Glasgow regain top spot
March 29, 2013
Wing Sean Maitland scored the first of six Glasgow tries as they beat Munster © PA Photos
Benetton Treviso 23 - 23 Connacht Leinster 18 - 22 Ulster Cardiff Blues 16 - 23 Ospreys Dragons 20 - 28 Scarlets Glasgow 51 - 24 Munster Zebre 7 - 9 Edinburgh
Glasgow regained top spot in the RaboDirect PRO12 with a thrilling 51-24 win over Munster on Firday.
They had to dig deep in the first half when a robust Munster side led after 24 minutes and apparently hanging on. However, the home side dug in and in the second half were well on top and they deservedly notched up the bonus point win by running rampant late on.
Munster's first-half tries from Casey Laulala and David Kilcoyne were both converted by Ronan O'Gara, but were countered by interception scores from Sean Maitland and Niko Manawatu. Ruaridh Jackson converted both and kicked two late penalties that ensured Glasgow were ahead at half-time.
There was no stopping Glasgow after the interval with Jackson, Mark Bennett, Stuart Hogg and John Barclay all touching down with the former, who also kicked a penalty, converting the first pair and Duncan Weir the remaining brace.
Doug Howlett then scored Munster's late consolation try that Ian Keatley converted.
Ulster stopped Leinster from returning to first place as they left Dublin with an 18-22 win. It means Ulster move into second place, a point behind Glasgow, with Leinster in third a further two points behind.
Flanker Robbie Diack and substitute Iain Henderson scored either side of half-time, while Springbok Ruan Pienaar added 12 points from penalties. Leinster were unable to find a way through Ulster's well-drilled defence and all they had to show for their efforts were six penalties from Ian Madigan.
The four Welsh regions met at the Millennium Stadium and it was the Scarlets who won the first match. They defeated Newport-Gwent Dragons 28-20 to maintain their push for the play-offs with a hard-fought victory.
Wales wing George North scored two tries and Jonathan Davies grabbed one, while Owen Williams kicked two conversions and three penalties. Half-backs Jonathan Evans and Dan Evans scored tries for the Dragons and fullback Tom Prydie converted both and also landed two penalties.
The Ospreys then had to battle to overcome a determined Cardiff Blues outfit for a victory which consolidated their position in the play-offs and kept alive their hopes of retaining the title.
Cardiff fullback Leigh Halfpenny scored the first try after six minutes, but by half-time scores from Ospreys flanker James King and centre Jonathan Spratt had put the reigning champions in control. Halfpenny kicked two penalties for the Blues in the second half, but a solitary three-pointer from Dan Biggar was enough to keep the Ospreys out of reach.
Scotland star Greig Laidlaw booted Edinburgh to a narrow victory over Zebre in Parma - but it could easily have been a miserable night for the visitors.
With time running out at the Stadio XXV Aprile, Zebre fly-half Luciano Orquera hit the crossbar with a drop-goal attempt, when had the ball landed the right side it would have been a near-certain match-winner.
Zebre remain without a victory in the league, but this was a night when they went particularly close. They scored the game's only try when Dries van Schalkwyk crossed in the first half and led 7-3. Edinburgh cut the gap to a single point at the break, and Laidlaw kicked his third penalty of the contest five minutes into the second half.
That gave Edinburgh a lead they clung to, but it never looked as vulnerable as when Italy fly-half Orquera took aim with three minutes to go and so nearly claimed the spoils.
The match between Treviso and Connacht at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo was called off after bad weather in north-west Italy made the pitch unplayable.
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