What a weekend this was in the Rabo Pro12 league, some very intense games that were enough to raise your heart rate and some first class finishes. This week saw the last of the Welsh derby’s in which the Dragon’s managed their first win since September over second in the table Ospreys. While Ulster and Munster both managed bonus-point wins Ospreys and Glasgow Warriors manage to grab losing-bonus points.
As week 13 draws to a close this is how the table is looking, the Blues and Dragons both have a game in hand after their derby was postponed in week 8.
Newport Gwent Dragons 21 – 20 Ospreys
Dan Biggar’s last minute drop-goal hit the post as the Dragons claimed their first Pro12 win since September thanks to second half tries from Martyn Thomas and Lewis Robling. Matthew Morgan missed the chance to put Ospreys on the scoreboard first and it was not long before Jason Tovey put the Dragons in the lead with two penalties. Morgan managed to level the score in the 34th minute after two penalties. Both teams went into the break a man down with Tonderai Chavhanga and Tom Smith being sinbinned and a penalty on the whistle put the home side in the lead. Morgan equaled the scored again five minutes after the restart but it wasn’t long before Thomas went over after a gap in the Ospreys defence. Four minutes later things got worse for the Ospreys as Robling got a break to get a try under the posts, Tovey added the extras giving the Dragons a 21-9 lead. Morgan and Dan Biggar kept the Ospreys scoreboard ticking over with penalties as Scott Johnson bought his cavalry on from the bench. With seven minutes to go substitute Tommy Bowe went over for a try but Biggar missed the conversion leaving the visitors trailing by a point and a last minute drop goal hit the post leaving the Ospreys with a losing-bonus point having been unable to end their losing streak at Rodney Parade.
Edinburgh 20 – 42 Ulster
Ulster claimed a bonus-point victory over Edinburgh in a convincing display which moved them up to fifth in the table. Ian Humphreys gave the visitors an early lead as he knocked over two early penalties but it was Nick de Luca who got first try with Greig Ladilaw adding the extras to put them into the lead which he extended minutes later with a penalty. Two tries within two minutes of each other from Rory Best and Dan Tuohy put Ulster back in the lead but Ruan Pienaar was unable to convert either. Laidlaw kicked a penalty on the half-time mark to reduce their deficit. After the break Pienaar extended their lead with a penalty which was immediately followed by a try from Andrew Timble, Pienaar added the extras. Edinburgh has to wait until the 60th minute before adding more points to their board with Alun Walker going over for a try, Laidlaw added the extras. In the 74th minute Darren Cave went over for Ulster’s fourth try before Pienaar adding the extras and a further three points with a last minute penalty.
Aironi 20 – 6 Connacht
Aironi managed a win over Connacht but still take up residence at the bottom of the Pro12 table. Luciano Orquera gave the home side a first half lead after kicking three penalties while Connacht’s Matthew Jarvis was unable to add any points to his side’s scoreboard. The game was effectively over two minutes after the break as Sinoti Sinoti went over for try extending Aironi lead, Orquera missed the conversion. Orquera made up for his missed conversion with a penalty five minutes later. Jarvis found his kick as he put the first points on the board for Connacht before being replaced by Niall O’Connor who exchanged penalties with Orquera as the game drew to a close. This was Connacht’s 13th consecutive defeat in all competitions.
Cardiff Blues 19 – 23 Leinster
Leinster retained the lead at the table of the table after an away win over Cardiff Blues. Leinster gained control of the game with two early tries for Sean O’Brien and Rob Kearney which Sexton duly converted as the visitors went 14-0 up. Leigh Halfpenny began to reduce the deficit as he knocked over two penalties before Dan Parks added three points with a drop-goal. Sexton added another three points for the visitors just before half time giving them a 17-9 lead. The Blues had a better second half with Gethin Jenkins going over for a try and with Halfpenny adding the extras the Blues trailed by one point. Halfpenny then lost his kicking as he missed several penalties to edge the team into the lead before Fergus McFadden sealed the win for Leinster.
Scarlets 16 – 14 Glasgow Warriors
Rhys Priestland’s boot helped Scarlets to victory over Glasgow Warriors who suffered their first defeat since September. Glasgow gained an early lead with a try by Moray Low who took the ball from a loose Scarlets line out. Priestland and Ruaridh Jackson exchanged penalties but Jackson went off in the 12th minute with a hamstring injury. Priestland kicked a further two penalties to put the Welsh side in the lead and Glasgow found themselves down to 13 men after Rob Harley and Ryan Wilson were sin-binned just before half time. An injury time try by Gareth Davies and a conversion by Priestland saw the Scarlets head into the break 16-8 up. Scott Wight, who had taken over kicking duties for Glasgow, knocked over a penalty in the 44th minute before addig another one in the 70th minute cutting the deficit to just one score. The Scarlets were left pointless in the second-half after referee Dudley Phillips disallowed a try. Their losing-bonus point kept the Scottish side a point ahead of the Scarlets in the table.
Munster 29 – 11 Benetton Treviso
A bonus-point win over Treviso put Munster one point behind Ospreys in the Pro12 table. Treviso trailed just 10-6 in the first half after they pushed the reigning league champions. Kris Burton gave the Italians an early lead with a penalty although Ronan O’Gara leveled the score in the 19th minute shortly before Niall Ronan went over for the first try of the game to put Munster in the lead. O’Gara added the extras. Keith Earls added a second Munster try with O’Gara’s conversion going over. Treviso replied with a try from Manoa Vosawai but Burton was unable to convert. James Coughlan sealed the win with 17 minutes to go and Simon Zebo went over for the bonus-point try both of which were converted by O’Gara. The result will boost morale in the Munster camp after their 33-17 to Irish rivals Ulster last week.