Leinster kicked off the PRO14 action with a comfortable bonus-point win over Zebre before Scarlets saw off Glasgow in Llanelli.
Elsewhere, Benetton and the Cheetahs left it late to defeat the Dragons and Cardiff Blues respectively while Munster won at the Kings.
Leinster 41-6 Zebre
Conference B pacesetters Leinster made it triumph number 14 in the PRO14 as they easily dispatched Zebre, winning 41-6 at the RDS.
The Irish side had the match sewn up by the break as they crossed three times, with the second-half all about wrapping up the bonus-point.
James Lowe, Rory O’Loughlin and Max Deegan were the try-scorers in the first period, with Carlo Canna’s penalties making it a 17-6 buffer.
And the fourth try arrived on the hour mark for the hosts in Dublin, as number eight Deegan crossed for his brace to complete the maximum.
Leinster weren’t done there though as Lowe also grabbed a second late on before replacement Vakh Abdaladze and Bryan Byrne also scored.
For Zebre this is their 14th negative of this PRO14 campaign as they remain rooted to the foot of the Conference A table after 18 matches.
Tries: Lowe 2, O’Loughlin, Deegan 2, Abdaladze, B Byrne
Cons: R Byrne 3
Pens: Canna 2
Scarlets 26-8 Glasgow Warriors
Scarlets inflicted only a third PRO14 defeat on Glasgow as they managed to see off the Warriors 26-8 at the Parc y Scarlets on Saturday.
It was a hard-fought victory for the Welsh region, who have stayed in touch with Leinster at the summit of Conference B with this home win.
A low-scoring first-half saw Scarlets go in 8-0 to the good thanks to Rhys Patchell’s try in the 28th minute and a Leigh Halfpenny penalty.
But in the second period they managed to pull clear as Gareth Davies, the boot of Halfpenny and a second Patchell try saw them prevail.
Glasgow, who remain 12 points clear at the Conference A summit, did give themselves a chance of turning things around when scrum-half Henry Pyrgos crossed on 62 minutes to make it 19-8. But they were well beaten in the end as Scarlets claimed a key victory in Llanelli.
Tries: Patchell 2, G Davies
Pens: Halfpenny 3
Benetton 29-27 Dragons
Benetton’s Tito Tebaldi snatched a 29-27 victory for his side at the Stadio Monigo.
A penalty inside two minutes soon produced the perfect start for Benetton. Winning the line-out, Federico Ruzza was driven over the line for a dream opening. The extras from Tommaso Allan gave the Dragons a challenge from the off, though a quick-fire penalty reduced the lead down to 7-3. A second kick, again from Arwel Robson, left Benetton’s lead down at just a solitary point.
A five-minute spell before the half-hour mark gave the Italian side full control though, with two more tries taking the lead to double figures. The first of the two came from Monty Ioane, coming after Tommaso Benvenuti was held up just short. And five minutes later, Allan got the third. The kicker’s two conversion in the half resulted in a hefty 19-6 before the break. And the bonus point was wrapped up right on 40 minutes, Tebaldi going through for the deserved 26-6 lead.
Dragons had something to cheer 10 minutes into the second half when their first try arrived. Rynard Landman provided some hope by cutting the lead in half, but they still looked well short of building any sort of fightback.
The visitors were improving though and cut the gap down to just six with their second try of the night. Jared Rosser found the space to go through with 20 minutes still to play, Robson again making no mistake with the kick. Dragons then completed the shock turnaround with 15 minutes remaining with a third converted try. Connor Edwards shook the hosts with the third Dragons effort, but that jubilation turned to desperation at full-time.
The 81st minute produced Benetton’s pivotal moment with the final kick of the game. The Dragons were penalised as the Italians piled the pressure on and Tebaldi kept his nerve to record the two-point 29-27 win.
Tries: Ruzza, Ioane, Allan, Tebaldi
Cons: Allan 3
Tries: Hill, Rosser, Edwards
Cons: Robson 3
Pens: Robson 2
Cheetahs 29-27 Cardiff Blues
A last-minute penalty try robbed Cardiff Blues as Cheetahs stole a 29-27 win in Bloemfontein.
A quickfire penalty from Gareth Anscombe was soon equalled by the hosts’ Niel Marais in a first half that Cheetahs were to be the better side. Winger Sibhale Maxane found the line following a disjointed line-out from the Blues, Clayton Blommetjies feeding Maxane for 8-3.
Blommetjies soon found himself in the sin-bin after deliberate knock on, with the subsequent penalty from Anscombe reducing the gap back down to a couple of points. Cheetahs didn’t let the lack of men affect them though as they recorded the second try midway through the half. Francois Venter made the most of an attacking position and capitalised on a slip by Alex Cuthbert, Marais making it 15-6.
Cardiff Blues’ half was to get worse when Owen Lane saw yellow for a push, and the Cheetahs took full control of his indiscretion by sending Maxane through for his second of the match.
The Blues recovered quickly after the break and the returning Lane made up for his yellow card with a try. Steve Shingler added two to cut the lead down to 22-13. And things got even more interesting right on the hour with a second try. Willis Halaholo had just saved the Blues from conceding a fourth, and at the other end he played the major role as he cut the gap down to just two points.
And the turnaround was completed with 10 minutes left to play. Cardiff Blues had come out of the second half rejuvenated, and Halaholo combined with Rey Lee-Lo, the latter finding the line and Shingler adding the two for 27-22. Cardiff lost Cuthbert for the final few minutes to a yellow card, and that almost proved pivotal. A late scare from the TMO produced a penalty from close range, but Cheetahs picked up the penalty try right at the death to break Blues’ hearts and secure a 29-27 win.
Tries: Maxwane 2, Venter, Penalty try
Cons: Marais 2
Yellow Card: Blommetjies
For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Lane, Halaholo, Lee-Lo
Cons: Shingler 3
Pens: Anscombe 2
Yellow Cards: Lane, Cuthbert
Southern Kings 22-39 Munster
It was a slow opening but Munster took the lead on 17 minutes, with the always reliable boot of Ian Keatley putting Munster three to the good.
But the Kings were the better side in the first half an hour and a yellow card to Gerbrandt Grobler quickly set the hosts on their way to the first try. The extra man allowed Andisa Ntsila to make the most of space out wide and go over. Masixole Banda added two and was soon preparing for another as Kings got their second try.
Stephan Greeff again capitalised only three minutes after the opening try, 12-3 the advantage on the half hour. A Banda penalty stretched that further but Munster’s first try reduced the arrears.
Niall Scannell went through from short after getting the extra man back, and it was quickly followed by a second. Calvin Nash went on a wonderful solo mission, dummying his way around Kings bodies and cutting the half-time score to 15-13 in the hosts’ favour.
Rejuvenated from the late rally, Munster took charge after the break. Their lead came from CJ Stander eight minutes into the half, and try number four saw Kings blown away. Rory Scannell’a pass sent Dan Goggin through for a deserved 25-15 lead.
Rhys Marshall increases the advantage with the fifth try, for a 32-15 the lead. Kilcoyne made the lead even bigger, with a late consolation from Michael Makasa finishing it at 39-22.
Tries: Ntsila, Greeff, Makase
Cons: Banda 2
Tries: N Scannell, Nash, Stander, Goggin, Marshall, Kilcoyne
Cons: Keatley 3
Yellow Card: Grobler