RaboDirect PRO12 - Round 17
Glasgow beat Blues to go top
March 2, 2013
Duncan Weir was on target for Glasgow with three conversions and a penalty as Glasgow went top © PA Photos
Munster 13 - 13 Ospreys Connacht 23 - 19 Zebre Glasgow 29 - 13 Cardiff Blues Scarlets 14 - 13 Edinburgh Ulster 29 - 29 Benetton Treviso Dragons 19 - 26 Leinster
Glasgow went top of the RaboDirect PRO12 with a 29-13 victory over Cardiff Blues at Scotstoun Stadium on Friday night.
Three tries in eight second-half minutes were enough for home side to take advantage of Ulster's draw with Treviso and climb to the top of the table. Nikola Matawalu's double, along with a try each for Peter Horne and Duncan Weir, who also chipped in with nine points from the boot, were enough for the Warriors after a slow first half. It was their seventh win in a row and fifth successive five-pointer to claim a new league record surpassing the one set by the Dragons in 2004. The bonus-point win puts them equal with Ulster on 61 points at the top of the league and with the better points difference they claim top spot.
At Ravenhill, Ulster had to settle for a share of the spoils in a 29-29 draw against Treviso, which means Mark Anscombe's men have won just one of their last four games. A hat-trick of tries from flanker Dean Budd, a single score from Robert Barbieri and a penalty and three conversions from Alberto Di Bernardo earned Treviso the draw, which also saw them register a try bonus only five days after putting Munster to the sword in Italy.
Though they avoided defeat, thanks to tries from Andrew Trimble and Stuart Olding and 19 valuable points from Paddy Jackson, Ulster's slump in form has done considerable damage to their push for a home semi-final. After leading 20-10 early in the second half, the home side let their lead slip - and their cause was hardly helped by having Iain Henderson and Lewis Stevenson sent to the sin-bin in the first and second halves respectively. The Italian side sealed the draw in the last move of the game, which could have been a second successive Ravenhill win for them had Di Bernardo landed the difficult conversion.
Leinster consolidated their place in the play-off zone with a bonus point 26-19 win against struggling Newport Gwent Dragons. The European champions ran in four tries at Rodney Parade, two each for Sean Cronin and Dave Kearney, to record their eighth consecutive victory. Leinster were bolstered by the presence of fullback Luke Fitzgerald, scrum-half Eoin Reddan, hooker Cronin and lock Devin Toner, who five days earlier had been on Six Nations bench duty for Ireland against Scotland. It meant they were far too strong for the Dragons, who had won four of their last five matches in all competitions but never looked like derailing Leinster's play-off push.
Munster and Ospreys matched each other point for point as they drew 13-13 at Thormond Park. Ronan O'Gara opened the scoring with a penalty four minutes in, but Matthew Morgan brought the Welsh level with a penalty of his own. Morgan added a second, but O'Gara drew Munster level just before half-time. In the second half hooker Damien Varley scored the first try, which O'Gara converted, but Osprey's No.8 Jonathan Thomas powered over and Morgan hit the conversion to ensure the match ended with honours even.
Scarlets climbed back into the play-off places after securing an unconvincing 14-13 victory over struggling Edinburgh at Parc y Scarlets. Andy Fenby scored an early try for the hosts, but they then surrendered an 8-0 lead as Dougie Fife hit back with a try and Harry Leonard weighed in with a conversion and two penalties. Eventually Scarlets' fly-half Aled Thomas kicked a penalty and then his replacement Owen Williams kicked another 13 minutes from time which was enough to condemn Edinburgh to an 11 straight defeat in all competitions.
Connacht's Dan Parks kicked a late drop goal and penalty to guide his side to a battling 23-9win over Zebre at the Sportsground. Eoin McKeon's first try for the province had Connacht ahead within two minutes, and Gavin Duffy also touched down for a 14-3 lead, but only a point separated the sides at the break, with Paolo Buso kicking his second penalty and converting Leonardo Sarto's 31st-minute try. Parks and Buso swapped penalties before a 71st-minute penalty from Gonzalo Garcia had the Italians within touching distance of their first victory. However, despite being below par, Connacht showed their resilience as Parks' right boot ensured they finished on top at the end of a competitive encounter.
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