Blues' win marred by red cards
April 20, 2014
Mark Bennett reaches out to touch down for Glasgow in their win over Ulster © Twitter
The Blues saw off the Scarlets 17-13 in the all-Welsh double-header at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday.
An entertaining match was marred by two red cards in the second-half with Robin Copeland and Liam Williams both issued their marching orders. Copeland's straight red was for a stamp on the head of Williams and Williams was shown a second yellow for killing the ball. He was sin-binned in the first-half for catching Cuthbert in mid-air, a tackle reminiscent of Jared Payne's in the Heineken Cup quarter-final and perhaps deserving of a more severe sanction.
It was the Blues who started the better of the two regions when Cuthbert bundled over after just four minutes. Gareth Davies slotted the conversion and an extra penalty before Jake Ball's offload saw Rhys Priestland cross for the Scarlets. Priestland missed an easy conversion but slotted a penalty just before halftime but the scoreboard was not troubled again until the 71st minute when Ken Owens crossed after good pressure from the Scarlets. Despite the Scarlets' best efforts, they could not take the lead and a late Davies penalty saw the Blues home.
A late penalty try helped the Ospreys to a 20-10 victory over the Dragons at the Millennium Stadium.
With the scores locked at 0-0 at half-time, despite frequent Ospreys pressure on the Dragons' line, it was the Dragons who started the second-half the better with Richie Rees darting over after 46 minutes. But the Ospreys soon got some points on the board through Dan Biggar's boot and only had to wait eight more minutes for their first try with Tom Habberfield going over in the 61st minute. Biggar and Tom Prydie traded penalties meaning the Ospreys had a three-point lead heading into the final exchanges of the match but a penalty try saw the Ospreys end up with a comfortable 10-point cushion.
Munster got a bonus-point 32-23 win over Connacht in Galway on Saturday evening.
Munster are now up to second in the table after a try-filled match against their Irish rivals. Munster managed to storm into the break 27-8 to the good thanks to tries from Andrew Conway, Gerhard van der Heever and Denis Hurley with Ian Keatley slotting 12 points. Connacht battled hard throughout and got their first try of three in the 20th minute through Matt Healy.
In the second 40 Connacht started the better of the two sides with Eoin McKeon scoring but despite a valiant attempt to get back in the match, Patrick Butler's 72nd minute for Munster secured the bonus point and the win. Danie Poolman crossed late on for Connacht but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation effort.
Edinburgh's European Rugby Champions Cup hopes suffered a major blow as they suffered a surprise 26-13 defeat to Zebre in Italy.
The Scots need to overtake Scarlets and finish in the top six of the RaboDirect PRO12 to qualify for next season's top-tier competition, but missed the chance to make up ground and trail the Welsh region by 10 points with just three games remaining. Zebre crossed for three tries through Giovanbattista Venditti, Filippo Cristiano and Kameli Ratuvou while Matt Scott scored for Edinburgh.
On Friday, Leinster notched nine tries in the Dublin sunshine as they recorded their biggest win of the season against Benetton Treviso. The RaboDirect PRO12 leaders, who are now nine points clear and destined for a home semi-final, put their recent defeats to Toulon and the Ospreys behind them with an emphatic 62-7 triumph. They had the bonus point in the bag after little over 25 minutes thanks to tries from Jordi Murphy, Sean Cronin, Cian Healy and Zane Kirchner.
The second-from-bottom Italian outfit responded with a penalty try for a 29-7 interval deficit, with Leinster's sloppiness punished by yellow cards for Isaac Boss and Jack McGrath. But they thoroughly dominated the final quarter as Dominic Ryan and Noel Reid added further tries, captain Jamie Heaslip and Luke McGrath both scored while Angelo Esposito was in the sin-bin and Reid finished off the rout in injury time.
An outstanding performance from Glasgow Warriors took their unbeaten run to five matches as they beat Ulster 27-9. Ulster appeared to have taken hold of the game with three penalties by Paddy Jackson in the middle of the first half but he had an important miss in the 31st minute and Glasgow closed the half with a fine try from Sean Maitland. The conversion by Finn Russell added to his earlier penalty allowing Glasgow to go in leading 10-9 and they dominated the second half, scoring tries through Tommy Seymour and man of the match Mark Bennett, with Russell converting both and adding a penalty.
Glasgow can now look forward to an exciting end to the regular season as they seek a top-two finish, with a previously-postponed home game against Edinburgh next Saturday followed by Treviso away and Zebre back at Scotstoun.
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