the Blues but they have now lost six straight RaboDirect PRO12 contests against their Welsh rivals. The victory extended Ospreys' advantage over Glasgow Warriors in the race for the final play-off spot to eight points - though the Scots now boast three games in hand.
TWO tries from Luke Fitzgerald saw Leinster cruise to a 27-0 victory over Zebre and extend their lead at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table. Fitzgerald went over twice in the second half, adding to Noel Reid's first-half score as Leinster racked up a seventh straight RaboDirect PRO12 win, and the margin would have been wider had Ian Madigan, celebrating his 25th birthday, brought his shooting boots. Jordi Murphy dotted down at the last to secure the bonus point and with Munster hosting Treviso on Saturday, Leinster gave themselves some breathing space at the summit.
PADDY JACKSON kicked all the points as Ulster ground out a 9-3 victory over Edinburgh at Murrayfield to move into second place in the RaboDirect PRO12 table. Carl Bezuidenhout opened the scoring for Edinburgh but Jackson struck three times from the tee as Ulster racked up a sixth straight victory in the RaboDirect to move above Munster, who face Treviso on Saturday. Edinburgh impressed in spells but their indiscipline was their undoing, ensuring their impressive run of four wins in five matches came to a halt - head coach Alan Solomons seeing his former side get one over his current outfit.
GLASGOW WARRIORS marked their return to action at Scotstoun for the first time in six weeks with a hard-fought 14-6 win against the Scarlets in the RaboDirect PRO 12. Man-of-the-match Niko Matawalu was the evening's only try scorer after he dived over for the Warriors on the half-hour mark. The win is the Warriors' first in three games following narrow losses to Leinster earlier this month and Newport Gwent Dragons at the end of February.
KEITH EARLS announced his return from injury with a first-half try as Munster made hard work of Benetton Treviso in a 14-3 win at Thomond Park. Treviso had suffered punishing defeats to Ospreys and Connacht in their last two RaboDirect PRO12 trips but ran Rob Penney's side close for the entire 80 minutes. Mat Berquist's third-minute penalty gave the Italians the lead but Earls, whose knee injury had kept him out of the competition since December, finally got Munster off the mark just before half time. James Downey found another breakthrough for the Irish province in the second half while JJ Hanrahan had a troublesome night off the tee, missing two penalties though successful with his conversions. The win sees Munster return to second place - leapfrogging Ulster - while Leinster remain on top by two points ahead of the pair's mouthwatering tie at the Aviva Stadium in week 18. The Italians had not won a RaboDirect PRO12 away game since December 2012 while Thomond Park remains as imperious as ever - Munster are the only team in the tournament with a 100 per cent home record intact.
TWO TRIES from captain John Muldoon helped Connacht extend their winning run in the RaboDirect PRO12 with a forward-inspired 24-8 victory at Newport Gwent Dragons. Not since the 2002/2003 season had the Irish side managed four league wins on the spin but after dominating up front at Rodney Parade, they closed the gap in the table to Dragons to a single point. The early damage was done during an impressive 20 minutes of forward dominance which saw tries from Muldoon and Rodney Ah You - the first from a Dragons scrum and the second from a line out. Dragons improved after the break but while Tom Prydie crossed the whitewash, Connacht added two further tries from driving mauls through Muldoon and Michael Swift to cement victory.
OSPREYS 34 - 9 CARDIFF BLUES
Liberty Stadium - Friday 21 March 2014
KO: 19:05 HT: 17-9 Att: 8,832
Ospreys T: Beck, Natoga (3), Webb C: Biggar (3) P: Biggar
Blues P: Davies (3)
LEINSTER RUGBY 27 - 0 ZEBRE
Royal Dublin Society - Friday 21 March 2014
KO: 19:15 HT: 8-0 Att: 14,855
Leinster T: Reid, Fitzgerald (2), Murphy C: Madigan (2) P: Madigan
EDINBURGH RUGBY 3 - 9 ULSTER RUGBY
Murrayfield - Friday 21 March 2014
KO: 19:45 HT: 3-6 Att: 6,333
Edinburgh P: Bezuidenhout
Ulster P: Jackson (3) Henderson
GLASGOW WARRIORS 14 - 6 SCARLETS
Scotstoun Stadium - Saturday 22 March 2014
KO: 18:30 HT: 11-3 Att: 4,679
Warriors T: Matawalu P: Weir (3)
Scarlets P: Barkley (2)
MUNSTER RUGBY 14 - 3 BENETTON TREVISO
Thomond Park - Saturday 22 March 2014
KO: 19:15 HT: 7-3 Att: 13,946
Munster T: Earls, Downey C: Hanrahan (2)
Treviso P: Berquist Maistri
DRAGONS 8 - 24 CONNACHT RUGBY
Rodney Parade - Sunday 23 March 2014
KO: 15:05 HT: 3-14 Att: 5,474
Dragons T: Prydie P: Tovey Sidoli
Connacht T: Muldoon (2), Ah You, Swift C: Parks (2) Leader
ULSTER boosted their chances of a top four RaboDirect PRO12 finish with a scintillating 38-8 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons at Ravenhill. The Irish side ran in five tries through Ruan Pienaar, Sean Doyle and a penalty score, with Tommy Bowe also grabbing two on his first start on the wing for three months. Meanwhile, the welsh side could only gift a penalty try, followed up by a penalty, mustering a solitary unconverted try from Ross Wardle in the final quarter, notching up a ninth loss in the tournament.
EDINBURGH RUGBY won the tightest of contests against the Ospreys 31-25 with the decisive contribution coming from Grayson Hart. The Kiwi scrum-half's quick-thinking was too much for the visitors, who were caught napping twice as Hart broke from the back of the maul to scorch over the line, centre Sam Beard also touching down for the home side. Dan Biggar kept the Ospreys in the hunt until the final seconds, while winger Jeff Hassler also scored two opportunistic tries to kept Edinburgh on their toes. But the reliable boot of South African full-back Carl Bezuidenhout ensured Edinburgh were never headed, securing their first win in four with a 16-point haul of his own.
TRIES from Brendon Leonard and Giulio Toniolatti helped Zebre to their first RaboDirect PRO12 double as they saw off Cardiff Blues 15-10 in Parma. In difficult conditions they scored two first-half tries to take control of the game, and despite a Blues fightback, they were able to hold on for their third win of the campaign. Earlier in the season Zebre had recorded their first ever victory in the reverse fixture in Cardiff, emerging 30-25 victors. And they made the perfect start through their former All Black scrum-half Leonard. The Kiwi, who had scored the winning try in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, went over after just two minutes to give Zebre the lead, Kelly Haimona's conversion made it 7-0. The Blues quickly replied with a penalty from Gareth Davies while Haimona missed three penalty attempts in quick succession as Zebre dominated but struggled to turn possession into points. However after the sin-binning of Rory Watts-Jones, Zebre scored their second try through the opportunism of Toniolatti. 3-12 down into the second quarter, Cardiff needed to react and tried to take advantage when Filippo Ferrarini was sent to the sin-bin for collapsing a maul. But despite playing with a man down, Zebre were able to keep their visitors at bay. Tommy Williams second half try was not enough, and Harry Robinson's last minute attempt was foiled through obstruction en route.
CONNACHT made it three straight RaboDirect PRO12 victories thanks to John Muldoon's double with a comprehensive 38-6 bonus-point victory over Treviso. Pat Lam's side made a flying start with three first-half tries from Fionn Carr, Muldoon and Kieran Marmion to lead 24-6 at the break. And it was more of the same after the break as Connacht added two more tries through Muldoon and Eoin McKeon, whilst Matt Berquist's first half penalties barely made a dent for the visitors.
RABODIRECT PRO12 leaders Munster lost for the first time in Wales this season as the Scarlets claimed a 18-13 win at Parc Y Scarlets. Tries from Gareth Davies and John Barclay were enough for Simon Easterby's side despite some opportunistic finishing from Munster in the first half. After an edgy opening quarter of an hour, it was the Scarlets who took the lead through new signing Olly Barkley who knocked over a simple penalty. Munster responded immediately with a penalty of their own through Ian Keatley but it was the home side who were dominating possession and territory. Despite being on the back foot, the Munster defence was holding firm until just before the half-hour when RaboDirect PRO12 top-scorer Davies produced a moment of magic. The scrum-half had a go himself off the back of a Scarlets maul, skipping past James Coughlan before stepping the desperate Munster cover defence to score his seventh try of the campaign. Barkley was off-target with the tricky conversion but the Scarlets led 8-3. Davies once more showed his quick feet as he broke off the back of a Scarlets scrum, but with Munster looking stretched, Barkley could not collect a low pass, and Gerhard Van der Heever was able to scoop it up and run in unopposed from halfway. Keatley's conversion made it 10-8 to the visitors against the run of play. Keatley's simple penalty made it 13-8 at half-time after Phil John was pinged off his feet. But Thomas' penalty and Barclay's converted try were enough to seal the deal for Scarlets before the final quarter began, while missed opportunities were left out n the park for the visitors.
DEFENDING RaboDirect PRO12 champions Leinster went top of the table with a hard-fought 28-25 win over Glasgow Warriors at the RDS. Noel Reid, Daragh Fanning and Rhys Ruddock all went over the hosts who leapfrog bitter rivals Munster at the top after the latter's defeat in Wales against the Scarlets. The Warriors stay fifth in the table but can take plenty of positives as they pushed their illustrious rivals all the way, crossing for three scores in Dublin. Richie Vernon bagged two of them, his first scores since converting to centre from the back-row, in the first half and Nikola Matawalu burrowed over after the interval as they momentarily led their hosts. But in the end the Irish region proved too strong as Ruddock's score, plus 13 points in total from the boot of Ian Madigan saw the Irish region home.
ULSTER RUGBY 38 - 8 DRAGONS
Ravenhill Stadium - Friday 28 February 2014
KO: 19:05 HT: 31-3 Att: 12,960
Ulster T: Pienaar, Bowe (2), PT, Doyle C: Jackson (5) P: Pienaar
Dragons T: Wardle P: Rhys Jones Owen Evans
EDINBURGH RUGBY 31 - 25 OSPREYS
Murrayfield - Friday 28 February 2014
KO: 19:35 HT: 22-11 Att: 3,000
Edinburgh T: Hart (2), Beard C: Bezuidenhout (2) P: Bezuidenhout (4) Cross, Atkins
Ospreys T: Hassler (2) P: Biggar (5) Beck
ZEBRE 15 - 10 CARDIFF BLUES
Stadio XXV Aprile - Saturday 01 March 2014
KO: 16:00 HT: 12-3 Att: tbc
Zebre T: Leonard, Toniolatti C: Haimona P: Orquera Ferrarini
Blues T: Tom Williams C: Gareth Davies P: Gareth Davies Watts-Jones
CONNACHT RUGBY 38 - 6 BENETTON TREVISO
Sportsground - Saturday 01 March 2014
KO: 17:00 HT: 24-6 Att: tbc
Connacht T: Carr, Muldoon (2), Marmion, McKeon C: Parks (3), Nikora P: Parks
Treviso P: Berquist (2) Filipucci, Fernandez-Rouyet
SCARLETS 18 - 13 MUNSTER RUGBY
Parc y Scarlets - Saturday 01 March 2014
KO: 18:30 HT: 8-13 Att: tbc
Scarlets T: Gareth Davies, Barclay C: Thomas P: Barkley, Thomas Turnbull
Munster T: van den Heever C: Keatley P: Keatley (2)
LEINSTER 28 - 25 GLASGOW WARRIORS
Royal Dublin Society - Saturday 01 March 2014
KO: 20:30 HT: 21-15 Att: tbc
Leinster T: Reid, Fanning, Ruddock C: Madigan (2) P: Madigan (3)
Warriors T: Vernon (2), Matawalu C: Russell (2) P: Russell (2)
JACK CONAN marked his Leinster debut with a try-scoring man of the match performance as the reigning RaboDirect PRO12 champions saw off Cardiff Blues 34-22 to go back to the top of the table. Conan, a member of the club's Academy, dotted down alongside returning Richardt Strauss before efforts from Gareth Davies and Kristian Dacey pulled the Blues back to within five points, 17-12 at the break. But Leinster came again in the second half with Michael Bent and Eoin Reddan securing the bonus point win, while Dan Fish added the third try for the Blues, who have now won just once in their last eight league games.
FULL-BACK Jordan Williams enhanced his burgeoning reputation as his two tries saw the Scarlets roar back to secure a 25-21 victory over Edinburgh in the RaboDirect PRO12. In his tenth appearance of the RaboDirect PRO12 season, 20-year-old Williams scored his third and fourth tries of the season after Edinburgh had stormed into an early 10-0 lead. Williams starred for Wales Under-20s at last year's Junior World Championship and while George North has flown the nest, the Scarlets believe they may have unearthed the next international star. And on this showing, they may well be right. He scored twice in eight minutes to hand his side an 18-13 lead at the interval and while Edinburgh briefly threatened a comeback, centre Adam Warren scored the decisive try for the Scarlets.
DUNCAN BELL's shock return to the rugby field ended in victory as Newport Gwent Dragons defeat Glasgow Warriors 24-23 in a thrilling RaboDirect PRO12 encounter. Bell has not played a professional game for two years after he ended his career while at Bath and is the current head coach at Lydney. The 39-year-old was called in by the Dragons to help their depleted squad which has been suffering after a spate of injuries, suspensions and illness. Glasgow had won their last four games in the RaboDirect PRO12 but when the Dragons took the lead for the first time ten minutes before the end thanks to Ross Wardle's try, they managed to hold out for a vital victory.
ULSTER continued their relentless charge up the RaboDirect PRO 12 table thanks to tries from Darren Cave and Robbie Diack but the Irish side were made to work hard for the 14-12 win by a determined Treviso. Pre-game statistics suggested a comfortable win for Ulster but four penalties from Treviso fly-half Mat Berquist and continued needless errors by the visitors at the breakdown made for a tense fixture. Treviso started like an express against Ulster; with their Irish opponents unable to get out of their own half in the opening minutes. The Italians may have lost their last five games but the home side did not appear short on confidence as they dominated the breakdown area in the opening 10 minutes. After a period of sustained pressure Ulster centre Cave scored a try from close range and Ruan Pienaar added the extras after 11 minutes. Ulster had only lost once in their last ten games and it was easy to see why as the Irish side started to look threatening every time they got ball in hand, though the visitors almost scored a second try after 33 minutes. For all their dominance in the loose, needless errors at the breakdown ensured referee George Clancy continually penalised the visitors and after 48 minutes further indiscipline from Ulster saw Berquist cut the deficit to just a solitary point for Treviso. Ulster flanker Diack went over for a try after a period of sustained pressure, but if Ulster were expecting Treviso to collapse after the score, they were mistaken as Berquist reduced the arrears with a penalty on 57 minutes and then they got within two points of the Irishmen with another penalty from their fly-half on 71 minutes. Ulster were thankful of the final whistle as Treviso applied continued pressure in the last 10 minutes but the visitors held firm to take the win.
JAMES DOWNEY helped himself to his first Munster try as the 2011 champions returned to the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 with a 25-11 victory over Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium. Ospreys hosted the Munstermen off the back of demolishing Treviso 75-7 last time out, their biggest victory since the region was formed in 2003. But Munster brought their Welsh hosts crashing back down to earth and leapfrogged Leinster to climb back to the summit of the RaboDirect PRO12 thanks to tries from Sean Dougall, Simon Zebo and Downey. Ian Keatley and JJ Hanrahan added the rest of the points from the tee while the Ospreys could only muster an Ashley Beck try and two Sam Davies penalties in reply.
A first-half blitz helped Connacht to a 27-19 victory over Zebre and saw Pat Lam's side complete a RaboDirect PRO12 double over their Italian opponents. Rodney Ah You and scrum-half Kieran Marmion touched down in the opening 26 minutes while Connacht were also awarded a penalty try before the break as the visitors marched into a 22-0 lead at the half-time interval. Things got even better for Connacht after the break as centre Eoin Griffin wrapped up the bonus point on 56 minutes and while Zebre hit back through tries from Giovanbattista Venditti, Samuela Vunisa and Dries van Schalkwyk, there was to be no way back. It means Connacht have prevailed against Zebre four times this season, having also got the better of them on two occasions in the European Cup and it moves Lam's side above Treviso into tenth.
CARDIFF BLUES 22 - 34 LEINSTER RUGBY
Arms Park - Friday 20 February 2014
KO: 20:05 HT: 12-17 Att: 5,063
Blues T: Gareth Davies, Dacey, Fish C: Gareth Davies P: Gareth Davies
Leinster T: Conan, Strauss, Bent, Reddan C: Gopperth (4) P: Gopperth (2) Denton
SCARLETS 25 - 21 EDINBURGH RUGBY
Parc y Scarlets - Saturday 22 February 2014
KO: 14:30 HT: 18-13 Att: 5,675
Scarlets T: Jordan Williams (2), Warren C: Thomas (2) P: Thomas (2)
Edinburgh T: de Luca, Brown C: Bezuidenhout P: Bezuidenhout (2), Cuthbert
DRAGONS 24 - 23 GLASGOW WARRIORS
Rodney Parade - Sunday 23 February 2014
KO: 14:30 HT: 10-17 Att: 3,916
Dragons T: Owen Evans, Hill, Wardle C: Tovey, Rhys Jones (2) P: Tovey
Warriors T: Harley, Matawalu C: Russell (2) P: Bennett, Russell (2)
BENETTON TREVISO 12 - 14 ULSTER RUGBY
Stadio Monigo - Sunday 23 February 2014
KO: 15:00 HT: 3-7 Att: 2,720
Treviso P: Berquist (4)
Ulster T: Cave, Diack C: Pienaar (2)
OSPREYS 11 - 25 MUNSTER RUGBY
Liberty Stadium - Sunday 23 February 2014
KO: 16:00 HT: 8-13 Att: 5,766
Ospreys T: Beck P: Davies (2) Jones
Munster T: Dougall, Zebo, Downey C: Keatley, Hanrahan P: Keatley (2)
ZEBRE 19 - 27 CONNACHT RUGBY
Stadio XXV Aprile - Sunday 23 February 2014
KO: 17:30 HT: 0-22 Att: 1,265
Zebre T: Venditti, Vunisa, van Schalkwyk C: Nathan, Chillon Perugini
Connacht T: Ah You, Marmion, PT, Griffin C: Parks (2) P: Parks
ULSTER'S RaboDirect PRO12 match against Scarlets at Ravenhill scheduled for Friday evening was postponed after the referee, Leighton Hodges, deemed the pitch unplayable.
LEINSTER'S power eventually told as two penalty tries helped them continue their fine form in the RaboDirect PRO12 and moved them top of the table with a 31-19 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons. Jack McGrath and Darren Hudson also got on the scoresheet for Leinster, who were given a sizable scare by two tries in three minutes shortly after the break for the Dragons, but came away with all five points on offer. It's a fifth win in their last six RaboDirect PRO12 matches for Leinster but while the Dragons had not beaten an Irish province on their travels since 2008, quickfire tries from Ashley Smith and Richie Rees had threatened an upset at the RDS.
MICHAEL SWIFT'S second-half try spared the blushes of teammate Craig Ronaldson as Connacht picked up their first RaboDirect PRO12 victory of 2014 with a 11-7 win over Edinburgh. Trailing 7-3 at the break to Roddy Grant's early try for Edinburgh, the hosts could have found themselves five points ahead had Ronaldson converted more than the single penalty he managed in the first half. But with the visitors reduced to 14 men following Cornell Du Preez's second-half yellow, Swift dotted down to nudge them ahead before Dan Parks' penalty extended their advantage. It was far from a convincing performance from either side but the hosts did just enough to claim a much-needed victory - just their second of their last 13 RaboDirect PRO12 matches. Heading into the game, Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons had admitted his side may be a bit rusty having seen their previous RaboDirect PRO12 game against Newport Gwent Dragons postponed. But there was certainly no sign of any sluggishness for the Scottish side at the Sportsground as Grant charged over for the first try, though it was not enough.
MARK BENNETT'S last-gasp try provided just the dramatic ending Glasgow Warriors were searching for as they overcame a ten-point deficit early in the second half to shock Cardiff Blues 27-20. Tries from Robin Copeland and Lewis Jones, along with seven points from Simon Humberstone, had the Blues 17-7 ahead after 46 minutes - a converted Lee Jones score Glasgow's only response. But scores from James Eddie and Bennett in the final ten minutes, along with Finn Russell's ten points from the kicking tee, gave Glasgow the win at Cardiff Arms Park. The result moves the Warriors into third above Ulster in the RaboDirect PRO12 standings after the Irish region saw their game postponed.
SIMON ZEBO was back to his clinical best, dotting down twice in the first half as Munster beat Zebre 36-8 and returned to the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table. After Tommaso D'Apice opened the scoring for Zebre, the Ireland wing crossed the whitewash twice to put Munster in control before half time. Further tries for Ger Slattery and Tommy O'Donnell secured the bonus point and Slattery was on hand to add a fifth late on, as Munster ended Leinster's overnight PRO12 lead.
OSPREYS flew back into the RaboDirect PRO12 top four in style, running in eleven tries and sending Benetton Treviso back to Italy licking their wounds. Jonathan Spratt and Sam Davies each dotted down twice as Ospreys smashed their record RaboDirect PRO12 win - previously a 60-7 win against Borders in 2004. There were also tries for Ashley Beck, Rhys Webb, Aisea Natoga, Jeff Hassler, Dan Baker, Hanno Dirksen and Ryan Jones as the Welsh side won 75-7 and strengthened their playoff credentials. Ospreys enjoyed much of the early possession and territory but the away side held firm and had the first opportunity to break the deadlock. After venturing into the hosts' half for the first time in the match Treviso were awarded a penalty on 12 minutes, but Mat Berquist sent his kick wide of the posts. At 35-0 down, Treviso were not quite ready to throw in the towel and replacement Mantydas Tveraga dotted down after 54 minutes. Berquist this time bisected the posts but their joy was short-lived with a 75-point routing.
ULSTER RUGBY P - P SCARLETS
Ravenhill Stadium - Friday 14 February 2014
LEINSTER RUGBY 31 - 19 DRAGONS
Royal Dublin Society - Friday 14 February 2014
KO: 19:45 HT: 10-3 Att: 15,000
Leinster T: McGrath, PT (2), Hudson C: Madigan (4) P: Madigan
Dragons T: Smith, Rees P: Tovey (2) DG: Tovey Buck, Groves, Chaparro
CONNACHT RUGBY 11 - 7 EDINBURGH RUGBY
Sportsground - Saturday 15 February 2014
KO: 17:00 HT: 3-7 Att: 4,038
Connacht T: Swift P: Ronaldson, Parks
Edinburgh T: Grant C: Bezuidenhout du Preez
CARDIFF BLUES 20 - 27 GLASGOW
Arms Park - Saturday 15 February 2014
KO: 18:30 HT: 10-7 Att: 5,645
Blues T: Copeland, Jones C: Humberstone (2) P: Humberstone, Davies
Warriors T: Jones, Eddie, Bennett C: Jackson, Russell (2) P: Russell (2)
MUNSTER RUGBY 36 - 8 ZEBRE
Musgrave Park - Saturday 15 February 2014
KO: 18:45 HT: 15-5 Att: 7,330
Munster T: Zebo (2), Slattery (2), O'Donnell C: Hanrahan, Keatley (3) P: Hanrahan
Zebre T: d'Apice P: Palazzani van Schalkwyk
OSPREYS 75 - 7 BENETTON TREVISO
Liberty Stadium - Sunday 16 February 2014
KO: 16:00 HT: 24-0 Att: tbc
Ospreys T: Spratt (2), Beck, Webb, Natoga, Hassler, Davies (2), Baker, Dirksen, Ryan Jones C: Biggar (4), Davies (6)
Treviso T: Tveraga C: Berquist di Bernardo
DARREN CAVE's second-half try proved decisive as Ulster triumphed 10-7 to leapfrog their opponents the Ospreys and climb to second spot in the RaboDirect PRO12. Matthew Morgan, the 21-year-old fly-half, ran the show in the first half with his sharp footwork causing Ulster all manner of problems and setting up a try for Sam Lewis that had Ospreys 7-3 up at the break. Yet Ulster rediscovered their poise after the break and Cave carved open the Welsh defence to swing the game in the home side's favour and establish a lead they never surrendered.
SCARLETS survived a late Italian fightback to claim a 41-33 bonus-point win and condemn Benetton Treviso to back-to-back RaboDirect PRO12 defeats. Frazier Climo grabbed a first-half double but the boot of Treviso full-back Mat Berquist regularly kept Scarlets in check. Kirby Myhill, Gareth Davies and Kristian Phillips also dotted down as the Welsh side dominated proceedings early on, but second-half scores for Robert Barbieri, Meyer Swanepoel and Ludovico Nitoglia ensured a nervy finish. However, Jordan Williams' late score spared Scarlets' blushes and ended a run of four straight RaboDirect PRO12 defeats for Simon Easterby's side.
SIMON ZEBO marked his return to the Munster starting line-up with a try as the RaboDirect PRO12 leaders produced a scintillating second-half display to down Cardiff Blues 54-13. JJ Hanrahan was at his best from the tee, bagging 24 points, with Dave Kilcoyne's first-half try, a first home score for Gerhard van den Heever, a penalty try and late efforts from Andrew Conway and CJ Stander doing the rest of the damage. Owen Williams' first-half try was all the Blues really had to celebrate as they were simply blown away after the break, conceding 35 unanswered points in the second half.
A Mark Bennett try and a solitary Ruaridh Jackson penalty proved enough for Glasgow Warriors to see off RaboDirect PRO12 basement boys Connacht as they won 8-6 at Scotstoun. With the weather forcing Glasgow's last two home games to be postponed, the Warriors welcomed Connacht to Scotstoun having won three of their last four clashes with Irish sides. But despite Connacht's last RaboDirect PRO12 away win coming back in April, the strugglers found themselves ahead as two Craig Ronaldson penalties cancelled out a Bennett try for the hosts. However Connacht couldn't add to their tally after the break and Jackson sent over a 44th-minute penalty that proved to be enough for the narrow victory.
LEINSTER ran in four tries to deny Zebre back-to-back wins and keep pace with RaboDirect PRO12 leaders Munster with a bonus-point win. Tries for John Cooney and Noel Reid either side of half time helped Leinster forget a slow start, after Dries van Schalkwyk gave the hosts the lead. Zane Kirchner killed the game off to ensure Zebre would not win consecutive RaboDirect PRO12 games for the first time in their history, while Darren Hudson earned the bonus point late on.
ULSTER RUGBY 10 - 7 OSPREYS
Ravenhill Stadium - Friday 07 February 2014
KO: 19:35 HT: 3-7 Att: 12,986
Ulster T: Cave C: Pienaar P: Pienaar
Ospreys T: Lewis C: Davies
BENETTON TREVISO 33 - 41 SCARLETS
Stadio Monigo - Saturday 08 February 2014
KO: 14:00 HT: 9-13 Att: 2,918
Treviso T: Barbieri, Swanepoel, Nitoglia C: Berquist (3) P: Berquist (4)
Scarlets T: Myhill, Climo (2), Gareth Davies, Kristian Phillips (2), Williams C: Thomas (4) P: Thomas
MUNSTER RUGBY 54 - 13 CARDIFF BLUES
Thomond Park - Saturday 08 February 2014
KO: 19:15 HT: 19-13 Att: 13,281
Munster T: Kilcoyne, PT, Zebo, van den Heever, Conway, Stander C: Hanrahan (6) P: Hanrahan (4)
Blues T: Owen Williams C: Gareth Davies P: Gareth Davies (2) Palmer
DRAGONS P - P EDINBURGH RUGBY
Rodney Parade - Sunday 09 February 2014
GLASGOW WARRIORS 8 - 6 CONNACHT
Scotstoun Stadium - Sunday 09 February 2014
KO: 14:00 HT: 5-6 Att: 3,904
Glasgow T: Bennett P: Jackson
Connacht P: Ronaldson (2)
ZEBRE 8 - 31 LEINSTER RUGBY
Stadio XXV Aprile - Sunday 09 February 2014
KO: 17:30 HT: 8-31 Att: 1,450
Zebre T: van Schalkwyk P: Haimona
Leinster T: Cooney, Reid, Kirchner, Hudson C: Gopperth (2), Madigan (2) P: Gopperth
LEIGH HALFPENNY's reliable boot yet again helped propel Cardiff Blues to victory as they brought an end to a four-match winless streak in the RaboDirect PRO12 with a 21-13 success against Newport Gwent Dragons. Dragons, who won the Boxing Day clash between the sides 22-16 and were looking to achieve a rare double over their opponents, found themselves 9-0 down through a Rhys Patchell penalty and two from Halfpenny. Will Harries' try plus two penalties and a conversion from Jason Tovey appeared to give the momentum to the visitors before three further second-half penalties from Halfpenny and Gareth Davies' drop goal confirmed the Blues win.
GLASGOW WARRIORS 1872 Cup New Year’s Day game at Scotstoun against Edinburgh Rugby was been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. The pitch was playable until around 90 minutes before kick-off and despite the officials giving it as long as possible to try and play the match, they decided the game could not go ahead. It will be rearranged for a future date.
RUAN PIENAAR's supreme kicking display was the backbone to a scintillating Ulster victory as they overcame Irish rivals Munster by 29-19. The South Africa international missed one kick all night in collecting 19 points - in stark contrast to opposing kicker Ian Keatley's four - while Jared Payne and Darren Cave touched down after two pulsating first-half moves. RaboDirect PRO12 leaders Munster were valiant in their fightback but, despite Ivan Dineen's try just before half-time followed by Dave Kilcoyne and James Coughlan after the break, could not claw their way back in it. Rob Penney's men may be running riot at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 this year but Ulster had only lost one game at home in 11 months.
ASHLEY BECK and Aisea Natoga grabbed first-half tries in a 17-12 Welsh derby victory for Ospreys as a fine defensive display at Liberty Stadium kept Scarlets away from the whitewash. Wales international Beck hit first while Natoga dotted down in first-half injury time - just after Rhys Priestland's first penalty and Scarlets' first score of the match. Priestland added another three penalties in the second half but Dan Biggar mustered seven points from the tee in total to keep any hopes of a Scarlets comeback at bay. Ospreys are something of a bogey side for Scarlets, who have won just one of their last 11 encounters with Steve Tandy's men. The visitors were also looking to turn the tide on a five-game losing streak in all competitions.
ZEBRE secured their first-ever RaboDirect PRO12 victory at the Stadio XXV Aprile by 14-12 - and it was made all the sweeter in overcoming Italian rivals Benetton Treviso. Their second-ever victory in the tournament - after a win on their travels at Cardiff Blues earlier this season - was set up by Guglielmo Palazzani's score early on in the first half. Matt Berquist was on form for Treviso from the kicking tee but his 12 points was not enough to stop Zebre's day of destiny, as Luciano Orquera hit three penalties for the hosts. The Italian bragging rights were at stake for the second time between the two sides in the RaboDirect PRO12 after Treviso did the double over Zebre last season.
LEINSTER needed a late Gordon D'Arcy score to tie up a 16-8 victory at the Sportsground in an intensely-fought battle with Connacht. Fionn Carr crashed over for Connacht in the first half while kickers Darragh Leader and Ian Madigan missed two penalties apiece, though Jack Carty scored one for the hosts just before the break. Madigan then replacement Jimmy Gopperth (2) pegged them back from the tee in the second period before D'Arcy secured the win for Leinster late on. The loss means Connacht sink to RaboDirect PRO12's bottom following Zebre's historic triumph at home to Treviso earlier in the day. And Leinster took their chance to reclaim second spot after Ospreys and Ulster wins on Friday had seen them slip to fourth.
CARDIFF BLUES 21 - 13 DRAGONS
Arms Park - Wednesday 01 January 2014
KO: 14:05 HT: 9-10 Att: 10,413
Blues P: Patchell, Halfpenny (5) DG: Davies
Dragons T: Harries C: Tovey P: Tovey
GLASGOW P - P EDINBURGH RUGBY
Scotstoun Stadium - Wednesday 01 January 2014
ULSTER RUGBY 29 - 19 MUNSTER RUGBY
Ravenhill Stadium - Friday 03 January 2014
KO: 19:05 HT: 20-5 Att: 13,945
Ulster T: Payne, Cave C: Pienaar (2) P: Pienaar (5)
Munster T: Dineen, Kilcoyne, Coughlan C: Keatley O'Connell
OSPREYS 17 - 12 SCARLETS
Liberty Stadium - Friday 03 January 2014
KO: 19:15 HT: 14-3 Att: 13,201
Ospreys T: Beck, Natoga C: Biggar, Davies P: Biggar Natoga
Scarlets P: Priestland (4)
ZEBRE 14 - 12 BENETTON TREVISO
Stadio XXV Aprile - Saturday 04 January 2014
KO: 15:00 HT: 5-9 Att: 5,000
Zebre T: Palazzani P: Orquera (3)
Treviso P: Berquist (4)
CONNACHT RUGBY 8 - 16 LEINSTER RUGBY
Sportsground - Saturday 04 January 2014
KO: 19:15 HT: 8-3 Att: 7,210
Connacht T: Carr P: Carty
Leinster T: D'Arcy C: Gopperth P: Madigan, Gopperth (2)
OSPREYS produced a determined defensive display to grind out a deserved 10-6 derby win at Parc y Scarlets on Boxing Day against the Scarlets. Rhys Priestland kicked a penalty in each half for the hosts and Dan Biggar notched one of his own, in an uncharacteristically wayward kicking display. Hanno Dirksen had been denied a second-half try by the TMO but replacement Ian Evans did get the decisive score to win it for Ospreys late on.
STUART HOGG's second-half score dished out a Boxing Day sucker punch to Edinburgh as Glasgow Warriors took away the spoils by 20-16 at Murrayfield. The 1872 Cup has been won by Glasgow eight times since 2008 and again they continued to get the better of their Scottish opponents after Hogg collected an Alex Dunbar chip. Edinburgh had held on to the lead for over an hour as Dougie Fife crashed over in a first 40 that saw three sin bins - two for the Warriors to the hosts' one. Duncan Weir also had his say in Glasgow's victory, winning his personal kicking battle up against Greig Laidlaw by 15 points to 11.
THERE was no Christmas hangover at Rodney Parade as Jason Tovey led Newport Gwent Dragons to a 22-16 victory over Cardiff Blues in a breathless Boxing Day derby. The fly-half kicked 17 points to lay the foundations while the magnificent Toby Faletau roared through for a score midway through the first half. The Blues did respond through Kristian Dacey but Tovey's boot told after the break, Leigh Halfpenny's 11 points from the kicking tee proving in vain. The Welsh rivals headed into the fixture in need of a remedy for their RaboDirect PRO12 form, having both won just one of their last five clashes in the tournament.
JJ Hanrahan was the sole survivor from Munster's victory over Scarlets last time out and it was easy to see why as the fly-half scored all of his side's points in a 22-16 victory over Connacht. Despite beating Scarlets 16-10 in Cork on Saturday to stay top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table, head coach Rob Penney opted for 14 changes for the visit of Connacht. But it was the one man to retain his place that proved to be the difference as Hanrahan racked up a try, a conversion and five penalties to see Munster home. As for Connacht, they momentarily lead after quarter of an hour thanks to two Dan Parks penalties but it never looked like they would record a first RaboDirect PRO12 away victory since April. Although Dave Heffernan's last-gasp try saw Parks hold his nerve with the conversion to earn the visitors a hard-fought losing bonus point.
ONLY a late Mat Berquist penalty decided the Italian derby as Benetton Treviso squeaked over the line against Zebre by 20-15 in Marius Goosen's first game in charge at Stadio Monigo. Berquist did not have one of his best days in front of the posts - missing four penalties in total - but came up trumps when it mattered by kicking ten crucial points to hand Goosen, who replaced Franco Smith earlier this month, the perfect start. Marco Bortolami's early try saw the visitors claim an early lead but Treviso hit back before the break through scores from Cornelius van Zyl and Manoa Vosawai. Dries van Schalkwyk responded for Zebre early in the second half before Berquist took charge, opposing kicker Luciano Orquera only managing to rack up five points. Zebre may be anchored to the bottom of the RaboDirect PRO12 table but they saw off Cardiff Blues earlier this season for their first ever win in the tournament. But Benetton Treviso are no pushovers at the Stadio Monigo, their three RaboDirect PRO12 wins this season having come at home.
LEINSTER beat Irish rivals Ulster in a bruising 19-6 win at home in Dublin in the RaboDirect PRO12. The reigning RaboDirect PRO12 champions seemed to have everything against them prior to the today's encounter at the RDS having suffered back-to-back defeats, while Ulster were looking for their sixth win on the bounce. Ulster boss Mark Anscombe opted for nine changes to the team that beat Zebre 13-6 at home while his opposite number Matt O'Connor retained nine of the starting XV that lost to Edinburgh last week. Both sides traded early blows with the boot and Ulster took an early lead when Paddy Jackson slotted through the uprights after Leinster were penalised at the breakdown, but Leinster levelled the scores. Ulster stepped ahead again and not until almost half time did Leinster eventually capitalise on majority possession to score a converted try from Jordi Murphy after Ulster went down to 14 men with Sean Doyle binned. But the second half was Leinster’s game with Gopperth slotting 3 more penalties taking his personal tally to 14 and securing the win while Ulster were denied a last minute try for a knock on.
SCARLETS 6 - 10 OSPREYS
Parc y Scarlets - Thursday 26 December 2013
KO: 14:05 HT: 3-0 Att: 14,796
Scarlets P: Priestland (2)
Ospreys T: Evans C: Biggar P: Biggar Alun-Wyn Jones
EDINBURGH 16 - 20 GLASGOW WARRIORS
Murrayfield - Thursday 26 December 2013
KO: 15:05 HT: 16-9 Att: 10,125
Edinburgh T: Fife C: Laidlaw P: Laidlaw (3) Brown
Glasgow T: Hogg P: Weir (5) Holmes, Hogg
DRAGONS 22 - 16 CARDIFF BLUES
Rodney Parade - Thursday 26 December 2013
KO: 17:00 HT: 10-10 Att: 8,526
Dragons T: Faletau C: Tovey P: Tovey (5)
Blues T: Dacey C: Halfpenny P: Halfpenny (3) Copeland
MUNSTER RUGBY 22 - 16 CONNACHT RUGBY
Thomond Park - Friday 27 December 2013
KO: 19:15 HT: 13-6 Att: 18,870
Munster T: Hanrahan C: Hanrahan P: Hanrahan (5) Cronin
Connacht T: Hefferman C: Parks P: Parks (3) Murphy, White
BENETTON TREVISO 20 - 15 ZEBRE
Stadio Monigo - Saturday 28 December 2013
KO: 15:00 HT: 14-8 Att: tbc
Treviso T: van Zyl, Vosawai C: Berquist (2) P: Berquist (2)
Zebre T: Bortolami, van Schalkwyk C: Orquera P: Orquera Ferrarini, Geldenhuys
LEINSTER RUGBY 19 - 6 ULSTER RUGBY
Royal Dublin Society - Saturday 28 December 2013
KO: 18:45 HT: 10-6 Att: tbc
Leinster T: Murphy C: Gopperth P: Gopperth (4)
Ulster P: Jackson (2) Doyle
A Justin Tipuric try and the boot of Dan Biggar helped Ospreys keep their stranglehold over their Welsh rivals in the RaboDirect PRO12 as they left Arms Park with a 22-19 victory over Cardiff Blues. Despite the Blues grabbing a try through Kristian Dacey in the first-half, the Ospreys still went into the break leading thanks to Biggar's boot. And after Tipuric had spotted a gap to dot the ball down the game was out of the reach of the home side, despite Leigh Halfpenny reducing the arrears from the kicking tee. In the end the Blues just ran out of time as the Ospreys held on for the win, their tenth straight against a fellow Welsh region.
JARED PAYNE's first-half try helped Ulster overcome a stubborn Zebre outfit 13-6 for their fourth RaboDirect PRO12 home win in a row on Friday night. Early penalties from Luciano Orquera and Tommaso Iannone had put second-bottom side Zebre into an early lead before Ulster hit back through Payne's try before the break. Ruan Piennar would also contribute eight points with his boot as the hosts, who welcomed back leading Ulster appearance holder Paddy Wallace after nine months out with an ACL injury, continued their winning record against Italian sides. Zebre's only RaboDirect PRO12 victory this season came against Cardiff Blues back in round three, and despite being winless in ten in all competitions, they had the stronger start, with Orquera notching an early penalty. But despite having never won away from home in the RaboDirect PRO12, the visitors gave a good account of themselves.
GREIG LAIDLAW returned to the side to help Edinburgh record an 11-6 win over reigning RaboDirect PRO12 champions Leinster and make it five wins from seven in all competitions. Laidlaw was one of a trio of Scottish internationals rested by head coach Alan Solomons for last week's Heineken Cup win over Gloucester. And he returned refreshed and raring to go, kicking two penalties and making a series of impressive breaks as Edinburgh recorded their first victory over the Irish side in six attempts. Dougie Fife dotted down for the only try of the game in the first half as Leinster, who recorded two Ian Madigan penalties, suffered their first RaboDirect PRO12 defeat since round five against Munster.
DAN PARKS held his nerve with a last-gasp drop goal to help Connacht come from behind and edge out Newport Gwent Dragons 14-11 and move off the bottom of the RaboDirect PRO12 table. A Dan Evans try and two penalties from Jason Tovey had the Dragons ahead in the game right up until the 75th minute when Fionn Carr touched down for the visitors, latching onto Parks' cross-field kick. And then a final attack set up by the Connacht forwards, who were outstanding all evening, created the chance for the fly-half to kick a drop goal with just a minute remaining.
RONAN O'MAHONY's last-gasp try ensured Munster remain top of the RaboDirect PRO12 after they came from behind to defeat Scarlets in a pulsating game at Musgrave Park. Heading into the closing minutes, the Irish outfit were trailing 10-9, Scarlets having seen John Barclay touch down in the second-half, converted by Aled Thomas, who had also notched an earlier penalty. But with Scarlets down to 13 men following yellow cards to Rob Evans and Mike Poole, Munster pounced with the game's final play as O'Mahony's try was finally confirmed by the TMO. JJ Hanrahan, who also kicked three penalties, converted to seal the win, their eighth in a row in all competitions, and round off a remarkable night's entertainment in wet and windy conditions.
CARDIFF BLUES 19 - 22 OSPREYS
Arms Park - Friday 20 December 2013
KO: 19:05 HT: 10-15 Att: 10,615
Blues T: Dacey C: Halfpenny P: Halfpenny (4)
Ospreys T: Tipuric C: Biggar P: Biggar (4) DG: Biggar Thomas
ULSTER RUGBY 13 - 6 ZEBRE
Ravenhill Stadium - Friday 20 December 2013
KO: 19:05 HT: 7-6 Att: 13,937
Ulster T: Payne C: Pienaar P: Pienaar (2)
Zebre P: Orquera, Iannone
EDINBURGH RUGBY 11 - 6 LEINSTER RUGBY
Murrayfield - Friday 20 December 2013
KO: 19:35 HT: 8-3 Att: 3,321
Edinburgh T: Fife P: Laidlaw (2)
Leinster P: Madigan (2)
GLASGOW P - P BENETTON TREVISO
Scotstoun Stadium - Friday 20 December 2013
CONNACHT RUGBY 14 - 11 DRAGONS
Sportsground - Saturday 21 December 2013
KO: 17:00 HT: 3-8 Att: 4,033
Connacht T: Carr P: Parks (2) DG: Parks
Dragons T: Dan Evans P: Tovey (2) Owen Evans
MUNSTER RUGBY 16 - 10 SCARLETS
Musgrave Park - Saturday 21 December 2013
KO: 19:15 HT: 3-3 Att: 7,867
Munster T: Ronan O'Mahony C: Hanrahan P: Hanrahan (3)
Scarlets T: Barclay C: Aled Thomas P: Aled Thomas Evans, Poole
DTH van der Merwe and Ryan Wilson were last-gasp heroes for Glasgow as the Warriors continued their recent hoodoo over a depleted Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium, winning 28-16. Van der Merwe scored a late try in the corner ten minutes from time to break Ospreys' hearts and with it ensured Glasgow continued their assault at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 summit. And with the final play of the game it got worse for Ospreys as Wilson went over for Glasgow's third try to ensure the home side missed out on even a losing bonus point.
IAN KEATLEY was the shining light for Munster after kicking all 18 points as the Irish region lay down the gauntlet to the rest of the RaboDirect PRO12 with an 18-14 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons. The Dragons led at half-time thanks to two penalties from Jason Tovey and they extended that early in the second-half thanks to a try from Matthew Pewtner. But poor discipline allowed Keatley the chance to kick his side back into the game, eventually sealing the victory with five second-half penalties to extend Munster's lead at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12. League-leaders Munster had won their last five league fixtures, not losing since a surprise defeat to Benetton Treviso back in Round 3, but struggled during an uneventful first 40 minutes.
SCOTLAND international Greig Laidlaw proved to be the match-winner as he kicked 23 points for Edinburgh as Connacht were put to the sword at Murrayfield. It was the battle of Scotland goal-kickers past and present at Murrayfield as Edinburgh's Laidlaw and Connacht's Dan Parks went head-to-head off the kicking tee. While Laidlaw seemed to kick everything that moved to drag his side back into the game after a shaky start, Parks suffered a difficult evening as he missed several kicks at goal before being replaced just before the hour.
PADDY JACKSON proved his kicking isn't his only asset as he had a hand in a wonderful try, as well as contributing 14 points with his boot, to ensure Ulster kept their play-off aspirations on track with a 19-11 victory away to Zebre. After a rather lacklustre start Ulster soon were in the ascendency against their Italian opposition and a great score from Darren Cave alongside Jackson's accurate kicking made sure of a second straight RaboDirect PRO12 victory.
GARETH DAVIES' flawless kicking display ensured Cardiff Blues emerged with something to show for their efforts in a bruising clash with Benetton Treviso as the fly-half's late penalty sealed a 26-26 draw. Tries from Chris Czekaj and Robin Copeland had the Blues in a commanding position at the break, 20-9 to the good, but a spirited fight-back from Treviso saw them edge into a 26-23 lead with 12 minutes to go. But Davies, who scored 16 points with four penalties and two conversions, drew his side level with four minutes to go as neither side were able to seal the victory.
BRENDAN MACKEN's early try set the tone as a rampant Leinster held off a spirited second-half showing to down Scarlets 36-19. A penalty try and a Jack McGrath score followed in quick succession after Macken dived over, as Ian Madigan added 11 points in a fine showing from the tee.Scarlets threatened to mount a comeback after the interval - Gareth Davies and Gareth Maule touching down for the visitors - but Leinster secured both the win and a bonus point with Eoin Reddan's effort. Zane Kirchner added the gloss late on, before the visitors secured another consolation try through Adam Warren. Scarlets welcomed Scotland flanker John Barclay back into the fray, while five Ireland players - returning after an agonising defeat at the hands of New Zealand last week - bolstered reigning champions Leinster's starting line-up.
OSPREYS 16 - 28 GLASGOW WARRIORS
Liberty Stadium - Friday 29 November 2013
KO: 19:05 HT: 13-6 Att: 5,679
Ospreys T: Hassler C: Davies P: Davies (2) DG: Davies Baldwin
Warriors T: Cusiter, van der Merwe, Wilson C: Jackson (2) P: Jackson (2), Hogg
DRAGONS 14 - 18 MUNSTER RUGBY
Rodney Parade - Friday 29 November 2013
KO: 19:15 HT: 6-3 Att: 7,118
Dragons T: Pewtner P: Tovey (2) DG: Tovey Hill
Munster P: Keatley (6) Earls
EDINBURGH 43 - 10 CONNACHT RUGBY
Murrayfield - Friday 29 November 2013
KO: 19:45 HT: 16-10 Att: 3,515
Edinburgh T: Fife, du Preez, du Luca, Nel C: Laidlaw (4) P: Laidlaw (5)
Connacht T: Henshaw C: Parks DG: Parks
ZEBRE 11 - 19 ULSTER RUGBY
Stadio XXV Aprile - Saturday 30 November 2013
KO: 15:00 HT: 6-13 Att: tbc
Zebre T: Palazzani P: Garcia (2)
Ulster T: Cave C: Jackson P: Jackson (4)
BENETTON TREVISO 26 - 26 CARDIFF BLUES
Stadio Monigo - Friday 30 November 2013
KO: 17:00 HT: 9-20 Att: tbc
Treviso T: Zanni, Gori C: Berquist (2) P: Berquist (4) Rizzo
Blues T: Czekaj, Copeland C: Gareth Davies (2) P: Gareth Davies (4) Paulo
LEINSTER RUGBY 36 - 19 SCARLETS
Royal Dublin Society - Saturday 30 November 201
KO: 19:15 HT: 22-0 Att: tbc
Leinster T: Macken, PT, Jack McGrath, Reddan, Kirchner C: Madigan (4) P: Madigan Cullen, Macken
Scarlets T: Gareth Davies, Maule, Warren C: Thomas (2) Timani
IT was an unhappy return to Ravenhill for Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons as James McKinney scored over half of his side's points to help Ulster to a comfortable 47-17 victory in the RaboDirect PRO12. Despite falling behind early to Cornell Du Preez' early try, the home side ran in five tries through Paul Marshall, Robbie Diack, Craig Gilroy (2) and McKinney - the latter maintaining a 100 per cent kicking record with five conversions and three penalties. Edinburgh, coached by former Ulster chief Solomons, added late tries through Dougie Fife and Grayson Hart but it was not enough to deny a dominant Ulster outfit.
FULL-BACK Jason Tovey stole the show as Newport Gwent Dragons inflicted only a second RaboDirect PRO12 defeat of the season on Glasgow Warriors with a resounding 23-8 win. Tovey kicked two penalties and a drop goal as well as two conversions - one to his own try and one for Will Harries' score - as Dragons made no issue of key players being absent. They even had three players sent to the bin, but still overpowered their opponents, who only managed to add points through a Nikola Matawalu try and Henry Pyrgos penalty.
A stellar kicking display from Matthew Morgan and two quickfire second-half tries helped Ospreys overcome a stubborn Zebre side 30-20 at Liberty Stadium. The home crowd were stunned when Filippo Cristiano touched down early on but Morgan, who finished with six penalties and a conversion, kept chipping away. Paolo Buso and Gonzalo Garcia collected a penalty apiece before Tyler Ardron then Duncan Jones took the game away from Zebre in the second half - despite a try from Samuela Vunisa.
WINGER Frazer Climo scored a try on his RaboDirect PRO12 debut as Scarlets just held on to secure a 24-21 victory at Connacht. The Scarlets headed to the Sportsground having won three of their last four RaboDirect PRO12 games and looked to be coasting to another victory as tries for Climo, hooker Kirby Myhill and Gareth Davies opened up a comfortable 24-9 lead shortly after half-time. But despite not having tasted victory since the opening day of the season the home side refused to lie down and came roaring back with scores of their own from Matt Healy and Jason Harris-Wright. This put Connacht to within three points of their visitors but despite some late pressure, and Scarlets' Gareth Owen being sent to the sin bin, they were unable to find another score and had to settle for the losing bonus point.
THREE first-half tries from Munster helped them overcome a struggling Cardiff Blues 31-10 and keep them top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table. Munster made it seven wins out of eight while eighth place Blues have now slipped to five losses to their three wins. Felix Jones, Damien Varley and James Cronin all went over for tries in the first half for the visitors and they led 24-3 at the interval. Andrew Conway added a fourth try for the Irishmen after the break before Kristian Dacey pulled one back for the Blues but in the end they were comfortably second best to Rob Penney's men.
BENETTON TREVISO were denied their first victory over Leinster since September 2010 as a late Jimmy Gopperth penalty saw Matt O'Connor's men narrowly escape with a 21-20 win at the Stadio Monigo. Lote Tuqiri bagged his first Leinster try while Noel Reid crashed over soon after, but a Ludovico Nitoglia score and the kicking of fly-half Mat Berquist helped Treviso claw their way back into the game. A second-half Angelo Esposito try looked like handing Franco Smith's side an unlikely victory until Gopperth secured Leinster's fifth victory of the RaboDirect PRO12 season by the finest of margins. Leinster's stellar record against Italian opponents made grim reading for Treviso prior to the game, the reigning champions having won their last 11 fixtures. A more positive statistic for Treviso was that they had only lost one RaboDirect PRO12 game at the Stadio Monigo in 12 months.
ULSTER RUGBY 41 - 17 EDINBURGH RUGBY
Ravenhill Stadium - Friday 22 November 2013
KO: 19:05 HT: 20-5 Att: 12,955
Ulster T: Gilroy (2), Paul Marshall, Diack, McKinney C: McKinney (5) P: McKinney (2)
Edinburgh T: du Preez, Fife, Hart C: Leonard van der Westhuizen
GLASGOW WARRIORS 8 - 23 DRAGONS
Scotstoun Stadium - Friday 22 November 2013
KO: 19:35 HT: 5-13 Att: 4,665
Glasgow T: Matawalu P: Pyrgos
Dragons T: Tovey, Harries C: Tovey (2) P: Tovey (2) DG: Tovey Leach, Pewtner, Talei
OSPREYS 30 - 20 ZEBRE
Liberty Stadium - Saturday 23 November 2013
KO: 14:30 HT: 15-13 Att: 6,529
Ospreys T: Ardron, Jones C: Morgan P: Morgan (6)
Zebre T: Cristiano, Vunisa C: Buso, Garcia P: Buso, Garcia Vunisa
CONNACHT RUGBY 21 - 24 SCARLETS
Sportsground - Saturday 23 November 2013
KO: 17:00 HT: 9-1- Att: 4,172
Connaught T: Healy, Harris-Wright C: Ronaldson P: Ronaldson (3)
Scarlets T: Climo, Myhill, Gareth Davies C: Aled Thomas (3) P: Aled Thomas Adriaanse, Shingler, Owen
CARDIFF BLUES 10 - 31 MUNSTER RUGBY
Arms Park Saturday - 23 November 2013
KO: 18:30 HT: 3-24 Att: 6,122
Blues T: Dacey C: Humberstone P: Humberstone
Munster T: Jones, Varley, Cronin, Conway C: Hanrahan (4) P: Hanrahan Stander, Sherry
BENETTON TREVISO 20 - 21 LEINSTER RUGBY
Stadio Monigo - Sunday 24 November 2013
KO: 15:00 HT: 10-12 Att: 3,938
Treviso T: Nitoglia, Esposito C: Berquist (2) P: Berquist (2)
Leinster T: Tuqiri, Reid C: Gopperth P: Gopperth (3)
SECOND-HALF TRIES from Aaron Dundon and Noel Reid handed reigning RaboDirect PRO12 champions Leinster a 23-19 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons - their four successive win in all competitions. The Dragons, who had not last at Rodney Parade since March, were 10-6 ahead at the break after Ross Wardle crossed in the first period. But the Irish outfit fought back after Adam Jones was sin-binned midway through the second half for the Dragons with Dundon and Reid making him pay. The signs were ominous for the Dragons early on, especially in the scrum, despite Leinster's lack of personnel - 17 of their players were away on international duty.
A second-half try from Cornell du Preez was enough to hand Edinburgh a nail-biting 25-23 victory over the Zebre, who again fell just short of their second ever RaboDirect PRO12 win. Edinburgh made it back to back RaboDirect PRO12 wins at Murrayfield, having defeated Treviso last time out, but they were pushed all the way by a determined Zebre side. Last week it was Rhys Priestland's last-gasp penalty that denied Zebre the win and this time it proved to be du Preez's score, and Harry Leonard's boot, ensuring their only RaboDirect PRO12 triumph remains the win over Cardiff Blues earlier this season.
SAM HOBBS' second-half try proved decisive as Cardiff Blues got back to winning ways with a 17-13 victory over Benetton Treviso. The Blues lost 39-21 against Ulster last weekend but, after making ten changes from that game, head coach Phil Davies saw his side pick up their third league win of the season. Many of Cardiff's stars were away on international duty, but they raced into a 10-0 lead as Kristian Dacey dotted down in the first half. But the Italian outfit fought back, and actually led at half-time after some impressive kicking from Mat Berquist and a try from Michele Campagnaro. But prop Hobbs forced his way over after the break to seal a timely win for the Blues, which leaves Treviso with just the one victory this term in the RaboDirect PRO12.
GLASGOW WARRIORS continued their 100 per cent away-day start to the new season after an impressive kicking display from Duncan Weir sealed a 19-12 win at Connacht. The Glasgow No.10 contributed 14 points with the boot; while DTH van der Merwe's scored the game's only try to seal the win, with former Warrior Dan Parks experienced an evening to forget for Connacht as he missed an avalanche of kicks.
JOHN BARCLAY scored the only try of the match as the Scarlets got back to winning ways on home soil with a 17-9 RaboDirect PRO12 victory over Ulster. Barclay, who started on the replacements bench but entered the fray after just 14 minutes, dived over just after the half-hour mark as the Scarlets built an 11-3 lead. Ruan Pienaar kicked Ulster to within five points soon into the second half but with Aled Thomas also coming off the bench to kick three penalties in total, the Scarlets exacted revenge for last season's RaboDirect PRO12 semi-final defeat. It was a second home win of the season for the Scarlets, who needed Rhys Priestland's last-gasp penalty to salvage a draw last time out away to Zebre.
MUNSTER reclaimed top spot in the RaboDirect PRO12 thanks to the boot of Ian Keatley as they defeated Ospreys 12-6. Glasgow temporarily took over at the top after beating Connacht earlier in the day but Keatley's three penalties and one from JJ Hanrahan edged out Ospreys in a tight encounter. It was Munster's first win against their Welsh opponents since 2011 and means they have won six of their first seven games to lead the RaboDirect PRO12. Munster and Ospreys met after enjoying fine starts to the season but the Welsh side boasted the added advantage of going unbeaten in their last five games against the Irish side.
DRAGONS 19 - 23 LEINSTER RUGBY
Rodney Parade Friday 01 November 2013
KO: 19:05 HT: 10-6 Att: 6,174
Dragons T: Wardle C: Tovey P: Prydie, Tovey (3) Adam Jones
Leinster T: Dundon, Reid C: Gopperth (2) P: Gopperth (3) O'Connell
EDINBURGH RUGBY 25 - 23 ZEBRE
Murrayfield Friday 01 November 2013
KO: 19:45 HT: 12-17 Att: 3,156
Edinburgh T: Tonks, Nel, du Preez C: Leonard (2) P: Leonard (2)
Zebre T: Iannone, Sarto C: Orquera (2) P: Orquera (3)
CARDIFF BLUES 17 - 13 BENETTON TREVISO
Arms Park Saturday 02 November 2013
KO: 14:30 HT: 10-13 Att: 6,986
Blues T: Dacey, Hobbs C: Gareth Davies (2) P: Gareth Davies
Treviso T: Campagnaro C: Berquist P: Berquist (2)
CONNACHT 12 - 19 GLASGOW WARRIORS
Sportsground Saturday 02 November 2013
KO: 17:00 HT: 3-13 Att: 4,185
Connacht P: Parks (2), Ronaldson (2) Fifita
Warriors T: van der Merwe C: Weir P: Weir (4)
SCARLETS 17 - 9 ULSTER RUGBY
Parc y Scarlets Saturday 02 November 2013
KO: 18:30 HT: 11-3 Att: 6,506
Scarlets T: Barclay P: Steven Shingler, Thomas (3)
Ulster P: Pienaar (3) McIlwaine, Wilson
MUNSTER RUGBY 12 - 6 OSPREYS
Thomond Park Saturday 02 November 2013
KO: 19:15 HT: 6-3 Att: 14,216
Munster P: Keatley (3), Hanrahan
Ospreys P: Ospreys
THE Dragons' disastrous RaboDirect PRO12 away form against Welsh opposition continued as an Ospreys pack brimming with international experience claimed a deserved 40-17 victory and kept up the pressure at the top of the table. The star of the show was undoubtedly Ospreys and Lions flanker Justin Tipuric, who scored a try in each half and in doing so, put down a sizeable marker for Wales' international inclusion later this autumn. The Dragons have only ever won three away games at fellow Welsh regions in 33 attempts in all competitions, and have won only one of their previous eight visits to the Liberty Stadium - and this depressing statistic rarely looked like changing.
DAN TUOHY'S double secured Ulster a confident 39-21 win over Cardiff Blues to continue their recent impressive form on return to RaboDirect PRO12 action. Ulster had won the last two matches between these sides and came into the match on the back of consecutive Heineken Cup wins over Leicester Tigers and Montpellier. And no-one would argue they weren't value for a bonus point victory with a scoreline that should have been even more convincing were it not for a disappointing night with the boot for fly-half Paddy Jackson.
RHYS PRIESTLAND struck an injury time penalty to spare the Scarlets' blushes, earning a 16-16 draw to deny Zebre a first ever home win in the RaboDirect PRO12. Luciano Orquera landed a 77th-minute penalty to hand Zebre a 16-13 lead over their Welsh opponents and to the brink of a first home victory in the RaboDirect PRO12 at the 14th time of asking, only for Priestland to have the final say. They can take consolation however, in the fact that it's the first time they have avoided defeat at the Stadio XXV Aprile.
MUNSTER ended Glasgow's 100 per cent record at the summit of the RaboDirect PRO12 as they overcame their fellow high-flyers 13-6 thanks to an inspired performance by JJ Hanrahan. The Munster No.10 scored all of his side's points as the Irish side produced a brave defensive performance to see off a determined and robust Glasgow pack. Munster's preparations were hindered in the warm-up as experienced Ireland and Lions lock Paul O'Connell suffered an injury, meaning he was forced to drop out and Billy Holland replaced him in the engine room.
EDINBURGH RUGBY will hope to have kick-started their stuttering league season with this hard-fought 20-13 win over Benetton Treviso. Edinburgh boss Alan Solomons had called on his side to repeat their recent encouraging Heineken Cup form on return to league action. And after just one win from their previous five RaboDirect PRO12 encounters, Edinburgh duly seized the chance to haul themselves off the bottom of the table at Murrayfield. Solomons, whose side beat Munster and put up a decent display in defeat to Perpignan in Europe, welcomed back several key players from injury and they combined to make an almost instant impact.
LEINSTER needed a late penalty try to see of a spirited Connacht side at the RDS, with the visitors coming within three minutes of a famous victory. Scrum-half Kieran Marmion's first-half try looked to have won it for the visitors as 13-man Connacht clung on after losing replacement Ronan Loughney and Marmion to the sin bin in the last ten minutes. But with the Connacht scrum crumbling and Leinster marching towards the line referee David Wilkinson pointed to the posts to ensure the visitors remain rock-bottom of the table after five straight defeats.
OSPREYS 40 - 17 DRAGONS
Liberty Stadium Sunday 25 October 2013
KO: 19:05 HT: 16-10 Att: 8,732
Ospreys T: Tipuric (2), PT, Baldwin C: Biggar (4) P: Biggar (3) DG: Morgan
Dragons T: Prydie, Tetaz Chaparro C: Burton (2) DG: Burton Ieuan Jones
ULSTER RUGBY 39 - 21 CARDIFF BLUES
Ravenhill Stadium Friday 25 October 2013
KO: 19:05 HT: 16-11 Att: 12,948
Ulster T: Tuohy (2), Payne, Luke Marshall, Trimble C: Pienaar P: Jackson (3), Pienaar
Blues T: Copeland, Smith C: Halfpenny P: Halfpenny (3) Copeland
ZEBRE 16 - 16 SCARLETS
Stadio XXV Aprile Friday 25 October 2013
KO: 19:30 HT: 10-10 Att: 1,560
Zebre T: Garcia C: Iannone P: Iannone (2), Orquera
Scarlets T: Gareth Davies C: Steven Shingler P: Steven Shingler, Priestland (2)
GLASGOW WARRIORS 6 - 13 MUNSTER
Scotstoun Stadium Friday 25 October 2013
KO: 19:35 HT: 6-3 Att: 5,726
Warriors P: Weir (2) Welsh
Munster T: Hanrahan C: Hanrahan P: Hanrahan (2) Cronin, Kilcoyne
EDINBURGH 20 - 13 BENETTON TREVISO
Murrayfield Friday 25 October 2013
KO: 19:45 HT: 7-3 Att: 3,993
Edinburgh T: Tonks, Nel C: Laidlaw (2) P: Laidlaw (2)
Treviso T: McLean C: Botes P: Ambrosini, Botes
LEINSTER RUGBY 16 - 13 CONNACHT RUGBY
Royal Dublin Society Saturday 26 October 2013
KO: 18:45 HT: 9-13 Att: 16,780
Leinster T: PT C: Madigan P: Madigan (3)
Connacht T: Marmion C: Parks P: Parks (2) Loughney, Marmion
PADDY JACKSON won the battle of the fly-halves as he kicked six penalties to Dan Biggar's four as Ulster Rugby claimed a 18-12 victory over the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium, ending their unbeaten run in the RaboDirect PRO12 in the process. In a game where defence smothered attack it was the boot of the Welshman that ruled in the first 45 minutes as Biggar gave the home side a 12-0 lead. But Jackson kept his cool as Ulster fought back to end the night with a perfect record off the tee and the man-of-the-match award.
HALLAM AMOS ensured his return to the Newport Gwent Dragons starting line-up was a happy one as his two tries helped his side maintain their perfect record at Rodney Parade this season with a 30-7 victory over Zebre. A try either side of half-time for 19-year-old Amos, one from Wales scrum-half Richie Rees and 15 points from the boot of Jason Tovey did the damage to hand Newport their 100th win on their home ground. The Dragons came into the game searching for their third home RaboDirect PRO12 victory of the season having already beaten two of last year's top-four sides in Ulster and the Scarlets. But they faced an Italian side who had won their first ever RaboDirect PRO12 match on their last trip to Wales, a 30-25 victory at Cardiff Arms Park just two weeks ago.
BENETTON TREVISO made it just one defeat in their last nine games at the Stadio Monigo in all competitions with a 23-3 victory over Connacht Rugby. Only the Ospreys have tasted success on the Italian outfit's home turf this season, and Connacht never really looked like adding their name to the victory roster. Tries at the start and finish of the second period from flanker Alessandro Zanni and Luca Morisi meant the result was never really in doubt after the interval, with the visitors only mustering a solitary Dan Parks penalty in reply.
GLASGOW WARRIORS made it five wins from five in as they beat the Scarlets 17-12 to move back to the top of the table. Ryan Grant and Tim Swinson scored the tries that extended the Warriors' unbeaten start to the season to five games, ending the Welsh outfit's five-game run of victories against Scottish sides in the process.
KEITH EARLS struck the decisive blow at Thomond Park as Munster ended a four-match losing run against rivals Leinster. Ian Madigan and Ian Keatley traded blows with the boot, and it was 4-5 to Leinster but for Earls' first-half try - while Madigan sat in the sin-bin for cynically ending a potential try-scoring chance - that proved the difference between the two sides. Leinster were without their talisman Brian O'Driscoll out with a calf injury and it may well have made the difference.
A try in each half from Alex Cuthbert helped Cardiff Blues record their second victory of the season against Edinburgh, who continue to struggle with their away day blues. The playing return of loosehead prop Gethin Jenkins following his move from Toulon had dominated the build up to the game but it was Cuthbert and Leigh Halfpenny who stole the headlines for the Blues. The full-back kicked both conversions as well as five penalties, while Edinburgh's points all came from the boot of captain Greig Laidlaw, who marked his first appearance of the season with four penalties.
OSPREYS 12 - 18 ULSTER RUGBY
Liberty Stadium Friday 04 October 2013
KO: 19:05 HT: 6-0 Att: 10,049
Ospreys P: Biggar (4) Jarvis
Ulster P: Jackson (6) Olding
NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS 30 - 7 ZEBRE
Rodney Parade Friday 04 October 2013
KO: 19:15 HT: 16-0 Att: 5,554
Dragons T: Amos (2), Rees C: Tovey (3) P: Tovey
Zebre T: Sarto C: Orquera Bergamasco
BENETTON TREVISO 23 - 3 CONNACHT RUGBY
Stadio Monigo Friday 04 October 2013
KO: 20:30 HT: 9-0 Att: 3,948
Treviso T: Zanni, Morisi C: Botes (2) P: di Bernardo (3) Barbieri
Connacht P: Parks O'Donohoe
SCARLETS 12 - 17 GLASGOW WARRIORS
Parc y Scarlets Saturday 05 October 2013
KO: 18:30 HT: 6-14 Att: 6,504
Scarlets P: Priestland (3), Jordan Williams
Glasgow T: Grant, Swinson C: Weir (2) P: Weir Lamont, Matawalu
MUNSTER RUGBY 19 - 15 LEINSTER RUGBY
Thomond Park Saturday 05 October 2013
KO: 18:45 HT: 10-9 Att: 20,646
Munster T: Earls C: Keatley P: Keatley (4)
Leinster P: Madigan (4), McFadden Madigan
CARDIFF BLUES 29 - 12 EDINBURGH RUGBY
Arms Park Sunday 06 October 2013
KO: 14:05 HT: 13-12 Att: tbc
Blues T: Cuthbert (2) C: Halfpenny (2) P: Halfpenny (5)
Edinburgh P: Laidlaw (4) du Preez
TOMMY BOWE and Rory Best marked their return to RaboDirect PRO12 action by scoring tries as Ulster saw off Benetton Treviso 32-13 at Ravenhill. The Ireland internationals were making their first appearances since helping the British & Irish Lions to a series win against Australia in the summer, with both going over for second-half tries as Ulster made it back-to-back victories. Bowe and Best, the latter captaining the side, were two of 11 Ireland internationals named in Ulster's starting XV, including Craig Gilroy who made his first start of the season having returned as a half-time replacement during last week's 18-7 win over Connacht in Galway. Treviso meanwhile, kept faith with the same starting line-up that defeated Munster 29-19 last time out - their first win of the season having started with back-to-back defeats.
BYRON MCGUIGAN's first tries of the season helped Glasgow Warriors maintain their 100 per cent start to the new season, bringing Zebre back down to earth in the process with a 24-17 victory. Despite travelling to Stadio XXV Aprille as the only side left with a perfect record after three games, Glasgow did so wary of the challenge they faced after their hosts picked up their first-ever RaboDirect PRO12 win against Cardiff Blues last time out. But after a tense opening first quarter the visiting Warriors were able to take a foothold in the game and went into the interval six points clear thanks to McGuigan's first try of the campaign. Immediately after the break hooker Dougie Hall marked his first start of the season with a try before McGuigan grabbed his second as Glasgow took control. However when Jonny Gray saw yellow with ten minutes left Zebre came fighting back with tries from Samuela Vunisa and Leonardo Sarto, but it was too little too late.
BRIAN O'DRISCOLL put in a classy performance on his RaboDirect PRO12 return to lead Leinster to a 34-20 victory over Cardiff Blues. Tries for Sean Cronin, Dominic Ryan and Ian Madigan, complemented by 12 points from Madigan's boot, were enough to prevent Cardiff from ending a seven-match winless run at Leinster. Alex Cuthbert and Cory Allen scored for the Welsh side, as Leigh Halfpenny added a conversion and two penalties, but the visitors fell short.
BRITISH & IRISH LION Jonathan Davies ran in a second-half try as Scarlets cruised to just their second win in six games, seeing off Edinburgh 22-9. Nick Reynolds, Davies and Jordan Williams touched down to see Scarlets home, as Rhys Priestland added seven points with his boot. Harry Leonard's three penalties were Edinburgh's only scores, as the Scottish side suffered just their second defeat at Murrayfield since February.
DAN BIGGAR became only the second player to pass 1,000 RaboDirect PRO12 points as Ospreys saw off a Connacht fightback to win 43-26 in a thrilling encounter at The Sportsground. The Wales fly-half scored the opening try of the game and ended the evening with a personal haul of 18 points, becoming the first Welshman to reach the milestone as Ospreys maintained their unbeaten start to the season. And fittingly it came against a Connacht side including Dan Parks, the only other player in league history to have broken the four-figure barrier. Ospreys scored six tries to Connacht's two but were given an almighty scare by the home side in the second half, who were boosted by 12 points from the boot of Craig Ronaldson and at one point came within three points of the Welsh outfit during a frenetic second half.
MUNSTER bounced back from their shock defeat to Benetton Treviso last weekend with a comfortable 23-9 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons at Musgrave Park. The Irish province had been knocked off the summit of the table after their defeat at Stadio Monigo but got back on track in a scrappy encounter which saw James Cronin and captain Peter O’Mahony score vital decisive tries either side of half-time. The win moves them to within three points of league-leading pair Ospreys and Glasgow Warriors and level with Leinster on 13 points ahead of their clash with the reigning champions at Thomond Park next weekend. Newport Gwent Dragons were limited to just three penalties from the boot of Italy international Kris Burton as they lost their second successive away match of the season.
ULSTER RUGBY 32 - 13 BENETTON TREVISO
Ravenhill Stadium Friday 27 September 2013
KO: 19:05 HT: 15-3 Att: 10,693
Ulster T: Luke Marshall, Allen (2), Bowe, Best C: Jackson P: Jackson (2) Stevenson
Treviso T: Barbieri C: di Bernardo P: Berquist, di Bernardo
ZEBRE 17 - 24 GLASGOW WARRIORS
Stadio XXV Aprile Friday 27 September 2013
KO: 19:30 HT: 3-10 Att: 2,800
Zebre T: Vunisa, Sarto C: Orquera (2) P: Orquera Perugini
Warriors T: McGuigan (2), Hall C: Pyrgos (3) P: Pyrgos Gray
LEINSTER RUGBY 34 - 20 CARDIFF BLUES
Royal Dublin Society Friday 27 September 2013
KO: 19:35 HT: 13-6 Att: 17,810
Leinster T: Cronin, PT, Ryan, Madigan C: Madigan (4) P: Madigan (2)
Blues T: Cuthbert, Allen C: Halfpenny, Patchell P: Halfpenny (2) Paulo
EDINBURGH RUGBY 9 - 22 SCARLETS
Murrayfield Friday 27 September 2013
KO: 19:45 HT: 6-10 Att: 3,586
Edinburgh P: Leonard (3) WP Nel
Scarlets T: Reynolds, Jordan Williams, Jonathan Davies C: Priestland (2) P: Priestland Ball, Barclay, Evans
CONNACHT RUGBY 26 - 43 OSPREYS
Sportsground Saturday 28 September 2013
KO: 17:00 HT: 12-22 Att: 3,888
Connacht T: Poolman, Griffin C: Parks (2) P: Ronaldson (4)
Ospreys T: Biggar, Fussell, Walker, Tebaldi, Hassler, Alun Wyn Jones C: Biggar (5) P: Biggar
MUNSTER RUGBY 23 - 9 DRAGONS
Musgrave Park Saturday 28 September 2013
KO: 18:45 HT: 13-6 Att: 6,248
Munster T: Cronin, O'Mahony C: Hanrahan (2) P: Hanrahan (3)
Dragons P: Burton (3) Coombs, Groves
DAN EVANS' first-half try against his former club proved decisive as the Newport Gwent Dragons held off a Scarlets fight back to force a dramatic 23-16 win in the RaboDirect PRO12. Coming into the all-Welsh clash the Scarlets had won their last ten league clashes against these opponents but tries from Phil Price and Evans in the first half put the hosts 17-3 to the good. But back came the visitors, who had not lost to the Dragons since New Year's Day 2008, as Scott Williams' try and the boot of Rhys Priestland closed the gap to one point. The Dragons held firm however and late penalties from Jason Tovey and Tom Prydie ensured the Dragons sealed their third successive victory at Rodney Parade in the competition despite some incredible pressure at the end.
ZEBRE finally claimed their maiden RaboDirect PRO12 victory at the 25th time of asking with a 30-25 victory over the Cardiff Blues at Arms Park, surviving a late onslaught from the home side. Mauro Bergamasco, David Odiete and Brendan Leonard were the heroes for the Italian outfit, with Luciano Orquera orchestrating proceedings with the boot.
All the talk pre-game was of the returning Leigh Halfpenny after his British & Irish Lions heroics but it was Dafydd Hewitt who made the early impact for Cardiff. The Blues dominated the opening ten minutes as the visitors from Italy struggled to get into the game, but gradually they worked their way into proceedings and on 15 minutes got back on level terms.
Cardiff enjoyed a period of pressure in the Zebre 22 thereafter but came away with nothing to show for it. Zebre took the lead twice but it did not last long, Halfpenny making it 13-13 with virtually his first kick of the second half from long range.
Halfpenny returned the lead to Cardiff after Zebre were penalised at the scrum gave Cardiff a three-point advantage as the game entered the final quarter with the home fans' nerves starting to fray. But their hearts looked to have been broken when David Odiete touched down for Zebre to put the Italians in touching distance of their first ever RaboDirect PRO12 victory.
Orquera kicked the extras to put Zebre 23-19 ahead with 14 minutes to go, only for Halfpenny's metronomic boot to drag the Blues back within a point two minutes later. But Kiwi scrum-half Brendan Leonard then zoomed over the line to cap an impressive personal performance and Orquera's conversion made it an eight-point game with eight minutes remaining.
With five minutes to go Zebre prop Luca Redolfini saw yellow as Cardiff ratcheted up the pressure and Halfpenny kicked the penalty to bring the Blues within five points. But heroic defence on their own line as the clock ticked down helped keep the Blues out, sparking wild celebrations among the Zebre players as Referee Hodges blew his whistle for full time.
GLASGOW WARRIORS made it three wins from three and inflicted a first defeat of the season on RaboDirect PRO12 champions Leinster with a 12-6 win at Scotstoun. Tries from Chris Fusaro and Jerry Yanuyanutawa proved the difference in front of a sell-out crowd as the hosts continued their fine start to the season. Leinster, who beat the Warriors in last season's semi-final, gave a debut to new signing Lote Tuqiri on the wing, the Australian dual code international having joined on a short-term deal earlier in the week.
LUDOVICO NITOGLIA crossed twice for Benetton Treviso and Mat Berquist kicked superbly as the Italians upset previous table toppers Munster in a 29-19 win. The Irish region came to the Stadio di Monigo bidding to become the first side ever to begin a league season with three maximum point victories but ill-discipline cost them dear. Treviso have twice before beaten Munster and despite conceding three tries from Keith Earls, a penalty score and Stephen Archer they had enough to emerge comfortable victors in the end. Nitoglia's two scores in the second half turned the game on its head while Kiwi Berquist added 19 points from the kicking tee. And in a bad tempered affair Rob Penney's side ended up with four different players sent to the sin bin, three of them in the second half.
ELI WALKER and Richard Hibbard both grabbed doubles as Ospreys put Edinburgh to the sword in a comfortable 44-10 win that lifts them to second in the table. The Ospreys have now won their last ten home games in the league and it was a welcome sight for the Welsh region who welcomed back their full contingent of British & Irish Lions players. The Welshmen have been away on their travels so far this season, but boosted by the return of skipper Alun Wyn Jones, in his first appearance of the season, alongside fellow Lions Adam Jones, Hibbard, and Ian Evans and Justin Tipuric it was a six-try romp.
ULSTER picked up their first win of the new season by seeing off fellow Irish province Connacht 18-7 in Galway. Last year's runners-up overcame a strong Connacht start to triumph, in large part thanks to the work of young fly-half Paddy Jackson. In front of watching new Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, Ulster's Irish international scored a try and kicked a further eight points to help his side to victory at the Sportsground. Schmidt would also have been pleased to see the return to action of winger Craig Gilroy who appeared for the first time since last April following a lengthy layoff due to a groin injury. The game also saw Dan Parks become the first man to pass 1,500 points in the league's history following a tenth-minute try, but the Scotsman was eventually overshadowed by opposite number Jackson.
DRAGONS 23 - 16 SCARLETS
Rodney Parade - Friday 20 September 2013
KO: 19:05 HT: 17-13 Att: 6,777
Dragons T: Price, Dan Evans C: Tovey (2) P: Prydie (2), Tovey
Scarlets T: Scott Williams C: Priestland P: Priestland (3)
CARDIFF BLUES 25 - 30 ZEBRE
Arms Park - Friday 20 September 2013
KO: 19:30 HT: 10-13 Att: 7,513
Blues T: Hewitt C: Halfpenny P: Halfpenny (6)
Zebre T: Bergamasco, Odiete, Leonard C: Orquera (3) P: Orquera (2) DG: Orquera Redolfini
GLASGOW WARRIORS 12 - 6 LEINSTER
Scotstoun Stadium - Friday 20 September 2013
KO: 19:35 HT: 7-3 Att: 5,152
Warriors T: Fusaro, Yanuyanutawa C: Hogg
Leinster P: Gopperth
BENETTON TREVISO 29 - 19 MUNSTER RUGBY
Stadio Monigo - Friday 20 September 2013
KO: 20:30 HT: 9-12 Att: 4,528
Treviso T: Nitoglia C: Berquist (2) P: Berquist (5)
Munster T: Earls, PT, Archer C: Keatley (2) Ronan, Williams, Sheridan, Archer
OSPREYS 44 - 10 EDINBURGH RUGBY
Liberty Stadium - Saturday 21 September 2013
KO: 18:30 HT: 18-3 Att: 8,356
Ospreys T: Hassler, Walker (2), Hibbard (2), Morgan C: Biggar (3), Morgan P: Biggar (2) Tipuric
Edinburgh T: Visser C: Leonard P: Leonard
CONNACHT RUGBY 7 - 18 ULSTER RUGBY
Sportsground - Saturday 21 September 2013
KO: 18:45 HT: 7-5 Att: 5,485
Connacht T: Parks C: Parks
Ulster T: Allen, Jackson C: Jackson P: Jackson (2)
RHYS PATCHELL kicked Cardiff Blues to their first RaboDirect PRO12 victory of the season and got life on their new artificial pitch off to the perfect start with a 21-10 win against Connacht on Friday night. Having lost their first clash of the season 22-15 against Glasgow Warriors, the Blues were desperate to mark their opening match at Cardiff Arms Park with victory and 21 points, all from the boot of Wales international fly-half Patchell, saw them home. It was by no means an easy contest for the hosts, though, as they saw Matt Healy cross in the first half and Dan Parks kick five points.
A last-gasp James Eddie try stunned Ravenhill as Glasgow Warriors came from behind to down Ulster 13-12 for their second victory of the season. Flanker Eddie had replaced Rob Harley with 12 minutes left on the clock and it was left for Stuart Hogg - who also nailed two penalties - to kick the extras and take the win. In a hard-fought battle, Paddy Jackson had drilled over four penalties for Ulster, who had seemingly ground out a victory before Eddie struck.
ZEBRE'S long wait for a RaboDirect PRO12 victory goes on after Munster came from behind to record a 43-21 bonus-point victory at the Stadio XXV Aprile. The Irish province had trailed at the break to Luciano Orquera's impish strike and a wonderful break and touch down from hooker Andrea Mancini. But second half scores from Paddy Butler, a brace for CJ Stander and the nerveless kicking of JJ Hanrahan gave Munster the lead and they held on to make it two wins from two this season.
HARRY LEONARD'S late penalty secured Edinburgh's first win of the season as they overcame a resolute Newport Gwent Dragons outfit 16-13. Leonard, who finished with 11 points in total, held his nerve from 20 metres with the last kick of the game after Edinburgh's forwards, dominant throughout, won a vital penalty from the scrum. Tim Visser scored on his return and that, coupled with fly-half Leonard's points from the tee, opened up a 13-3 lead just after the break for the hosts. But Newport fought back and looked to be on the verge of a share of the spoils after Richie Rees crossed and a late penalty from Kris Burton. However, Leonard had the last laugh and the Scottish outfit made amends for their opening weekend 34-23 setback against Munster.
DAN BIGGAR'S boot came to the rescue to earn Ospreys a 29-29 draw, after they threw away the lead and a man advantage at Leinster in the RaboDirect PRO12. Two quickfire second-half Ospreys tries for Joe Bearman and Ashley Beck had looked to have the visitors in control, after Richardt Strauss had given the Leinster the advantage. But, despite Sean Cronin's sin bin, the hosts roared back into the contest and Jack McGrath's try was topped off by a Jimmy Gopperth penalty in the final five minutes - but Biggar struck in added time to draw level.
SCRUM-HALF Gareth Davies scored two quick-fire tries to lay the foundations for an impressive 26-10 Scarlets win over Benetton Treviso. Davies showed incredible poise to pounce twice in the first 15 minutes, while Steven Shingler was also on fire with his kicking as he struck with four penalties and two conversions. A penalty late in the first-half from Tobias Botes and Ludovico Nitoglia's converted try put points on the scoreboard for Treviso, but they always looked like going home empty-handed.
CARDIFF BLUES 21 - 10 CONNACHT RUGBY
Arms Park - Friday 13 September 2013
KO: 19:05 HT: 9-10 Att: 6,874
Cardiff P: Patchell (6) DG: Patchell
Connacht T: Healy C: Parks P: Parks Ah You
ULSTER 12 - 13 GLASGOW WARRIORS
Ravenhill Stadium - Friday 13 September 2013
KO: 19:05 HT: 12-6 Att: 11,500
Ulster P: Jackson (4)
Glasgow T: Eddie C: Hogg P: Hogg (2) Low
ZEBRE 21 - 43 MUNSTER RUGBY
Stadio XXV Aprile - Friday 13 September 2013
KO: 19:30 HT: 18-9 Att: 2,550
Zebre T: Orquera, Mancini C: Orquera P: Orquera (3) Ratavou, Berryman
Munster T: Butler, Stander (2), Keatley C: Hanrahan (3), Keatley P: Hanrahan (5)
EDINBURGH RUGBY 16 - 13 DRAGONS
Murrayfield - Friday 13 September 2013
KO: 19:45 HT: 6-3 Att: 3,692
Edinburgh T: Visser C: Leonard P: Leonard (2)
Dragons T: Rees C: Tovey P: Tovey, Burton Lewis Evans
LEINSTER RUGBY 29 - 29 OSPREYS
Royal Dublin Society - Saturday 14 September 2013
KO: 18:15 HT: 16-9 Att: tbc
Leinster T: Strauss, Kearney, McGrath C: Gopperth P: Gopperth (3) DG: Gopperth Cronin
Ospreys T: Bearman, Beck C: Biggar (2) P: Biggar (5)
SCARLETS 26 - 10 BENETTON TREVISO
Parc y Scarlets - Saturday 14 September 2013
KO: 18:30 HT: 14-3 Att: tbc
Scarlets T: Davies (2) C: Steve Shingler, Aaron Shingler P: Steve Shingler (3), Aaron Shingler Davies
Treviso T: Nitoglia C: Botes P: Botes di Bernardo, Budd
DEFENDING champions Leinster made a winning start to their RaboDirect PRO12 campaign as Jimmy Gopperth showed he is capable of filling Jonny Sexton's boots in the 42-19 bonus-point victory over the Scarlets. Gopperth joined from English side Newcastle Falcons in the summer while Sexton moved to Racing Métro 92 in France, but the new arrival looked comfortable in the No.10 shirt kicking 17 points. The 30-year-old also ran in his side's fourth try of the night as Leinster overturned a 16-10 deficit at the break to taste victory in the opening round for just the second time since 2003.
JASON TOVEY enjoyed a fine return to the Newport Gwent Dragons, kicking all the points in a 15-8 victory over Ulster to ensure Lyn Jones' tenure got off to a fine start. The Dragons limped into 11th place last season but in came Jones over the summer and he has already made a difference - the Welsh outfit seeing off last season's runners-up. Ulster scored the only try of the match through Roger Wilson but they were lacklustre for large spells, where as the Dragons were resolute and were fortunate that Paddy Jackson's radar was off target.
TOMMY SEYMOUR scored the crucial try as Glasgow Warriors got their campaign off the ground with a hard-fought 22-15 win over Cardiff Blues. Seymour struck with 12 minutes left on the clock and with his side in trouble at 15-12 down, thanks to four penalties and a drop goal from Blues fly-half Rhys Patchell. But in the end, last season's semi-finalists ground out the victory in the torrential rain despite some late Blues pressure.
FIONN CARR marked his return to The Sportsground with a late try as Connacht got their season off to a perfect start with a 25-16 victory against Zebre. Carr, who was back in action for Connacht after a two-year stint at Leinster, scored in the second half before Andrea Manici broke through for a consolation try at the death. Tries from Nathan White and Matt Healy saw the hosts race away in the first half while Dan Parks recovered from a sluggish start to kick two penalties and two conversions. A deadeye Luciano Orquera was on target with all three of his penalties - and a successful conversion - but Zebre were always trailing a dominant Connacht.
JAMES CRONIN touched down on his first competitive start as Munster opened their campaign with a 34-23 bonus point victory over Edinburgh at Musgrave Park. Edinburgh opened the scoring with a Piers Francis penalty but Denis Hurley and James Coughlan both touched down to give the hosts an early lead. Cronin made the most of the one man advantage after Lee Jones saw yellow after 25 minutes, by scoring under the posts, but Edinburgh responded after the break with a Nick De Luca try. Ivan Dineen grabbed another Munster try a few minutes later and JJ Hanrahan extended the lead before Jones pulled one back for Edinburgh, but the hosts held on.
OSPREYS silenced the home crowd to claim the scalp of Italian side Benetton Treviso at their fortress Stadio di Monigo, securing a 24-19 to exact revenge for last season's defeat - again on the opening weekend of the RaboDirect PRO12 season. Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy was under no illusions about the task facing his team in their season opener. Last term they struggled to gain any momentum in their season after losing their first three games and Treviso were unbeaten at home against Welsh clubs - an ominous statistic of which Tandy was all too aware. Tandy was missing seven players through injury while Tito Tebaldi was making his full debut and Joe Bearman his 50th appearance.
SCARLETS 19 - 42 LEINSTER RUGBY
Parc y Scarlets - Friday 06 September 2013
KO: 19:05 HT: 16-10 Att: 6,329
Scarlets T: McCusker C: Steven Shingler P: Steven Shingler (4) Owen
Leinster T: Moore, Murphy, Hudson, Gopperth, Kearney C: Gopperth (4) P: Gopperth (3) Kearney, Hudson, McGrath
DRAGONS 15 - 8 ULSTER RUGBY
Rodney Parade - Friday 06 September 2013
KO: 19:15 HT: 6-8 Att: 5,165
Dragons P: Tovey (4) DG: Tovey
Ulster T: Wilson P: Jackson
GLASGOW WARRIORS 22 - 15 CARDIFF
Scotstoun Stadium - Friday 06 September 2013
KO: 19:35 HT: 12-6 Att: 5,052
Glasgow T: Seymour C: Jackson P: Wight (2), Bennett (2), Jackson Vernon
Cardiff P: Patchell (4) DG: Patchell Owen Williams, Cook
CONNACHT RUGBY 27 - 16 ZEBRE
Sportsground - Saturday 07 September 2013
KO: 17:00 HT: 17-3 Att: 4,084
Connacht T: White, Healy, Carr C: Parks (3) P: Parks (2)
Zebre T: Redolfini C: Orquera P: Orquera (3) Pratichetti
MUNSTER RUGBY 34 - 23 EDINBURGH RUGBY
Musgrave Park - Saturday 07 September 2013
KO: 19:15 HT: 22-6 Att: 6,810
Munster T: Hurley, Coughlan, Cronin, Dineen, Hanrahan C: Keatley (2), Hanrahan P: Keatley
Edinburgh T: de Luca, Jones C: Francis, Leonard P: Francis (2), Leonard Jones
BENETTON TREVISO 19 - 24 OSPREYS
Stadio Monigo - Saturday 07 September 2013
KO: 19:30 HT: 9-10 Att: 4,981
Treviso T: Favaro C: di Bernardo P: di Bernardo (4) Ghiraldini
Ospreys T: Baldwin, John C: Biggar P: Biggar (2) DG: Biggar (2) Bishop
The RaboDirect PRO12 season 2013/14 kicks off with both the reigning champions, Leinster and runners up, Ulster in action in Wales on Friday night. The Champions are not known as fast starters, whereas Scarlets were joint top of the table after the first round last year, so will be looking to make the most of their home advantage.
Newport Gwent Dragons were the only other team that took maximum points from their opening fixture last season, but they will find Ulster far tougher opposition then new boys Zebre were in 2012/13.
Glasgow Warriors and Cardiff Blues complete the action on Friday night; whilst Warriors did not make the most auspicious start to the season they did reach the Play-Offs last year and know that every point counts if they are to better that performance this campaign.
The remaining three round one games all take place on Saturday, in Italy and Ireland. In a repeat of last season's opening fixture, Ospreys travel to Italy to face Benetton Treviso, but they must be hoping for a better result than last year having lost that game 12-6 to their hosts.
The second Italian outfit, Zebre, face Irish province Connacht in Galway. The visitors are still looking for that elusive first ever win in the competition, but should be buoyed by the fact that the last two times the teams met there was less than seven points separating them.
The round wraps up on Saturday evening at Musgrave Park in Cork where Munster welcome Edinburgh Rugby and history seems to favour the hosts who have only been defeated once in the opening weekend of the tournament since 2006.