Leinster move clear after win over Munster
March 29, 2014
Brian O'Driscoll scored the only try of another full-blooded inter-provincial derby as Leinster pushed five points clear of Munster at the top following a 22-18 win. O'Driscoll has made a habit of scoring in this fixture - he struck twice against Munster last season and was also the match winner here at the Aviva Stadium in 2010. The Irish provinces' latest duel was initially going Munster's way until Leinster turned things around, with Shane Jennings putting O'Driscoll over for the decisive 57th-minute try while Munster prop David Kilcoyne was in the sin-bin. Ian Keatley's fifth and sixth penalties of an unblemished night with the boot set up a frantic finish at 19-18, but a 79th-minute kick from Ian Madigan made certain of the home win.
Cardiff Blues ended a run of five successive defeats in the RaboDirect Pro12 and handed Ulster a first loss in 2014 after winning a nail-biting encounter 28-23 at the Arms Park. It was a splendid way for the home fans to celebrate the recovery of former Wales international hooker Matthew Rees, who came off the bench for his first appearance after five months of treatment for testicular cancer. The faultless kicking of fly-half Gareth Davies contributed 23 points to a team display that will have heartened acting coaches Paul John and Dale McIntosh after a disastrous season.
Treviso fought back to claim a 20-16 victory over Edinburgh at Stadio Comunale di Monigo. A Tobias Botes penalty were Treviso's only points in the first period as the visitors left the field leading 9-3 thanks to three scores from the boot of Carl Bezuidenhout. Both sides crossed the whitewash in the second half, though, with Cornell du Preez scoring a last-minute Bezuidenhout-converted try to claim a losing bonus point for Edinburgh after Treviso hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini and Sale-bound prop Alberto de Marchi had both gone over for the hosts. Botes slotted both of Treviso's conversions and struck another penalty for a personal haul of 10 points.
Newport Gwent Dragons left it late to snatch a 25-25 draw with bottom club Zebre, a 77th-minute solo try by substitute Jevon Groves sparing their blushes. He charged through a gap at a ruck 25 metres out and broke the defence to score. Jason Tovey slotted a difficult conversion to ensure the Dragons did not leave the Stadio XXV Aprile empty handed.
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