Sunday, December 24, 2017

Pro 14 Round 11 review [Part 1] by Ciarán Duffy

Here’s our round-up of the first set of fixtures in round 11.  The 2nd part will be up on Wednesday.  

Connacht 44 – 16 Ulster

Connacht got a bonus point in a comfortable win.  It was a rare occasion in Irish rugby; Connacht having more Ireland internationals in the their starting XV than Ulster, 9 to 8.  That shows how far Connacht have come over the past few years.  The match saw Darren Cave win his 200th cap for Ulster.

It took 2 minutes for the first the hosts to maul over the line, Eoghan Masterson getting the ball down.  Their second try was a thing of beauty, Healy ran a good line, Marmion received the ball and made a break, Aki finished it off.  Carty added the extras.  Cooney kicked a penalty for Ulster, but the comeback wasn’t on, as Tiernan O’Halloran got over the line with great feet and a show and go, the TMO awarded the try.  Cooney would kick another penalty to reduce the deficit.  Connacht pushed for a bonus point try.  Eventually they settled for the 3 points, Carty converting a penalty.  At halftime Connacht led 20 – 6.  
Ulster struggled at the start of the second half, getting two yellow cards.  Andrew Warwick was sent to the bin, Carty scored the penalty.  Louis Ludik was then sent to the bin for a deliberate knock on.  From the resulting lineout Connacht mauled over the line with Dillane touching down.  Carty converted to get Connacht up to 30.  They didn’t have to wait long for the 5th try, Jarrad Butler got over the line moments before being taken off, Carty once again converted.  Louis Ludik looked like he had gotten a consolation try off a chip kick, but it was knocked forward.  They would get a try eventually with Gilroy touching down.  Ulster trailed 37 – 11.  Connacht finished the game with 14 players as O’Halloran was sent to the bin.  Connacht got a try that resembled one you’d see in a game of 7s, it started with an intercepted pass, and after some handball ended with Dillane touching down.  Carty kicked the conversion.  Ulster would have the final say when Rob Lyttle got down.
Connacht were the better team throughout the match, and deserved the win.  While the game was a contest, Ulster never really got going.  One bright spark for the away side was the impact of the bench as they did improve in the last 20 minutes.  

Edinburgh 18 – 17 Glasgow
Edinburgh handed Glasgow their first defeat the league this season, despite playing over 70 minutes with 14 players.  Glasgow got a try within the first minute when Huw Jones touched down, Pete Horne added the extras.  It got worse for the home side when Simon Berghan was sent off for stamping.  Hidalgo-Clynes penalty would be the last score of the half, Glasgow led 3 – 7.  
To start the 2nd Horne and Hidalgo-Clyne exchanged penalties.  Scott Cummings then got a try for the visitors, Finn Russell converted it to give them a 11-point lead.  Nathan Fowles got one back for Edinburgh, and Jacob van der Walt converted to put the hosts within 4 points.  Edinburgh would win it at the death when Chris dean touched down with two minutes left.  

Benetton 27 – 14 Zebre
Benetton were victorious in a game that saw two yellow cards and a red.  Angelo Esposito got the games first try with 17 minutes gone to put the home side ahead.  Zebre could only offer a penalty from Marclo Violi in the first 40, at halftime the score was 5 – 3.  
The first ten minutes of the second half were hectic.  First Hame Faiva got a try, which was converted by Marty Banks.  Carlo Canna kicked a penalty for Zebre before they had Johan Meyer sent off.  Dean Budd was shown a yellow for the hosts.  Marty Banks then kicked a penalty before Giulio Bisegni got the visitors only try.  On the hour-mark, Carlo Canna kicked Zebre to within 1 point.  Benetton would push on as Angelo Esposito and Edoardo Gori both got tries, the latter of which was converted by Ian McKinley.  The hosts had Hame Faiva sent to the bin late on.  

Harpin’ readers, have a safe and peaceful holiday period.  Look after your mental health during this time, and remember to tell those that you care about that you're thinking of them.  

Ciarán Duffy (@TheVoiceDepth) is a Leinster supporter and self-proclaimed ‘big cheese’ of Post To Post (@PostToPostSport).   He’ll write about anything rugby under the condition he gets to take it too seriously.

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Taken by JLP from RDS press box on Nov 16, 2019