Ospreys and Munster battling for top spot
September 29, 2008
Kiwi winger Doug Howlett scored a late try to propel Munster to victory © Getty Images
The Ospreys sit top of the Celtic League following a comprehensive 42-0 victory over Ulster in the latest round of action, but Irish giants Munster are hot on their heels.
Having shut out fierce rivals and champions Leinster 19-0 on Sunday night thanks to tries from South African back-row Justin Melck and Doug Howlett, Munster sit a point behind the leaders with a game in hand. The Heineken Cup champions have the unerring accuracy of fly-half Ronan O'Gara's line-kicking to thank for their victory, as he continually denied Leinster field position and strangled the attacking instincts of Felipe Contepomi and the Leinster backs.
On Saturday the Ospreys had convincingly beaten a poor Ulster outfit with tries from Shane Williams, Rhys Webb, Lee Byrne and Wales captain Ryan Jones. Their performance left a lot to be desired in terms of accuracy of passing, although their attacking intent and offloading in the tackle was rewarded with a heavy victory.
Cardiff Blues got their season back on track on Friday night with a resounding 50-0 win over a hapless Connacht at the Arms Park. The Blues ran in five tries in nine first half minutes to kill the game off but were guilty of taking their foot off the pedal in the second period. Young wing Leigh Halfpenny, playing at full-back in place of the rested Ben Blair, continued his good early season from with a brace of tries, while Jamie Robinson and Gareth Thomas also got on the score sheet.
Glasgow Warriors roared into life with a bonus-point win over the Scarlets at Firhill. The Warriors were spurred into life by two tries from wing Thom Evans having made a poor start. Nigel Davies' Scarlets side appear to be suffering a dip from their early season form, having been put to the sword by both Scottish provinces in as many weeks.
Andy Robinson's Edinburgh were unable to continue their winning form however, going down 11-9 to a resolute Newport-Gwent Dragons outfit at Rodney Parade on Friday night. A try from Richard Fussell and two Shaun Connor penalties were enough to see off Edinburgh, who again only registered points from the boot of wing Chris Paterson.