It was four wins from four for the Irish provinces on return to PRO14 action this weekend. Munster and Ulster got the weekend off to a good start on Friday night as they both won while keeping their opposition scoreless. However, that’s where to similarities ended. Munster ran in seven tries in Cork as they routed the Kings. Meanwhile it was a far more attritional game over in Wales as the half-time score of 0-0 might suggest. It was Ulster’s Stuart McCloskey who got the games only try, and a late John Cooney penalty denied the Ospreys the consilation of a losing bonus point.
On Saturday Lenister blitzed Zebre with a three try salvo in the opening twenty minutes as they raced into a 0-21 lead. However, they took their foot of the gas somewhat and let the hosts back into the game in the second quarter as Zebre fought back to within two points at the break. Leinster came out with renewed purpose in the second half and outscored their host by three tries to one aftee the break to win comfortably in the end.
Connacht played against the elements in a tough first half in Galway, and the Cheetahs tore into them in the first quarter. The South African side led 3-12 after 20 minutes as the hosts looked rusty after their two-week rest. A Tom Farrell try brought Connacht back to within two by the break and when Tom McCartney scored their second try on 46mins it looked good for the hosts. However a Shaun Venter breakaway try levelled the game up on the hour mark. Connacht dug deep and a Jack Carty penalty followed by a Jarrad Butler try ensured the win for Andy Friend’s side.
Munster and Leinster remain top of their respective Conferences, Ulster jump above Scarlets into fourth in Conference B, and Connacht also benefited from the Ulster result as they climbed above Ospreys into third spot in Conference A.