PRO12: Blues stun Ospreys, Munster edge Ulster

Date published: April 15 2017

Cardiff Blues produced a stunning victory over play-off hopefuls the Ospreys while Munster edged Ulster, Scarlets beat the Dragons, Treviso overcame Edinburgh while Leinster defeated Connacht in the PRO12.

Blues 35-17 Ospreys
Principality Stadium

Cardiff Blues started Judgement Day V with a bang as they scored five tries and overpowered their rivals at the Principality Stadium. 

The Blues had lost their last three PRO12 matches but started well and never looked back ensuring that the Ospreys continue to ponder on their end of season slump. 

Kristian Dacey started the scoring after eight minutes and two further first-half tries put the blues comfortably ahead after 26 minutes. 

The Ospreys’ only response was three points from the boot of Sam Davies and found themselves 21-3 at the break. 

The Blues started the second forty week and secured the bonus-point four minutes after the break through Taufa'ao Filise. 

More Blues’ points were to come as Gareth Anscombe – having slotted four conversions already – scored and converted his own try. 

In the final quarter Steve Tandy’s side added an air of respectability as they crossed twice however it was a tough day at the office for the Ospreys. 

The Blues put their game on the park and you wonder where they would be in the table had they shown this form earlier in the season?

The scorers:

For Blues:
Tries: Dacey, L Williams, N Williams, Filise, Anscombe
Cons: Anscombe 5

For Ospreys:
Tries: Evans, James
Cons: Davies 2
Pen: Davies 

Blues: 15 Matthew Morgan, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Rhun Williams, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Ellis Jenkins, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 Macauley Cook, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Taufa’ao Filise, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Gethin Jenkins (c)
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Anton Peikrishvili, 19 James Down, 20 Sion Bennett, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Steve Shingler, 23 Aled Summerhill

Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Keelan Giles, 13 Ashley Beck, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Dafydd Howells, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Rhys Webb (c), 8 Dan Baker, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 James King, 5 Rory Thornton, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Nicky Smith  
Replacements: 16 Scott Otten, 17 Paul James, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Lloyd Ashley, 20 Tyler Ardron, 21 Tom Habberfield, 22 Luke Price, 23 Kieron Fonotia

Referee: Andrew Brace
Assistant Referees: Sean Gallagher (Ireland), Gwyn Morris (Wales) 
TMO: Neil Hennessy (Wales)

Munster 22-20 Ulster
Thomond Park

At Thomond Park Munster kept their impressive home record in tact with a hard-fought victory over Ulster. 

Rassie Erasmus’ side have only lost once there in any tournament since mid-December and on Saturday they found a way to win despite being behind on the scoreboard four times. 

Ulster started strongly with a Rory Best try off a driving maul yet the response was a swift one from the hosts. 

Three minutes later scrum-half Angus Lloyd – who was playing against the slide that loaned him out – scored their first try which was swiftly converted by Ian Keatley. 

Paddy Jackson and Keatley exchanged penalties to provide the only other points of the first forty and lock the scores at 10-10 at the break. 

Ulster edged ahead again through Jackson’s penalty before the two sides exchanged tries with Keith Earls and Luke Marshall crossing. 

Marshall’s score, converted by Jackson, gave Ulster a five point lead with 15 minutes to go  after Tyler Bleyendaal hadn’t added the extras to Earls’ try but Munster stayed cool. 

Dave O’Callaghan powered over on the 70 minute mark to level the scores and this time Bleyendaal made sure of the conversion. 

Ulster will ponder on what could have been as well as worry about Rory Best’s fitness after he left the field on 50 minutes. 

On the other hand Munster progress into Champions Cup semi-final week in rude health in the PRO12 and be ready to up the ante again. 

The scorers:

For Munster:
Tries: Lloyd, Earls, O'Callaghan
Cons: Keatley, Bleyendaal
Pens: Keatley 

For Ulster
Tries: Best, Marshall 
Cons: Jackson 2
Pens: Jackson 2

Munster: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Darren Sweetnam, 13 Francis Saili, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Keith Earls; 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 Jack O’Donoghue, 7 Tommy O’Donnell, 6 Peter O’Mahony (c), 5 Billy Holland, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Dave Kiloyne
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 James Cronin, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Dave O’Callaghan, 20 Jean Deysel, 21 Angus Lloyd, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Andrew Conway

Ulster: 15 Jacob Stockdale, 14 Andrew Trimble (c), 13 Luke Marshall, 12 Stuart Olding, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Sean Reidy, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Alan O’Connor, 4 Kieran Treadwell, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Rory Best, 1 Andrew Warwick
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Calum Black, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Robbie Diack, 20 Clive Ross, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Stuart McCloskey, 23 Craig Gilroy

Referee: Marcus Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Emanuele Tomo (Italy), John Carvill (Ireland) 
TMO: Stefano Penne (Italy) 

Dragons 16-21 Scarlets
Principality Stadium

Scarlets were made to work for their Judgement Day V victory as a spirited Dragons side caused them issues at the Principality Stadium.

The Scarlets have lost just once in the PRO12 since Round 11 but it took them a long time to put the game to bed in Cardiff.

After the high-scoring affair of the first match part of Judgement Day V, this second contest didn’t hit the same heights from a points perspective in the opening half.

Angus O’Brien got the Dragons off the mark after 12 minutes and he added a second penalty two minutes later to push them out to a 6-0 lead.

Dan Jones answered back for the Scarlets with a penalty of his own but the Dragons enjoyed much of the first-half possession and frustrated their rivals.

The game was poised at 6-3 at the break and while the Scarlets added another three to lock the match at 6-6 they were still unable to really find their stride due to their own errors and the Dragons’ work rate.

On 57 minutes the Scarlets’ outside backs started to shine and Jonathan Evans came within inches of the try line.

Nigel Owens – on his 150th PRO12 outing – deemed that one of the last defenders on Evans, Dragons' Adam Hughes, had slowed the ball for a professional foul and as a result showed the winger a yellow.

This gave Scarlets the extra space to play with on the field and after that Jonathan Davies crossed.

Liam Williams took over the kicking duties and cooly slotted that conversion before adding a penalty and touching down for a try of his own as the Scarlets finally found the points they needed.

With everything going on surrounding the Dragons, they showed tremendous intent and heart during the match and deservedly gained a consolation try at the death through Hughes.

The scorers:

For Dragons:
Try: Hughes
Con: O'Brien
Pens: O'Brien 3

For Scarlets:
Tries: Davies, L Williams
Con: L Williams
Pens: Jones 2, L Williams

Dragons: 15 Carl Meyer, 14 Adam Hughes, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Sam Beard, 11 Adam Warren, 10 Angus O’Brien, 9 Charlie Davies, 8 Lewis Evans (c), 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Ollie Griffiths, 5 Cory Hill, 4 Matthew Screech, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 2 Rhys Buckley, 1 Sam Hobbs
Replacements: 16 Thomas Rhys Thomas, 17 Phil Price, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Ashley Sweet, 20 Harrison Keddie, 21 Dorian Jones, 22 Tom Prydie, 23 Jack Dixon

Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 John Barclay, 7 James Davies, 6 Tadhg Beirne, 5 Tom Price, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Rob Evans
Replacements: 16 Emyr Phillips, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 David Bulbring, 20 Will Boyde, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Hadleigh Parkes, 23 DTH van der Merwe

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Dan Jones (Wales), Sean Brickell (Wales)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)

Treviso 21-6 Edinburgh
Stadio Mongio

Treviso prevailed over Edinburgh to record back-to-back home PRO12 victories at Stadio Monigo.

It was Treviso’s first win against a Scottish opponent since March 2014 and it means that Edinburgh are still yet to win a PRO12 fixture in 2017.

In a low scoring first half it took 24 minutes for the first points to be put on the board and they came from Jason Tovey off the ticking tee.

The visitors’ lead was shortlived as Ian McKinley bounced back for the hosts with two successive penalties.

Treviso then finished the half with Robert Barbieri powering over and McKinley adding the conversion to give them a 13-3 lead at half-time.

Edinburgh started the second half with a penalty and pressured their hosts’ line however after Tovey’s three points it was Treviso that delivered the try.

It was Angelo Esposito who crossed and with the conversion added they extended their lead out to a healthy 21-6.

The final quarter remained scoreless as Trevsio held onto their comfortable cushion and Edinburgh weren’t able to find the answers to wave their way back into the game.

The result means that Edinburgh have now lost eight in a row in the PRO12 and have only recorded one away win this season at Zebre.

The Scottish side must re-group before they face the Dragons at home in Round 21 next while Treviso will be hosting Munster and will be looking to see if they can record a third home victory on the bounce.

The scorers:

For Treviso:
Tries: Barbieri, Esposito
Con: McKinley
Pens: McKinley 3

For Edinburgh:
Pens: Tovey 2

Treviso: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Tommaso Iannone, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Luca Sperandio, 10 Ian McKinley, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Abraham Steyn, 6 Francesco Minto, 5 Dean Budd (C), 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Federico Zani
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Alberto Porolli, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Jean-Francois Montauriol, 20 Marco Lazzaroni, 21 Giorgio Bronzini, Tito Tebaldi, 23 Tommaso Benvenuti

Edinburgh: 15 Glenn Bryce, 14 Damien Hoyland, 13 Chris Dean, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Rory Scholes, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Nathan Fowles, 8 Viliami Fihaki, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Viliame Mata, 5 Ben Toolis, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 3 Simon Berghan, 2 Ross Ford (c) 1 Murray McCallum
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Derrick Appiah, 18 Kevin Bryce, 19 Grant Gilchrist, 20 Cornell du Preez, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Junior Rasolea

Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Mark Patton (Ireland), Giuseppe Vivarini (Italy)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)

Connacht 24-37 Leinster
The Sportsground

Leinster’s bonus-point victory booked their home PRO12 semi-final following a high-scoring tussle with Connacht at The Sportsground.

Prior to Saturday’s outing Connacht had lost only once at the Sportsground in any competition since September but Leinster’s strong second-half put an end to that impressive record.

On the occasion of John Muldoon’s 300th appearance for Connacht it was the hosts that put the first points on the board thanks to Craig Ronaldson’s penalty kick.

A short time after they found themselves on the end of two quick tries from Leinster with Adam Byrne playing a hand in both.

After setting up Zane Kirchner he then poached an intercept and ran in himself. Ross Byrne added the extras to the second and made it 3-12 after ten minutes played.

The rest of the half followed in a whirl of points as the lead switched back and forth.

Connacht got themselves on the try-scoring board through Danie Poolman following Tiernan O’Halloran’s break before Ross Byrne and Ronaldson’s exchanged penalties.

As half-time was approaching Leinster found a vital score from Rory O’Loughlin and while Connacht added another penalty Leinster took a 19-20 advantage into the sheds.

The second 40 continued to deliver points galore and Dave Heffernan pushed Connacht back 24-20 before Leinster accelerated.

Tries from captain Rhys Ruddock and their second interception score of the night – this time from Barry Daly – helped to extend their lead out to 24-34 and secure a bonus-point in the process.

Ross Byrne put the cherry on top with a final penalty and Leinster will now park PRO12 matters with a semi-final spot secured to focus their attentions on Clermont in the Champions Cup.

For Connacht the occasion of Muldoon’s 300th appearance will be marked before they get back down to business and host Scarlets in Round 21.

The scorers:

For Connacht:
Tries: Poolman, Heffernan
Con: Ronaldson
Pens: Ronaldson 4

For Leinster:
Tries: Kirchner, A Byrne, O’Loughlin, Ruddock, Daly
Con: R Byrne 3
Pens: R Byrne 2

Connacht: 15 Tiernan O’Halloran, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Bundee Aki, 12 Craig Ronaldson, 11 Danie Poolman, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 John Muldoon (c), 7 Jake Heenan, 6 Eoin McKeon, 5 Andrew Browne, 4 Quinn Roux, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Dave Heffernan, 1 Denis Buckley
Replacements: 16 Shane Delahunt, 17 JP Cooney, 18 Dominic Robertson-McCoy, 19 Sean O’Brien, 20 Naulia Dawai, 21 Caolin Blade, 22 Steve Crosbie, 23 Eoin Griffin

Leinster: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Adam Byrne, 13 Rory O’Loughlin, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Rhys Ruddock (c), 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Dominic Ryan, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Mike Ross, 2 James Tracy, 1 Cian Healy
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Peter Dooley, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Ian Nagle, 20 Peadar Timmins, 21 Nick McCarthy, 22 Tom Daly, 23 Barry Daly

Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Wayne Davies (Wales), Joy Neville (Ireland)
TMO: Neil Paterson (Scotland)