Tuesday, January 29, 2019

80-word reviews for weekend of Jan 25-27


Ulster started both halves brightly with Ludik going over in the first and Herring in the second, but both times the Italians were able to regroup and respond in kind. Getting the most out of their powerful wingers Benetton levelled the try count at two with Ian McKinley's placekicking giving them a lead going into the closing stages. Their stubborn D nearly held out until a Ross pilfer led to a penalty try from a collapsed maul for the draw. 


On a dreary drizzly day in Newport this was a battle of territory kicking and the home side had enough edge in accuracy and organization to lead 7-3 at HT thanks to a Fairbrother try. After the break Munster finally had a purple patch that led to a rake of penalties, a yellow for Screech and eventually a Kleyn try. While Dragon 10 Lewis impressed throughout, his missed penalty proved costly and the visitors brought the slender lead home. 


Cardiff had so much benefit from both home and strong wind advantage that they managed the game's first try (despite having TWO in the sinbin) courtesy of a fine finish in the corner by Lane.  But despite having the second half wind behind them, a series of errors meant Connacht had to wait until a 75m Boyle try to break their duck.  Conor Fitzgerald impressed off the bench but they probably should've come away with more than a losing BP.


On a Burns night of almost unplayable Glasgow gusts the Ospreys, who have relied on a territory kicking game all season, could only manage a 3-0 HT lead before their hosts pulled ahead with three 2nd half penalties.  A late Matawalu yellow gifted the visitors some space but during phases on the Warriors line, a very obviously illegal clearout from Olly Cracknell wasted the opportunity and the Scots were able to stay in touch with Conference A leaders Munster.


The first 78m had multiple errors, some scores, 1-1 in yellows despite way more Kings penalties though Edinburgh can't blame the ref without looking at themselves more.  I've saved my words for the incredible match-winning try by the home side.  Running from deep, sub Meli Rokua had the ball in one hand before offloading in mid-air while being tackled to Yaw Penxe who sprinted the rest of the way to score while somehow staying in play.  Outstanding.


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