Munster end Ulster's run
Ulster failed in their quest to close out the 2012 stage of the Pro12 campaign with their 100 percent record intact.
Ulster failed in their quest to close out the 2012 stage of the Pro12 campaign with their 100 percent record intact.
A strong Munster selection bagged three tries in 20 minutes against a relatively inexperienced visiting XV, to beat the table-topping Ulster outfit 24-10.
Tries from Peter O'Mahony, Simon Zebo and a penalty try helped Munster to the win in front of a near 24,000 crowd.
* In other Saturday action Leinster ended a run of three games without a win with a hard-fought 17-0 victory over Connacht at the RDS.
* Henry Pyrgos' try proved decisive as Glasgow Warriors saw off a late Edinburgh fightback to claim a 21-17 Pro12 victory and take the 1872 Cup.
* And Edoardo Gori and Leonardo Ghiraldini scored either side of half-time as Treviso made it back-to-back wins over Italian rivals Zebre with a 26-18 victory at Stadio di Monigo in the Pro12.
We look at all Saturday's action!
Benetton Treviso 26-18 Zebre
Edoardo Gori and Leonardo Ghiraldini scored either side of half-time as Treviso made it back-to-back wins over Italian rivals Zebre with a 26-18 victory at Stadio di Monigo in the Pro12.
Both sides scored two tries each but Zebre left it too late to make an impact - with Gori putting Treviso in control in the first half before captain Ghiraldini stretched the lead immediately after the break.
Kris Burton also put in an assured performance with the boot, finding the target with two drop goals, two penalties and two conversions as he finished the afternoon with a personal tally of 16.
Late tries from fullback Paolo Buso and Giovanbattista Venditti proved to be nothing more than a consolation as Zebre narrowly missed out on a losing bonus point.
The win makes it three on the bounce in the Pro12 for Treviso, the first time they have accomplished that feat since October 2011.
It also sees them jump back above Cardiff Blues - who had defeated Newport Gwent Dragons on Friday - into seventh position in the league table.
Franco Smith had called on his Treviso side not to make the same mistake as last week, where they had narrowly beaten Zebre 10-3 despite controlling possession throughout.
And it seemed they had heeded his advice in the opening stages as Italy fly-half Burton got them off the mark with a second-minute drop goal.
He doubled the lead with another five minutes later as Treviso looked to make the most of their early control of possession.
But their opponents were not about to let them get out of sight, with Luciano Orquera narrowing the deficit to three with a penalty of his own.
Any chance Zebre had of building some momentum took a hit after 21 minutes later when Italy flanker Mauro Bergamasco was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle.
It was the advantage the home side needed, as Burton knocked over a penalty immediately to restore the six-point lead.
Despite being down to 14-men Orquera had the chance to narrow the gap once again on 25 minutes, but the fly-half missed his effort.
It would prove to be a costly miss as Treviso responded instantly, with wing Gori crossing to stretch out the lead for the home side.
The Veneto outfit recycled the ball well and when they eventually went wide Gori was able to exploit a gap to score - and Burton made no mistake with the extra points to make the score 16-3.
With Bergamasco - whose time in the sin-bin had seen Zebre ship ten points - ready to return it seemed there would be another twist, as Treviso hooker Ghiraldini saw yellow for a dangerous tackle on Buso.
Zebre were not able to use the numerical advantage in the same way their opponents were able to, however, and during Ghiraldini's time on the sidelines they were limited to just a solitary penalty from Gonzalo Garcia.
On the stroke of half-time it was Burton who had the final say, dispatching his second penalty of the afternoon after persistent Zebre indiscipline at the breakdown to give the home side a 19-6 lead at the interval.
And the home side wasted no time after the restart, with captain Ghiraldini making amends for his earlier spell in the sin bin with a rare try just one minute into the half.
Burton was once again on target with the conversion to make it 26-6.
The visitors were not about to let Treviso run away with the encounter and full-back Buso kept them in with a shout when he crossed just before the hour mark - though Alberto Chillon missed the conversion, leaving the score 26-11.
Replacement Venditti crossed for a second Zebre try with one minute remaining but, despite Tito Tebaldi's successful conversion, it was not enough to earn a bonus point.
For Benetton Treviso:
Tries: Ghiraldini, Gori
Cons: Burton 2
Pens: Burton 2
DGs: Burton 2
Tries: Buso, Venditti
Pens: Orquera, Garcia
Yellow cards: Mauro Bergamasco (Zebre, 21), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Benetton Treviso, 30)
Benetton Treviso: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Christian Loamanu, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Edoardo Gori, 10 Kristopher Burton, 9 Tobias Botes, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Paul Derbyshire, 5 Valerio Bernabò, 4 Francesco Minto, 3 Jacobus Roux, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (captain), 1 Matteo Muccignat.
Replacements: 16 Enrico Ceccato, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Lorenzo Cittadini, 19 Corniel van Zyl, 20 Dean Budd, 21 Simone Favaro, 22 Fabio Semenzato, 23 Alberto Di Bernardo.
Zebre: 15 Paolo Buso, 14 Giovanbattista Venditti, 13 Sinoti Sinoti, 12 Gonzalo Garcia (captain), 11 Leonardo Sartom, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Alberto Chillon, 8 Andries van Schalkwyk, 7 Mauro Bergamasco, 6 Nicola Cattina, 5 Michael van Vuuren, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Luca Redolfini, 2 Davide Giazzon, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Andrea Manici, 17 Salvatore Perugini, 18 David Ryan, 19 Emiliano Caffini, 20 Filippo Cristiano, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Alberto Benettin, 23 David Odiete.
Referee: Matteo Liperini (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Alan Falzone, Andrea Spadoni (both Italy)
TMO: Carlo Damasco (Italy)
Edinburgh 17-21 Glasgow Warriors
Henry Pyrgos' try proved decisive as Glasgow Warriors saw off a late Edinburgh fightback to claim a 21-17 Pro12 victory and take the 1872 Cup.
Michael Bradley's men went down 14-23 at Scotstoun last weekend and needed to win by at least ten points at Murrayfield to claim the trophy.
Sean Maitland went over for his first Warriors try early on with Edinburgh hitting soon after through Greig Laidlaw's penalty.
Laidlaw missed his next penalty before Ruaridh Jackson intercepted and burst forward to cross with two Pete Horne penalties making it 16-3 at the break.
Soon after the break DTH van der Merwe saw his potential try ruled out by the TMO with his foot in touch but Pyrgos was ruled to have touched down in the 55th minute.
Tries from Roddy Grant and Tim Visser, with Laidlaw converting both, got Edinburgh back in it but the Warriors held on for a 44-31 aggregate victory.
Glasgow opened the scoring in the seventh minute with some composed work by Jackson who picked out Maitland to touch down.
Pete Horne slid his conversion wide before Edinburgh hit back in the ninth minute through a Laidlaw penalty.
Horne then found himself in the sin-bin just before the quarter-hour mark for a tackle off the ball and Edinburgh failed to capitalise with Laidlaw missing a 22nd-minute penalty.
And just before the half-hour mark the Warriors made Edinburgh pay with Jackson intercepting Piers Francis' pass to burst clear and run through for a try but Horne's conversion from a tight angle went wide of the post.
Three minutes before the break Horne made no mistake with his penalty to put the Warriors 13-3 up and when Edinburgh were penalised at the breakdown on the stroke of half-time Horne kept his nerve again.
Soon after the interval, Van der Merwe appeared to go over in the corner after good work by Maitland but the TMO ruled he had a foot in touch.
The TMO was called on again in the 55th minute when the ball came out of the scrum and Pyrgos pounced on it to touch down but this time it was ruled good.
Horne missed his conversion again and just before the hour Laidlaw dinked the ball over the top with Matt Scott carrying and offloading to Grant to score, with Laidlaw converting to make it 21-10.
Minutes later Stuart Hogg spilled what looked to be a certain score for the Warriors over the line.
Visser then crossed to make himself the joint top scorer in the Pro12 of all time with Laidlaw converting with five minutes remaining to make the scores 21-17 and ensure a tight finish, but the Warriors saw it out.
Tries: Grant, Visser
Cons: Laidlaw 2
For Glasgow Warriors:
Tries: Maitland, Jackson, Pyrgos
Pens: Horne 2
Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Matt Scott, 12 James King, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 8 Netani Talei, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 David Denton, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Andy Titterrell, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Steven Lawrie, 17 Robin Hislop, 18 Lewis Niven, 19 Perry Parker, 20 Dimitri Basilaia, 21 Richie Rees, 22 Ben Atiga, 23 Sep Visser.
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Sean Lamont, 12 Peter Horne, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Rob Harley, 6 Josh Strauss, 5 Al Kellock (Captain), 4 Tom Ryder, 3 Moray Low, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 German Araoz, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 James Eddie, 21 Niko Matawalu, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Graeme Morrison.
Referee: Neil Paterson (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Andy Macpherson, Adrian Graves (both Scotland)
TMO: Jim Yuille (Scotland)
Munster 24-10 Ulster
Munster inflicted a first league defeat of the season on Pro12 leaders Ulster with a convincing 24-10 victory at Thomond Park.
The home side were in control throughout, restricting their Irish rivals to a handful of chances and outscoring them by three tries to one.
Flyhalf Ian Keatley got Munster off to the perfect start with a penalty after just two minutes as rain made running rugby difficult for both sides.
It took nearly 20 minutes for a much-changed Ulster outfit to make their first incursion into the Munster 22, but Niall O'Connor was able to level the scores with the boot as he knocked over his second penalty attempt to make it 3-3.
Munster were in the ascendancy, however, and with half an hour gone they forced a series of scrums on the Ulster five-metre line, with referee Alain Rolland blowing for a penalty try that Keatley converted to give his side a 10-3 lead.
Six minutes before the break Ulster scrum-half Paul Marshall was shown the yellow card for infringing at the ruck and although they made it to half-time without conceding any further points, his absence was to prove crucial.
With Marshall still off the field Munster winger Simon Zebo came off his flank and broke through a huge gap in midfield to touch down unchallenged near the posts.
Keatley added the extras and at 17-3 Ulster were staring defeat in the face, and their task wasn't made any easier on 49 minutes when Munster added their third try of the game.
With Ulster forced deeper and deeper into their 22, Irish international back row Peter O'Mahony powered off from close range to put the result out of doubt. Keatley's unerring boot made short work of the conversion and with the scoreline 24-3 led to both sides ringing the changes.
Despite their best efforts Ulster were unable to force their way back into the game until the final minute when replacement Alistair Birch grabbed his first senior try for the club.
The 24-year-old back row finished off a scintillating Ulster move that saw the visitors break down the right where the restored Marshall flicked the ball inside to Robbie Diack whose pass found Birch on his shoulder to dive over the line.
Replacement Stuart Olding added the extras to give the scoreline a respectable feel, but league leaders Ulster finally gave up their 100 per cent record in this year's Pro12.
Tries: Penalty try, Zebo, O'Mahony
Cons: Keatley 3
Yellow card: Paul Marshall (Ulster, 35)
Munster: 15 Denis Hurley, 14 Doug Howlett (captain), 13 Casey Laulala, 12 James Downey, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Paddy Butler, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 5 Billy Holland, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Damien Varley, 1 Wian du Preez.
Replacements: 16 Mike Sherry, 17 Marcus Horan, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Dave O'Callaghan, 20 James Coughlan, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Ronan O'Gara, 23 Felix Jones.
Ulster: 15 Adam D'Arcy, 14 Chris Cochrane, 13 Mike Allen, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Niall O'Connor, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Mike McComish, 6 Robbie Diack, 5 Neil McComb, 4 Lewis Stevenson, 3 Adam Macklin, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Callum Black.
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Ricky Lutton, 18 Tom Court, 19 Alan O'Connor, 20 Ali Birch, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 Stuart Olding, 23 Ricky Andrew.
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Dudley Phillips, Sean Gallagher (both Ireland)
TMO: Kevin Beggs (Ireland)
Leinster 17-0 Connacht
Leinster ended a run of three games without a win with a hard-fought 17-0 victory over Connacht in the Pro12 at the RDS.
Despite the one-sided nature of the scoreline the European champions were made to work hard for the win, with Ian Madigan and Jack McGrath's tries late in either half proving decisive.
Madigan added a further seven points with the boot as Leinster prevented Connacht from scoring - avenging the 6-34 defeat to their Irish rivals in September.
The win moves Leinster, who came into the match off the back of a 27-19 reverse to league-leaders Ulster and two European Cup defeats to Clermont, above Ospreys into fifth in the standings.
Connacht started strongly and made life difficult for Joe Schmidt's side, but in the end lacked the clinical edge they needed and fell to a fourth Pro12 defeat on the bounce.
The visiting side had the better of the opening exchanges as they looked to replicate September's win and Danie Poolman could have scored a try had the ball bounced more favourably for him following an early kick ahead from Dan Parks.
The former Scotland flyhalf then had the chance to put the side ahead after a good 15 minutes of pressure but he knocked his penalty wide to the left of the posts.
All the pressure was coming from the men in green but they were unable to make it show on the scoreboard, and slowly the European champions came into the game as the half progressed.
Eoin Griffin then broke through the Leinster backline but was brought down short of the line as Connacht looked to get the decisive opening score.
Spurred on by an increasingly vocal home crowd Leinster started to take control of the match, with Ireland wing Fergus McFadden almost going all the way with a break through a gap in the Connacht backline.
And it is the home side who take the lead, Madigan taking a quick tap-and-go penalty and going over in what was Leinster's first foray into the visitors' 22 on 33 minutes.
After the TMO confirmed the try Madigan added the extras to put the home side 7-0 up - a lead they failed to increase before half-time despite some heavy pressure before the interval.
Despite trailing Connacht started the second half as they had the first, working through the phases and putting Schmidt's men under pressure - with the influential Parks almost releasing full-back Robbie Henshaw down the right flank.
But once again Leinster started to apply the pressure and, after Ben Marshall claimed lineout ball on the 22 they won a penalty in front of the posts after Connacht were penalised for not rolling away.
And fly-half Madigan dispatched the penalty with ease from 25 metres to give the home side a 10-0 lead.
The visiting side looked to be running out of chances to get back into the game and spurned a golden opportunity on 65 minutes after a superb Parks kick gave them a lineout deep inside Leinster's 22.
George Naoupu claimed it and the ball ended up in the hands of replacement prop Brett Wilkinson, but he fumbled the ball just a metre from the try line when he looked certain to cross.
And Leinster ensured it was a costly knock-on, crossing the whitewash to seal the win with their next attack after laying siege to Connacht's try line.
After Jordi Murphy was held up the European champions regained possession and eventually replacement prop McGrath crashed over, with Madigan adding a simple conversion to make it 17-0 with seven minutes to play.
Tries: Madigan, McGrath
Cons: Madigan 2
Leinster: 15 Andrew Conway, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Brendan Macken, 12 Andrew Goodman, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jordi Murphy, 7 Shane Jennings (captain), 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Ben Marshall, 3 Michael Bent, 2 Aaron Dundon, 1 Heinke van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Mike Ross, 19 Leo Cullen, 20 Dominic Ryan, 21 John Cooney, 22 Noel Reid, 23 Adam Byrne.
Connacht: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Danie Poolman, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 Johnny O'Connor, 6 Andrew Browne, 5 George Naoupu, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Nathan White (captain), 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Brett Wilkinson, 18 Ronan Loughney, 19 Mick Kearney, 20 Eoghan Grace, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Matthew Jarvis, 23 Tiernan O'Halloran.
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Leo Colgan, Mark Patton (both Ireland)
TMO: Jude Quinn (Ireland)