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Leinster, Ospreys off to winning starts in PRO14


The PRO14 started with win for Leinster and Ospreys on Friday night

Cardiff Blues 32-33 Leinster

Defending champions Leinster got their campaign underway with a nail-biting victory over European Challenge Cup winners Cardiff Blues at Cardiff Arms Park.

The Welsh side looked as if they had a point to prove early on, going 8-0 up in the 11th minute thanks to a Rey Lee-Lo try, which followed on from a Jarrod Evans penalty.

However, Leinster fought their way back, with James Tracy going over for the game’s second try in the 27th minute and penalties from Ross Byrne and Fergus McFadden either side of that putting the champions in front.

Cardiff were not to be intimidated and regained the lead in the 38th minute with a Jason Harries try, which was converted by Evans. A second Ross Byrne penalty meant the hosts went into the break 15-14 ahead.

In the second half, Cardiff Blues picked up where they had left off at the end of the first, with Harries leading the charge. A fantastic run saw him beat Dave Kearney and go in for his second try of the match in the 45th minute.

Seemingly unwilling to let his teammate steal the show, Lee-Lo then grabbed his second try of the night four minutes later, with the conversion taking the score to 29-14.

Bryan Byrne hit back for Leinster in the 53rd minute, taking advantage of a perfectly executed lineout maul to score their second try.

14 minutes later, Jamison Gibson-Park scored a magnificent try, beating two defenders on the inside to put his side back within touching distance.

Cardiff Blues nevertheless looked set to hold on until the dying minutes, when another Bryan Byrne try and a Ross Byrne conversion gave Leinster the narrowest of victories.

The scorers:

For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Lee-Lo 2, Harries 2
Cons: Evans 3
Pens: Evans 2

For Leinster:
Tries: Tracy, B Byrne 2, Gibson-Park
Cons: R Byrne 2
Pens: R Byrne 2, McFadden

Ospreys 17-13 Edinburgh

George North was the star of the show as Ospreys saw off Edinburgh in a low-scoring encounter at the Liberty Stadium to get their season off the ground running.

The match got off to a cagey start, with neither side putting points on the board until Simon Hickey drew first blood for Edinburgh with a 31st minute penalty, which was cancelled out by Luke Price two minutes later.

Hickey put Edinburgh back ahead with another penalty in the 55th minute, but North then went over for the first try of the game four minutes later, leaving two defenders for dead and showing why Ospreys signed him.

North waited only 10 minutes before embarking on a magnificent solo run from around 65 metres out to score his second try, bringing the spectators to their feet.

Although Blair Kinghorn restored some hope for Edinburgh with a 76th minute try, Ospreys ultimately proved too strong.

The scorers:

For Ospreys:
Tries: North 2
Cons: Davies 2
Pen: Price

For Edinburgh:
Try: Kinghorn
Con: Van der Walt
Pens: Hickey 2


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