Leinster 54-13 Edinburgh
Fri 13th April @ The RDS
Another of those fantastically watchable Leinster nights at the RDS. They had eight different try-scorers as Ian Madigan picked up the Man of the Match award for some superb play-making at outhalf. Declan Kidney has to be taking note. Leinster are now guaranteed a home play-off spot and it’s looking increasingly foolish to bet against them doing a Heineken Cup and PRO12 double. Their strength in depth is frightening, with competition in every position.
Edinburgh were close to full strength but looked tired after their Heineken Cup efforts the weekend before. Some of the tries they conceded were soft but Leinster were emphatically deserving of such a scoreline. On Friday, Leinster travel to Ravenhill to take on Ulster. If both sides decide to rest their first-choice players before H-Cup semi-final weekend, Leinster look to be much, much stronger.
Here’s all the scores from the Edinburgh game:
Connacht 26-21 Ulster
Sat 14th April @ The Sportsground
Connacht won an entertaining inter-pro derby thanks to two Miah Nikora penalties in the closing quarter as Ulster’s indiscipline cost them. Following the heroic efforts in beating Munster the weekend before, Brian McLaughlin called on his second-string, many of whom weren’t up to the task. That’s not to take away from a deserving Connacht effort, which featured tries from Nikora, Gavin Duffy and Tiernan O’Halloran (another impressive finish) as well as a commanding Man of the Match performance from George Naoupu.
Ulster remain one place outside the play-off positions after this crucial loss. The Warriors earned a losing bonus point to pull two points clear in 4th, while the Scarlets win in Aironi leaves them a single point behind Ulster. With Leinster’s visit next, then a Heineken Cup semi-final, it’s a testing few weeks for the northern province. Encouragingly, Paddy Jackson gave a promising display at inside centre. Meanwhile, Connacht remain in 10th despite their win. They host Aironi next weekend; a great chance for back-to-back wins.
Here’s the two Ulster tries from the Connacht game:
Munster 35-29 Warriors
Sat 14th April @ Musgrave Park
Munster had to work hard for an important win over fellow play-off hopefuls the Warriors on Saturday evening. Tries from Luke O’Dea, Peter O’Mahony and replacement Conor Murray plus 20 points from the boot of Ian Keatley were enough. Scottish star Stuart Hogg scored a hattrick for the visitors in a display which showed his exciting potential. For Munster, O’Dea’s pace was as impressive as ever while O’Mahony was excellent in all facets of the game to earn Man of the Match.
The Ospreys’ win over the now pitiful Cardiff Blues means that Munster remain 3rd in the table. Next up is a tricky trip to the Scarlets on Saturday, who are also still in contention for the play-offs and also looking for revenge after Munster’s double over them in the Heineken Cup. Tony McGahan will hope to welcome back several players from the long injury list, particularly Paul O’Connell. Next weekend promises to be another exciting round of PRO12 fixtures.
Photos courtesy: Ken Bohane, Ivan O’Riordan.