Munster move up to third
December 22, 2012
Glasgow celebrate DTH Van der Merwe's try in the 1872 Cup clash © PA Photos
Munster bounced back from their Heineken Cup defeat to Saracens last weekend to secure a narrow 16-12 victory over Connacht in Galway on Saturday.
After losing 19-13 at Vicarage Road last time out, the Munster men ground out an important win at the Sportsground that takes them up to third in the RaboDirect Pro12 table behind Ulster and the Scarlets.
Munster had opened up a 16-6 by the early stages of the second half after being awarded a 37th minute penalty try and gaining 11 points from the boot of fly-half Ian Keatley, which included the conversion and three penalties.
Former Scotland fly-half Dan Parks kicked a penalty and a drop goal in the second half, adding to two from the first half, to put the pressure on the visitors. But Munster held on to claim their seventh win in the league this season.
Ulster bounced back from their first defeat of the season last week to stay well out in front in the Rabo Direct PRO12 with a 27-19 victory over Leinster.
The hosts put their Heineken Cup loss to Northampton behind them to extend their winning run in the competition to 11 successive games. A first-half penalty try was supplemented by second-half scores from Nick Williams and Andrew Trimble in a game which Ulster had to battle hard to triumph and saw them finish with 14 men after Rory Best was yellow-carded late on. Leinster's Fergus McFadden scored a late try for the visitors but it proved to be too little too late.
Elsewhere on Friday evening, a first-quarter blitz saw Glasgow claim a 23-14 derby triumph over Edinburgh at Scotstoun to put the Warriors on course for a fourth successive 1872 Cup win.
Scotland's new interim head coach Scott Johnson watched on for the first of a festive double header which effectively acts as a national trial, but it was a Canadian who made the early impression with DTH van der Merwe scoring two tries, either side of a Robert Harley score, as Glasgow raced into a 17-0 lead. Two Greig Laidlaw penalties and a Piers Francis try reduced the deficit to six points as Edinburgh rallied, but replacement fly-half Duncan Weir kicked two penalties to render a third from Laidlaw irrelevant.
And the Scarlets consolidated second place in the RaboDirect Pro12 table with a seventh consecutive victory over the hapless Blues, who have won only once in the league in their first season back at their Cardiff Arms Park home. The home side eventually fell 9-6 with Rhys Patchell slotting penalties in the 16th and 58th minutes while Aled Thomas knocked over three for the Scarlets after 5, 10 and 40 minutes.
On Saturday Treviso secured a 10-3 victory over Zebre in the Italian derby at the Stadio XXV Aprile. After a scoreless first-half, Treviso took the lead in the 43rd minute with a decisive score from centre Christian Loamanu. Luciano Orquera narrowed the visitor's advantage with a penalty but any hopes of overhauling their rivals were extinguished by Alberto di Bernardo's late penalty, which ensured the victory.
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