Connacht 33-20 Scarlets
Scarlets remain winless on the road after four rounds of the PRO14 after they went down to Connacht in Galway.
Three Connacht tries coupled with the boot of Jack Carty meant the 2016 champions defeated the side who dethroned them in 2017.
Centre Tom Farrell crossed within four minutes to give the home side the lead after Bundee Aki had broken the defensive line, Carty kicking the extra two. Leigh Halfpenny responded with two penalties for the visitors; sandwiched in between a three pointer for Carty to make it 10-6 with a quarter of the contest gone.
Cian Kelleher dotted down on 25 minutes after some patient play to push the score out to 17-6 although Scarlets wing Johnny McNicholl cut the deficit shortly after when he crossed the whitewash.
Carty closed the opening 40 with his second penalty of the contest making it 20-13 at the break. He scored the first six points of second-half when he kicked two penalties in the space of seven minutes to give the home side a 13-point lead with 10 minutes remaining.
A routine win then appeared anything but when the Scarlets crossed for their second try on 71 minutes courtesy of Tom Prydie, the winger’s score converted by Rhys Patchell.
The renewed contest was intriguing for a little over three minutes before Connacht replacement Niyi Adeolokun was released following a turnover and burst clear, the try and conversion making it 33-20 to seal the Irish side’s victory
Tries: Farrell, Kelleher, Adeolokun
Cons: Carty 3
Pens: Carty 4
Tries: McNicholl, Prydie
Cons: Halfpenny, Patchell
Pens: Halfpenny 2
Dragons 16-5 Zebre
The Dragons secured their second win of the season with fly-half Arwel Robson laying the foundation for the hosts in a rain drenched Newport.
The home side had already tasted defeat at home to Italian opposition when Benetton came to Wales and left victorious in Round One. The Dragons levelled the score this time though and dominated proceedings from early on.
The Dragons fly-half notched the game’s opening eight points when he kicked a penalty after four minutes and then crossed for a try, back-row Ollie Griffiths throwing an excellent pass to send the fly-half over but the conversion failed. Mattia Bellini’s try midway through the first period enabled the Italians to stay in touch.
Dafydd Howells’ try on 40 minutes owed much to his forwards hard work and sent the hosts in 13-5 up. Full-back Jordan Williams assumed kicking duties in the opening minutes of the second 40 and his penalty pushed the gap out to 11 points.
Williams’ three points remained the only score of the second period. Replacement Brandon Nansen was sent to the sin-bin midway through the second period but Zebre failed to capitalise on their numerical advantage and the Welsh side doubled their win count for the season.
Tries: Robson, Howells
Pens: Robson, Williams
Yellow Card: Nansen
Leinster 31-7 Edinburgh
Leinster rolled out their A-list stars in Dublin on Saturday with predictable consequences against Edinburgh.
The European champions securing a bonus-point win after a dominant performance that had James Lowe and Jordan Larmour central to their excellence.
Fergus McFadden scored the game’s opening try after a charge down from Devin Toner’s lengthy frame had earned the home side possession. Johnny Sexton, appearing in a rare domestic game, kicked his first conversion of the night.
New Zealander Lowe scored Leinster’s second try as the half-time whistle approached, the former Chiefs man finishing off an excellent team score that featured both half-backs and Larmour before crossing in the corner.
The Irish province were in danger of running away with the contest but Magnus Bradbury’s try on 44 minutes brought the Scottish outfit back into the contest. Duhan van der Merwe made the initial break but was hauled down by Larmour. Edinburgh recycled and powered over.
That try seemed to spark Leinster into action, the Edinburgh resurgence looking brief as Josh van der Flier drew his man and sent Lowe up the left channel to score what he thought was his second before a forward pass ruled it out. The third score did follow four minutes later when Sexton, working on the wrap around, found Larmour and he stepped inside a couple of defenders to finish. Sexton added his second conversion.
The Irish fly-half scored the bonus-point score himself down the blindside after the Edinburgh defence bought his dummy.
The visitors’ night was made worse when, with 10 minutes remaining, they were reduced to 14 men. Replacement Pierre Schoeman was deemed to have led with his elbow whilst carrying into contact and was sent-off.
With the game in its closing stages Leinster ended the night with their fifth try to cap a five star performance, centre Garry Ringrose crossing the whitewash after an effective counter attack.
Tries: McFadden, Lowe, Larmour, Sexton, Ringrose
Cons: Sexton 3
Con: Van der Walt
Red Card: Schoeman
Ospreys 27-10 Benetton Rugby
Ospreys bounced back from last week’s mauling at Munster to score their third victory from the opening four rounds with a 27-10 win at home to Benetton.
Benetton’s eagerness at the breakdown saw them penalised for going off their feet and Sam Davies kicked the game’s opening points 12 minutes in. His opposite number Antonio Rizzi levelled the score at three each 10 minutes later.
Dan Evans scored the first try of the evening after half an hour when Joe Thomas’ offload allowed him the space to dot down, the centre finding a gap in the Italian defence following an Ospreys line-out before sending the full-back over.
The Ospreys led 10-7 at the break and had an early second-half try chalked off by the TMO for a knock-on. Captain Justin Tipuric soon made sure of the hosts’ second try though when he made a break at halfway, kicking ahead with the support of George North the flanker regathered and scored.
The Ospreys skipper was sent to the sin-bin shortly after his try for collapsing the maul and his side were soon made to pay. Tipuric’s opposing number Abraham Steyn scored for the Italians with replacement Ian McKinley adding the extras.
Davies kicked his second penalty of the night with the Ospreys still a man down to limit the damage caused by the sin-binning. The hosts led 20-10.
With 10 minutes remaining fly-half Davies put any danger of a late Italian rally to bed as he ghosted over. A simple show and go allowed him to wrong foot the Benetton defence and waltz over.
Tries: Evans, Tipuric, S Davies
Cons: S Davies 3
Pens: S Davies 2
Yellow Card: Tipuric
For Benetton Rugby:
Yellow Card: Sperandio