Stander double as Munster reach seventh heaven
Munster’s Irish internationals dominated proceedings against Zebre in a seven-try showing to continue their winning streak on home soil as Peter O’Mahony made his long-awaited return from injury.
In the highest scoring game of the round, Conor Murray, CJ Stander, Simon Zebo, as well as Darren Sweetnam, all scored a try apiece in the first half to seal the bonus point before the break.
It was much the same after the interval as Stephen Archer and a penalty try further extended Munster’s lead, with the Italians pulling back one of their own with nine minutes remaining through Gabriele di Giulio.
But Stander crossed the line once more with two minutes left on the clock to seal a 49-5 victory to make it six wins from six in all competitions for Munster at Thomond Park and ensure they remain hot on the heels of Ulster at the top of the Guinness PRO12 table.
Sexton delivers masterclass from the tee
A Jonathan Sexton-inspired Leinster came from behind to win 16-13 as Cardiff Blues fell to their first defeat of the Guinness PRO12 season.
The in-form Blues, enjoying their best-ever start to the season, had raced to an early 13-3 lead in much part thanks to Gareth Anscombe at the interval despite Sexton giving the visitors the lead from the tee on 19 minutes.
Anscombe brought the Blues level with a long-range effort minutes later, before breaking away from the Leinster defence to run in the first try of the night, adding the remainder of the Blues’ points before the break.
But Leinster came out from half-time with all guns blazing, Rhys Ruddock going over the line and Sexton kicking a further three to continue the visitors’ unbeaten run against the Blues which dates back to 2011.
Jackson’s boot the difference as Ulster seal late victory
Paddy Jackson ensured Ulster’s unbeaten start remained intact with all the Irish side’s points coming from his boot in an attritional 9-7 affair with Ospreys.
With just two minutes left on the clock, Jackson’s decisive penalty gifted Les Kiss’ side the win, despite the Welsh side having led the encounter from the off at the Kingspan Stadium with a blistering opening quarter performance.
On his 50th appearance in an Ospreys shirt, Nicky Smith scored the only try of the match when he bundled the ball over the line from close range after the visitors had twice opened up the hosts’ back-line in the early stages, with Dan Biggar burying the conversion.
But despite Ospreys’ frantic start to the game, Ulster proved an unbreakable force as Jackson kicked three from the tee to ensure their position atop the Guinness PRO12 table.
Warriors survive second-half Dragons comeback
Alex Allan bagged his second-ever PRO12 try as Glasgow Warriors got back to winning ways, despite a battling second-half comeback from Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade.
The Warriors, seeking to avoid losing three successive league games for the first time since the 2010/11 campaign, held a 16-3 advantage at half-time thanks to a Corey Flynn try and the boot of Finn Russell.
The Dragons returned to the pitch with renewed intent, scoring two tries in five minutes through Sam Hobbs and Jack Dixon, but their one-point lead was short-lived as Allan put the visitors back in control.
And Russell put the tie to bed with a late penalty to make it 26-17 as the Warriors sealed their fifth consecutive victory over the Dragons.
Sin bin no issue as Scarlets prevail in Treviso clash
Even a sin bin couldn’t prevent Scarlets sealing a comfortable 22-6 victory in Italy as they scored two tries when down to 14 men on their travels to Benetton Treviso.
In what was the Scarlets’ second win of the week, it was the hosts who got the first points on the board as Tommaso Allan slotted over a penalty, and the Italian international gave Treviso the lead once more after Rhys Patchell had equalised from the tee.
After David Bulbring was shown yellow, Scarlets’ numerical disadvantage didn’t sway them from the task at hand as Werner Kruger crossed over and Patchell added the extras to swing the game back in the favour of the Welsh.
DTH van der Merwe touched down to edge the Scarlets further ahead before Kruger saw yellow with three minutes remaining, but it proved no issue for Wayne Pivac’s men as Steff Evans surged clear of Treviso tackles to seal the hosts’ fate.
Champions Connacht back to winning ways against Edinburgh
Reigning PRO12 champions Connacht look to have finally rediscovered the form that saw them lift the title last season as they put four over Edinburgh’s line for their first victory of the campaign.
First-half scores from Niyi Adeolokun and Quinn Roux sandwiched Edinburgh captain Grant Gilchrist’s effort to ensure the hosts took an 18-10 advantage into the interval, despite Jason Tovey gifting Edinburgh the opening points with a penalty from close range.
But Connacht weren’t prepared to rest on their laurels in front of the Galway faithful as Cian Kelleher crossed over the whitewash five minutes after the second-half whistle for his first try in Connacht colours.
Mike Allen’s 70th-minute try was no more than a consolation for the Scots however, as Peter Robb raced over in the corner to secure Connacht’s bonus point seven minutes from time and seal a 28-15 victory.