Tuesday, March 05, 2019

80-word reviews for weekend Mar 1-3

Although a Josh Lewis penalty put the Dragons in front on 18m, Ulster always looked in control and once a Jordi Murphy try put them ahead there was no coming back. Other ex-Leinster men Moore and Cooney stretched the lead further and the final insult to the home side was towards the end when skipper Alan O'Connor secured the BP despite his side being two men short, both for deliberate knockons. McFarland's men still well in the playoff picture.

Munster may feel hard done by a TMO call that ruled out a second half try for them; it could've gone either way. But they should be more concerned about the umpteen other visits deep into the Scarlets' 22 from which they could only muster six measley points. Meanwhile the hosts made the most of their one chance down when an innovative offload from McNicholl put Nicholas over. A winning, warm West Walian welcome return to action for Leigh Halfpenny.

Connacht squeezed every drop of the first half advantage they had; vocal home crowd behind them, better crop of returnees from the Six Nations, but most of all, MotM 10 Godwin got great gain from the gale-force Galway gusts with monster territory kicks and 5/5 from the tee. With four tries already shipped and two men down early in the second half, there was no way back for the Ospreys. The victory moved the Westerners into the playoff places.

Defences held sway in the first half, the score was just 3-3 at the break. In the third quarter the teams exchanged tries with only an Ian McKinley conversion hitting the post proving the difference going into the closing stages. Though the former Leinster man did well overall, his replacement Antonio Rizzi delighted the home crowd with a late try, conversion and penalty to stretch Benetton's unbeaten run to eight and keep them in second place in Conference B.

Damian Mackenzie put the opening kickoff straight into touch; from the scrum, the Sunwolves showed confident front-foot rugby allowing Matsuhashi to score in the corner. That pattern continued throughout, with the visitors able to pounce on numerous errors from the 2-time champions to build a 20-point halftime lead, and although Nankivell and Nani-Seturo crossed after the break, Hayden Parker's 6/6 from the tee helped the Japanese franchise secure their first away win in Super Rugby.


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