Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Pro 14 Round 12 review by Ciarán Duffy



Leinster 21 – 18 Connacht

Leinster held on against a battling Connacht side who probably deserved more than a losing bonus point.

Carty and Sexton exchanged penalties early on as Leinster led 6 – 3.  Leinster got the games first try, James Lowe held off a tackle to lay a terrific pass to Noel Reid, who found Max Deegan who touched down.  Carty kicked another penalty for Connacht, the visitors then went ahead through a Finlay Bealham try after a Bundee Aki break.  At halftime Connacht led 11 – 13.  

In the second have Leinster went back in front, Sexton kicking a penalty.  On the hour mark Luke McGrath touched down, Sexton added the conversion to make it and 8-point game.  Matt Healy fought his way to the line to get Connacht back into it.  Connacht piled on the pressure late on, with 2 minutes to go Connacht had a penalty, but Cartys kick didn’t find touch.  They’d have another chance as they’d get a penalty for a high tackle with the clock in red.  The secured the lineout ball, but after 28 phases they were penalised for not releasing.  

The full write-up will be up Wednesday.  

Ulster 24 – 17 Munster

Ulster staged a remarkable comeback, on Sparky's birthday no less.

The first half belonged to Munster, with two tries from Niall Scannell, and a penalty try putting them 0 – 17 up.  The lead could have been greater had Hanrahan been on target.  Ulster had a chance to add a score late in the half, they went to the corner but were shoved into touch.  

14 minutes into the 2nd half Munster found themselves down to 14, when Fineen Wycherley has sent to the bin.  That turned out to be a key period in the game, Darren Cave got over for a try, and Sammy Arnold was sent off for a high tackle with force to the head.  Cooney added the conversion, and suddenly it was a 10-point game with the momentum with Ulster.  3 minutes later Craig Gilroy got over the line to decrease the lead to 5 points.  Gilroy would get over again, his 45th league try, to put Ulster level.  Cooneys conversion edged them in front. They’d secure the unlikeliest of bonus points late on as Rob Lyttle got over the line.  The conversion went wide, meaning Munster got a losing bonus point.  The win was crucial for Ulster to keep pace with Leinster and Scarlets.  

Cardiff Blues 11 – 14 Scarlets

Scarlets remain top of conference B with an away win on New Years Eve.  

Cardiff took the lead with a Gareth Anscombe penalty, before Tom Prydie touched down for the away side, Halfpenny adding the extras.  Ellis Jenkins responded with a try for Cardiff, converted by Anscombe, to put the hosts in front at halftime.  The scoring in the second half was finished by the 45th minute, Rhys Patchell got a try to put Scarlets in front, Halfpenny added the extras.  

Glasgow Warriors 17 – 0 Edinburgh

Glasgow bounced back from a defeat to Edinburgh in round 11 with a win.  The stadium had to be evacuated at halftime due to a fire-alarm going off.

The only score in the first half came from the boot of Finn Russell, Glasgow led 3 – 0 at halftime.  Russell kicked three more penalties in the second half, before the games first try finally came at the 80th minute, Lee Jones getting over.  Both sides had a player sent to the bin with the clock in red, Chris Fusaro for Glasgow and Fraser McKenzie for Edinburgh.  

Zebre 16 – 20 Benetton

The first half saw Carlo Canna and Marty Banks exchange penalties, the sides went in level at 6 – 6.  Jayden Hayward got an early try for Benetton in the second half, Banks adding the conversion.  Zebre hit back five minutes later with a try from Mattia Bellini, converted by Marcello Violi.  Zebre would go in front with 13 minutes to go with a penalty from Violi.  Benetton replied immediately, Dean Budd getting over, Ian McKinley added the conversion.  

Dragons 9 – 22 Ospreys

it was an eventful first half, with a try coming within the first five minute, Scott Baldwin got over for Ospreys, Dan Biggar converted.  Dragons responded with an Arwel Robson penalty, Ospreys with back with another try, this time from Cory Allen.  Robson kicked another penalty, Dragons then found themselves down to 14, Jack Dixon going to the bin.  Biggar scored the resulting penalty, Robson got another for Dragons.  At halftime Ospreys led 9 – 15.  In the 2nd half Sam Davies got over for the away side, Biggar added the conversion.  



Conference A
Pld
Pts
Wins
PD +/-
1
Glasgow Warriors
12
53
11
+195
2
Munster
12
38
7
+124
3
Toyota Cheetahs
10
29
6
+14
4
Cardiff Blues
12
24
5
-46
5
Connacht
12
24
4
+1
6
Zebre
12
17
3
-76
7
Ospreys
12
16
3
-117


Conference B
Pld
Pts
Wins
PD +/-
1
Scarlets
12
48
10
+129
2
Leinster
12
46
10
+155
3
Ulster
12
40
8
+40
4
Edinburgh
12
32
7
+26
5
Benetton
12
24
5
-46
6
Dragons
12
14
2
-171
7
Southern Kings
10
4
0
-228

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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