RaboDirect Round-Up

Leinster 22-23 Ospreys

Fri 23rd March @ The RDS

Drico played 58 minutes for Leinster. (c) Jack Arigho.

Leinster’s incredible 20-game unbeaten run finally came to an end on Friday night at the RDS. Ospreys hooker Richard Hibbard bounced over for a 76th-minute try and Dan Biggar showed big cojones to win the game for the Welsh region with the conversion. An opportunistic try from Ian Madigan and 17 points from Fergus McFadden’s boot had seemingly put Leinster on course for yet another win.

Tries from George Stowers and then Hibbard’s late effort, along with a total of 13 points off Biggar’s tee did the damage for the Ospreys, who solidified their position of 3rd in the league. More positively for Leinster, the returning Brian O’Driscoll and Leo Cullen as well as debutant Brad Thorn all came through unscathed. Joe Schmidt’s side remain top of the league, 8 points ahead of Munster. Next Saturday will see the rivals battle it out at Thomond Park.

The full Leinster vs. Ospreys game is available on the RTE Player. Here’s the highlights:

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Treviso 23-27 Ulster

Sat 24th March @ Stadio di Monigo

Ulster won in dramatic circumstances on Saturday as substitute Ian Whitten crossed for a try in the last minute. Alberto di Bernardo’s 69th-minute score, converted by Kris Burton, looked to have secured a win for Treviso with a 23-13 lead. But Paddy Wallace immediately replied with a try of his own for Ulster, converted by Ruan Pienaar, and that set the scene for Whitten’s late intervention.

Chris Henry scored Ulster’s other try in the first half, with Pienaar contributing 12 points overall. A loss for Ulster would have seriously dented their play-off ambitions but this win keeps them 5th, just a single point behind the Warriors. Brian McLaughlin’s men return to Ravenhill on Friday to host bottom side Aironi. The target there has to be a bonus point win.

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Connacht 16-20 Munster

Sat 24th March @ The Sportsground

Connacht were narrow losers yet again on Saturday night. (c) Olly Griffin.

Eric Elwood will have been livid to see his side once again lose from a winning position on Saturday night in Galway. Mia Nikora’s penalty after 65 mins put Connacht into 16-13 lead but Munster hit back swiftly when Tommy O’Donnell finished powerfully after a Tomas O’Leary break. Ian Keatley’s conversion was the final score of the game as Connacht failed to find a winning score.

Hooker Ethienne Reynecke scored Connacht’s only try in the first half, with Nikora adding the province’s other 11 points. Simon Zebo got on the scoresheet for Munster, finishing off a good team effort which featured a beautiful Denis Hurley offload. Keatley converted both tries as well as knocking over two penalties. Neither side’s league position is affected by this result. Next up, Connacht travel to the Dragons on Friday while Munster host Leinster on Saturday.

Catch the full Connacht vs. Munster game on the TG4 player (click ‘Sport’ then ‘Rugbai Beo’).

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The latest PRO12 table:

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Photos courtesy:  Olly Griffin, Jack Arigho.

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