Leinster, Munster and the Cheetahs all secured Round 7 victories on Saturday in the Guinness PRO14.
After Ulster, Zebre, Scarlets and Ospreys came out successful on a Friday night that was filled with tries and excitement it was the turn of three other sides to feel the joy of victory.
Now, after seven full rounds, Glasgow Warriors and Leinster are sitting on top of the two Guinness PRO14 conferences, but the story of the weekend was Munster’s dramatic comeback win. Here’s a review of Saturday’s matches:
Benetton 3-31 Leinster
Leinster gained revenge for their shock loss to the Italian side at the RDS in April with a bonus-point win in Stadio Monigo. The reigning champions got off to the perfect start with Adam Byrne crossing the line in the fourth minute. James Tracy was then on hand at the end of a line-out maul to add a second, giving the visitors a 12-3 lead at the break.
It was all one-way traffic in the second half, as Andrew Porter, Joe Tomane and a first senior try from Conor O’Brien helped the Irish province to their bonus point. Meanwhile, Ross Byrne was accurate from the tee as he kicked 13 points to give Joe Schmidt food for thought ahead of the November internationals.
Full-time! A brilliant bonus point win in Italy! #BENvLEI pic.twitter.com/8QAWJ9Wn5K
Following last weekend’s defeat in Toulouse, this was a much-needed win for Leo Cullen’s charges who return to the top of Conference B.
Munster 25-24 Glasgow Warriors
Munster recovered from a 24-10 deficit to win by a single point thanks to a late Rory Scannell penalty.
Glasgow came to Limerick looking for a repeat of their home win over the Irish province in September. It was the Thomond Park outfit who got off to the brighter start, as James Cronin touched down after nine minutes, and JJ Hanrahan converted to give the home side a 7-0 lead.
However, the Warriors hit back through a beautiful counter-attack move which George Horne finished off. The scrum-half added another before the break, with elder brother Peter slotting the conversion to give the Scottish side a 12-7 lead at half-time.
Johann van Graan’s side had a mountain to climb after the break as Chris Cloete was shown a yellow card for an off-the-ball incident. Glasgow made full use of their numerical advantage, as Matt Fagerson crossed after a five-metre scrum.
Hanrahan saw a try disallowed by the TMO before Munster were dealt a seemingly-killer blow as the Hornes combined once again. George chipped ahead and Peter fielded and touched down to secure a four-try bonus point. Munster looked dead and buried.
However, from there the game was flipped on its head. Alex Wootton touched down in the left corner and Alby Mathewson muscled over to bring it back to two points. With time all but up, Munster were awarded a penalty which Scannell stood over, holding his nerve to nail it and break Glasgow hearts.
Rory Scannell wins it for Munster with a 55-metre penalty in the last play!!!!! #MUNvGLA #SUAF ? pic.twitter.com/9VeIAZbOpB
Toyota Cheetahs 21-10 Cardiff Blues
Cardiff’s trip to the Toyota Stadium was a toiling affair, as the Cheetahs recorded a resounding victory.
The South African side hit their visitors early through a try from Shaun Venter with Tian Schoeman adding the extra two points.
Speed merchant Rabz Maxwane was then on hand to add two tries, one from each wing, to give his side a commanding 18-point lead at the break as Schoeman was deadly accurate from the tee. Steven Shingler’s penalty was the only score the Blues had to show for their efforts in the first 40 minutes.
The second half was a tight affair, with Cardiff hitting back with a try through Samu Manoa in the 65th minute on his PRO14 debut. Shingler converted to reduce the gap to 11. While the Blues were pushing late on, the Cheetahs put in a sterling defensive effort to hold out for the win.
It's a first win of the season for @CheetahsRugby ✅
They hold on despite a second-half fightback from @cardiff_blues to triumph in Bloemfontein ?#GUINNESSPRO14 #CHEvCBL pic.twitter.com/jAI58yg1hY
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