RaboDirect PRO12
Munster retain top spot with win over Ospreys
ESPN Staff
November 2, 2013

Munster maintained their lead at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 thanks to a 12-6 win over the Ospreys.

Rob Penney's men head into the November international break as league leaders thanks to three penalties from Ian Keatley and a fourth successful kick from replacement JJ Hanrahan. The province forced the issue for most of the opening 40 minutes at Thomond Park, but only led 6-3 at the breaks as Matthew Morgan replied to two early kicks from Keatley.

With Ireland and Wales preparing for their autumn Tests, the Celtic rivals were without a huge number of their internationals and the quality was lacking for much of this tryless encounter. Keatley and Hanrahan moved Munster into a 12-3 lead by the 68th minute, but Morgan secured a losing bonus point for the Welsh region with an injury-time penalty.

Duncan Weir slotted 14 points as Glasgow Warriors overcame Connacht 19-12 in Galway.

The Scottish side kept their error count low and took most of their scoring chances, with Duncan Weir kicking 14 points from five successful attempts on goal. Canadian winger DTH van der Merwe scored an early try to celebrate the birth of his daughter Nola Grace this week, with Weir's accurate kicking boosting Glasgow's lead to 13-3 by half-time.

Dan Parks and Weir swapped penalties in the third quarter before Parks' replacement Craig Ronaldson landed a brace of kicks during a promising Connacht spell. But the league's bottom side struggled to get their attack going and had flanker Mata Fifita sin-binned for a late tackle, leaving Weir to sew up the result for Glasgow.

A second-half try from prop Sam Hobbs proved to be decisive for Cardiff Blues as they held off Benetton Treviso to record their third win of the RaboDirect Pro12 season.

With head coach Phil Davies making ten changes from the side which lost 39-21 to Ulster last weekend Cardiff raced into a 10-0 lead thanks to Kristian Dacey's 17th-minute try. But the Italian outfit responded admirably and had forced themselves ahead by half-time thanks to a try of their own from Michele Campagnaro and the boot of Matt Berquist.

But the Blues came out strongly after the break and had to wait just under 15 minutes for their pressure to be rewarded, as Hobbs powered over underneath the posts after full-back Dan Fish was inititally held up. Treviso came back at the hosts but the Blues held strong - holding up a late Josh Navidi effort - to record a valuable and timely victory.

In Saturday's other game, John Barclay's try proved to be the difference for the Scarlets as they battled to an impressive 17-9 win over a depleted Ulster side at Parc y Scarlets. The back row forward powered over on the half hour mark, and a further 12 points from the boots of Steve Shingler and Aled Thomas helped the Scarlets to avenge last season's semi-final defeat in the league play-offs.

Leinster withstood a late onslaught from Newport Gwent Dragons to edge a much-needed 23-19 victory at Rodney Parade on Friday evening.

Leinster fly-half Jimmy Gopperth was on target with three penalties and the conversions of hooker Aaron Dundon and centre Noel Reid's tries, both of which occuring while Dragons lock Adam Jones was in the sin-bin.

For the Dragons, centre Ross Wardle rounded off a screaming move for their only try with the kicking duties shared by wing Tom Prydie and outside-half Jason Tovey. The wing booted a penalty, while Tovey converted the touchdown and added three penalties of his own. The Welsh side were camped on the opposition line in the dying moments but could not get over for the crucial try to win the game.

Edinburgh recorded a second successive win to moves towards the middle of the RaboDirect PRO12 league table.

The hosts seemed to have the control when they established a first half lead thanks to tries by Greig Tonks and Willam Nel - but Zebre hit back to lead at the break. However a third try, from Cornell Du Preez, plus two conversions and two penalties by Harry Leonard gave the Scottish - playing for the second week at home and against Italian opposition - a 25-23 success.

The visitors contributed much to the game and scored two first half tries from Tomasso Iannone and Leonardo Sarto, with stand-off Luciano Orquera converting both and kicking three penalties.

1 Munster 7 6 0 1 163 109 +54 16 6 2 0 26
2 Glasgow 7 6 0 1 113 87 +26 10 3 0 1 25
3 Ospreys 7 4 1 2 198 131 +67 20 9 3 2 23
4 Leinster 7 4 1 2 165 131 +34 15 10 2 2 22
5 Ulster 7 4 0 3 136 98 +38 13 6 2 2 20
6 Scarlets 7 3 1 3 128 126 +2 9 11 0 2 16
7 Dragons 7 3 0 4 126 133 -7 9 12 0 2 14
8 Cardiff Blues 7 3 0 4 148 160 -12 9 15 0 2 14
9 Edinburgh 7 3 0 4 115 178 -63 9 20 0 0 12
10 Benetton Treviso 7 2 0 5 120 141 -21 9 16 0 3 11
11 Zebre 7 1 1 5 130 188 -58 12 18 0 2 8
12 Connacht 7 1 0 6 96 156 -60 8 13 0 2 6

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