Glasgow edge past Connacht
February 9, 2014
Glasgow kept their RaboDirect PRO12 play-off ambitions alive with a narrow 8-6 victory over Connacht on Sunday.
The Scottish outfit were made to work hard for the win by the side currently bottom of the league, who led at 6-5 half-time thanks to a pair of Craig Ronaldson kicks - cancelling out Mark Bennett's try. Glasgow edged back in front early in the second half when Ruaridh Jackson split the posts with a penalty but could not put the game out of sight.
Ronaldson had three chances to steal the win for Connacht at the death but missed each kick in the worsening conditions, leaving them rooted to the bottom of the table.
Leinster kept pace with Munster at the top of the table as they eased to a 31-8 bonus-point win over Zebre in Parma.
Overnight Leinster had slipped to fourth behind Ulster and Ospreys but returned to their original position in resounding fashion as John Cooney, Noel Reid, Zane Kirchner and Darren Hudson went over. Zebre had enjoyed the best start, crossing the whitewash through Dries van Schalkwyk after 15 minutes, though Leinster immediately responded through Cooney.
Leading 10-5 at half-time the Italian side still had a hope but Leinster edged away with the game after the break, with Reid breaking the deadlock, before Kirchner and Hudson completed the rout and earned a valuable bonus point for the visitors.
The clash between Dragons and Edinburgh was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Rodney Parade.
Munster thrashed the Cardiff Blues 54-13 to go seven points clear at the top of the league on Saturday.
The six-try victory came in the wake of Munster head coach Rob Penney announcing his decision to leave the Irish province at the end of the current campaign, and on the same day that Ireland beat Wales in the Six Nations. It proved to be no distraction for his players as they carved open Cardiff in the second half, scoring three tries while Blues replacement prop Patrick Palmer was in the sin bin.
The Welsh region were only 19-13 behind at the break but that run of tries - Simon Zebo and Gerhard van den Heever added to a penalty try - put the hosts in full control. With their bonus point secured, Munster added some late gloss as Andrew Conway and CJ Stander both went over, with out-half JJ Hanrahan brilliantly landing 10 kicks from as many attempts for a 24-point tally.
The Scarlets survived a late fightback to record a 41-33 win over Treviso.
Kirby Myhill set the Scarlets on their way with a try on 25 minutes, before Frazier Climo dotted down either side of half-time to stretch the lead. The boot of Mat Berquist had kept Treviso in sight but Gareth Davies' 46th-minute try, and a string of Aled Thomas penalties, looked to have killed the contest.
Tries from Robert Barbieri, Meyer Swanepoel and Ludovico Nitoglia brought the Italian side right back into it, but Scarlets saw out the win with scores of their own from Kristian Phillips and Jordan Williams.
On Friday evening, Darren Cave's try proved decisive as Ulster beat Ospreys 10-7 to leapfrog the Welsh outfit into third.
Young Matthew Morgan ran the show for Ospreys in the first half as he set up Sam Lewis to go over, giving the visitors a 7-3 lead at half-time. They were unable to turn their possession into a stronger lead and were punished after the break, as Cave found a gap and ghosted clear to touch down four minutes into the second half.
It was the moment of magic which changed the game, as Ruan Pienaar's conversion put them three points in front - a lead they never relinquished.
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