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Ulster's returning Lions make a mark

Fri, 27 Sep 2013 21:33
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O'Driscoll put in a classy performance

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Tommy Bowe and Rory Best marked their return to Pro12 action by scoring tries as Ulster saw off Benetton Treviso 32-13 at Ravenhill.

The Ireland internationals were making their first appearances since helping the British & Irish Lions to a series win against Australia, with both going over for second-half tries as Ulster made it back-to-back victories.

* In other Friday matches Byron McGuigan's first tries of the season helped Glasgow Warriors maintain their 100 percent start to the new Pro12 season, bringing Zebre back down to earth in the process with a 24-17 victory.

* Brian O'Driscoll put in a classy performance on his Pro12 return to lead Leinster to a 34-20 victory over an out-of-form Cardiff Blues side.

* British & Irish Lion Jonathan Davies ran in a second-half try as Scarlets cruised to just their second Pro12 win in six games, seeing off Edinburgh 22-9.

We look at all Friday's matches!

Edinburgh 9-22 Scarlets

British & Irish Lion Jonathan Davies ran in a second-half try as Scarlets cruised to just their second Pro12 win in six games, seeing off Edinburgh 22-9.

Nick Reynolds, Davies and Jordan Williams touched down to see Scarlets home, as Rhys Priestland added seven points with his boot.

Harry Leonard's three penalties were Edinburgh's only scores, as the Scottish side suffered just their second defeat at Murrayfield since February.

A cagey opening quarter of an hour saw Leonard and Priestland trade kicks deep into each other's halves but neither side could create a decent opening.

Scarlets looked most likely to make a breakthrough after 19 minutes as they shipped it wide, but Sam Hidalgo-Clyne skipped across to make a saving tackle and got to his feet quickly to win a penalty and relieve the pressure.

The Welsh side were reduced to ten men after 23 minutes when lock Jake Ball was punished for going into the breakdown off his feet.

Edinburgh looked to capitalise immediately but a sharp break from Jack Cuthbert was halted by a knock-on and a Scarlets scrum on their own 22.

Edinburgh finally broke the deadlock after 29 minutes when a patient spell from the hosts led to Scarlets conceding a penalty on the 22, which Leonard dispatched.

However the Welshmen drew level three minutes later as Priestland's missed drop goal was called back for a penalty after Edinburgh failed to release - the fly-half duly converted the penalty.

Scarlets survived the numerical disadvantage and grabbed the game's first try immediately after, spinning wide to Reynolds to cross over on 35 minutes, before Priestland added the touchline conversion for a seven-point lead.

The Edinburgh pack earned a penalty on the stroke of half-time and Leonard sent the long-rage effort through the posts to leave them trailing 10-6 at the break.

Leonard added another three points just two minutes into the second half after John Barclay conceded a penalty, for which he was sent to the sin bin.

Scarlets re-asserted their dominance after 46 minutes, despite being a man down, when Jordan Williams collected a box kick and sped around a crowd of players to score in the corner - but Priestland missed the conversion.

But the fly-half missed the opportunity to extend the lead on 58 minutes - Scarlets sacked a driving Edinburgh maul and earned a penalty but Priestland narrowly missed.

WP Nel was sent to the sin bin after 65 minutes, after one too many infringements in the scrum, to make life difficult for the hosts.

Scarlets threatened to extend their lead on 69 minutes but a knock-on at the five-metre line prevented them from capitalising on the man advantage.

But they eventually made it count eight minutes from time, when Lee Jones won a foot race to collect a through-ball but the ball came off his fingertips and Davies collected to score, with Priestland adding the two points.

Cuthbert made a late break for the hosts but he was halted by Scarlets, who held on for the victory.

The scorers:

For Edinburgh:
Pens:
Leonard 3

For Scarlets:
Tries:
Reynolds, J William, J Davies
Cons: Priestland 2
Pen: Priestland

Yellow cards: Jake Ball (Scarlets, 23), John Barclay (Scarlets, 41), WP Nel (Edinburgh, 64), Rob Evans (Scarlets, 79)

Teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Greg Tonks, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Ben Atiga, 11 Jack Cuthbert, 10 Harry Leonard, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 8 David Denton, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 Dimitri Basilaia, 5 Izak Van der Westhuizen, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Ross Ford (captain), 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Wicus Blaauw, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Sean Cox, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Sean Kennedy, 22 Joaquin Dominguez, 23 Michael Tait.

Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Nick Reynolds, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Jordan Williams, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Rhodri Williams, 8 Rob McCusker (captain), 7 John Barclay, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 John Snyman, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Emyr Phillips, 1 Phil John.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 George Earle, 20 Sione Timani, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Aled Thomas, 23 Gareth Maule.

Referee: David Wilkinson (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Peter Allan (Scotland), Adrian Graves (Scotland)

Leinster 34-20 Cardiff Blues

Brian O'Driscoll put in a classy performance on his Pro12 return to lead Leinster to a 34-20 victory over an out-of-form Cardiff Blues side.

Tries for Sean Cronin, Dominic Ryan and Ian Madigan, complemented by 12 points from Madigan's boot, were enough to prevent Cardiff from ending a seven-match winless run at Leinster.

Alex Cuthbert and Cory Allen scored for the Welsh side, as Leigh Halfpenny added a conversion and two penalties, but the fell short.

Cardiff made the brighter start but Leigh Halfpenny missed the chance to put them ahead after just three minutes, sending a 40-metre penalty underneath the posts.

But the British & Irish Lions full-back made amends three minutes later - Leinster's ill-discipline handed him a second penalty, at the 22, and he put the Blues ahead.

Cardiff almost added a try soon after when a break by Rhys Patchell left Owen Williams in some space but his inside pass did not come off and the chance disappeared.

The hosts struck back to take the lead after 13 minutes, when O'Driscoll took the ball to the line and offloaded smartly to Cronin to cross over, and Madigan added the conversion.

O'Driscoll continued to cause problems as Leinster probed for another try but the Cardiff defence held the hosts at bay and the hosts settled for a pair of quickfire penalties.

Madigan kicked both with ease, the first from just outside the 22 after as many minutes and the second just three minutes later to hand Leinster a ten-point lead.

Cardiff pressed shortly after and earned a five-metre scrum but the hosts couldn't break a resilient Leinster back line to score.

Halfpenny's boot reduced the deficit just before the half-hour mark after the Blues were awarded a penalty on the 22.

Much of the remainder of the first period was played between the sides' 22s as a shared lack of ingenuity prevented either from building consistent pressure.

O'Driscoll broke once again three minutes before the break and the ball ended up with Rob Kearney, who almost crossed over in the corner - but the full-back was pushed into touch, leaving Leinster 13-6 up at the break.

The second half began as an even affair but Cardiff were reduced to 14 men on 47 minutes when Filo Paulo conceded a penalty and was sent to the sin bin.

Leinster's pack was already dominant and the numerical advantage was too much for the visitors, whose constant infringing in the scrum was punished with a penalty try just two minutes later - Madigan added the two points.

On 53 minutes Cuthbert took the ball standing still at the halfway line and, after a strong hand-off on Rob Kearney, he streaked away to score a try, which Halfpenny converted.

Leinster almost struck back immediately when Fergus McFadden's effort was sent upstairs to the TMO, who adjudged the winger to have knocked on as he crossed over.

Cardiff looked set to break away for another try shortly after the hour mark but a forward pass from Cuthbert, after taking the contact, prevented Harry Robinson from scoring.

And Leinster punished the mistake on 67 minutes, after a driving lineout took the visitors back to their own five metre-line and Ryan grabbed the try, which Madigan duly converted.

Leinster sealed the win five minutes from time when Madigan grabbed a try of his own, running up the inside to touch down, and converted it himself.

Substitute Cory Allen pulled one back for the Blues, intercepting a loose pass and heading for the posts and Patchell added the conversion.

The scorers:

For Leinster:
Tries:
Cronin, Penalty try, Ryan, Madigan
Cons: Madigan 4
Pens: Madigan 2

For Cardiff Blues:
Tries:
Cuthbert, Allen
Cons: Halfpenny, Patchell
Pens: Halfpenny 2

Yellow card: Filo Paulo (Cardiff Blues, 47)

Teams:

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jamie Heaslip (captain), 7 Dominic Ryan, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Quinn Roux, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Martin Moore, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Mike Ross, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 John Cooney, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Brendan Macken.

Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Owen Williams, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Andries Pretorius, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Lou Reed, 3 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 Matthew Rees (captain), 1 Sam Hobbs.
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 James Down, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Cory Allen.

Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: Mark Patton (Ireland), Barrie O'Connell (Ireland)
TMO: Alan Rogan (Ireland)

Ulster 32-13 Treviso

Tommy Bowe and Rory Best marked their return to Pro12 action by scoring tries as Ulster saw off Benetton Treviso 32-13 at Ravenhill.

The Ireland internationals were making their first appearances since helping the British & Irish Lions to a series win against Australia in the summer, with both going over for second-half tries as Ulster made it back-to-back victories.

Bowe and Best, who captained the side, were two of eleven Ireland internationals named in Ulster's starting XV, including Craig Gilroy who made his first start of the season having returned as a half-time replacement during last week's 18-7 win over Connacht in Galway.

Treviso meanwhile, kept faith with the same starting line-up that defeated Munster 29-19 last time out - their first win of the season having started with back-to-back defeats.

It took the Ulstermen just two minutes to threaten as Mike Allen went over in the corner but television match official Marshall Kilgore ruled that his foot was out of play before he touched down.

Undeterred, the hosts continued to pile on the early pressure, and it was Best taking charge in a rolling maul to that ended with the TMO again employed, but once more no try was given.

With just over ten minutes gone Ulster got the first points on the board as their early spell of pressure ended with a penalty converted by Paddy Jackson.

But for all Ulster's early dominance, Treviso were back level following their first foray into the home side's half, as Mat Berquist confidently dispatched the visitors' first penalty of the game, having scored 19 points in a man of the match display against Munster last week.

In the 22nd minute Ulster went over for the third time when Jackson released Jared Payne to power through a couple of challenges before finding fellow centre Luke Marshall who ran clear to touch down.

As on the previous two occasions Ulster went over referee Ian Davies called for TMO assistance to determine whether Payne's pass to Marshall had been forward, with replays suggesting a marginal call that went in favour of the hosts for a lead that became 10-3 as Jackson added the extras.

Ulster's second try came in the 29th minute through Allen. Gilroy made the initial break free of the Treviso defence before Jackson moved the ball into the visiting 22. Play was recycled from right to left with Best and Chris Henry showing quick hands to eventually release Allen for an easy finish, though Jackson was unable to convert from out wide.

Gradually the visitors began to assert their attacking play on the game in a bid to quieten a vociferous home support in Belfast, but they were unable to claw any points back before the break with Ulster going into the interval 15-3 ahead.

The Italians though were immediately on the ascendancy at the start of the second-half and replacement fly-half Alberto di Bernardo reduced the arrears to 15-6 with a penalty just in front of the posts.

But the setback served only to spark Ulster into life, and in particular their returning Lions.

Firstly Bowe collected a cross-field kick in the 52nd minute to settle any home nerves and push his side 20-6 ahead, with Jackson missing the conversion.

And then just past the hour mark Marshall weaved his way past two challenges, taking a big hit as he released the ball to Dan Tuohy who played it back inside for Best to charge over to ensure a bonus point, though Jackson was again off target.

Lewis Stevenson was sent to the sin bin for the hosts in the 65th minute and with ten minutes remaining the visitors, who had worked hard throughout the second half, were rewarded with a try as Italian international Robert Barbieri took fellow replacement Fabio Semenzato's inside pass five metres out and muscled his way over the try-line, di Bernardo converting to reduce the score to 25-13.

But Allen ensured Ulster had the final say with his second try of the night in the final minute after collecting Bowe's pass in the 22 and bursting into the corner, Jackson finding his range to confirm the victory in style.

The scorers:

For Ulster:
Tries:
L Marshall, Allen 2, Bowe, Best
Cons: Jackson 2
Pen: Jackson

For Treviso:
Try:
Barbieri
Con: di Bernardo
Pens: Berquist, di Bernardo

Yellow card: Lewis Stevenson (Ulster, 65)

Teams:

Ulster: 15 Craig Gilroy, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Michael Allen, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Robbie Diack, 5 D Tuohy, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Ricky Lutton, 2 Rory Best (captain), 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Callum Black, 18 Bronson Ross, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Nick Williams, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 James McKinney, 23 Darren Cave.

Treviso: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Christian Loamanu, 10 Mat Berquist, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Manoa Vosawai, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Simone Favaro, 5 Marco Fuser, 4 Antonio Pavanello (captain), 3 Alberto De Marchi, 2 Enrico Ceccato, 1 Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16 Giovanni Maistri, 17 Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet, 18 Pedro Di Santo, 19 Valerio Bernabò, 20 Dean Budd, 21 Robert Barbieri, 22 Fabio Semenzato, 23 Alberto Di Bernardo.

Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant referees: Kieran Barry (Ireland), Brian Macneice (Ireland)
TMO: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)

Zebre 17-24 Glasgow Warriors

Byron McGuigan's first tries of the season helped Glasgow Warriors maintain their 100 per cent start to the new Pro12 season, bringing Zebre back down to earth in the process with a 24-17 victory.

Despite travelling to Stadio XXV Aprille as the only side left with a perfect record after three games, Glasgow did so wary of the challenge they faced after their hosts picked up their first-ever Pro12 win against Cardiff Blues last time out.

But after a tense opening first quarter the visiting Warriors were able to take a foothold in the game and went into the interval six points clear thanks to McGuigan's first try of the campaign.

Immediately after the break hooker Dougie Hall marked his first start of the season with a try before McGuigan grabbed his second as Glasgow took control.

However when Jonny Gray saw yellow with ten minutes left Zebre came fighting back with tries from Samuela Vunisa and Leonardo Sarto, but it was too little too late.

There was a tense opening ten minutes to this clash in Italy, epitomised when Luciano Orquera failed to collect a routine ball that was kicked his way and conceding the knock on, although Zebre earned themselves a penalty from the resulting scrum.

And the fans had to wait until the 23rd minute for the first real try-scoring chance to arrive, although it came for the visitors as Tommy Seymour was held up just short of the line and Alex Dunbar knocked on as he attempting to dot the ball down.

But Glasgow were awarded a penalty for a Zebre offside during the play and Henry Pyrgos got his side on the board with the successful three pointer.

And just three minutes later Glasgow had the first try of the game as Sean Maitland, making his return to action following his time with the British & Irish Lions, released wing McGuigan on the left and he raced over for the score, Pyrgos adding the extras.

On the half hour mark fly-half Orquera kicked Zebre back in the game with a penalty, but just moments later the home side found themselves down to 14 men as prop Salvatore Purugini was shown a yellow card for not releasing.

However Pyrgos failed to make him pay as he missed with the penalty, although Orquera missed the chance to cut Zebre's deficit on the stroke of half-time as he too missed a kick at the uprights and Glasgow found themselves 10-3 ahead at the break.

If the Warriors had failed to make the most of their man advantage in the first half they didn't have to wait long to do so after the restart as Hall touched down after just a minute following a fine break from Seymour. Pyrgos knocked over the tough conversion on the left touchline for a 17-3 lead.

Zebre were not lying down however and were camped on the Glasgow tryline on 50 minutes but the visiting defence held firm.

And on 57 minutes McGuigan was able to celebrate his second try of the night as he once again teamed up with Maitland, this time the Lions winner sending a grubber kick through for the wing to pick up and touch down, Pyrgos again converting.

Zebre thought they had got themselves back in the game on 69 minutes when Gray was sent to the bin and Tommaso D'Apice thought he had burrowed over only for the television match official to rule the grounding as inconclusive.

But the home side did grab a try just moments later when No.8 Vunisa barged his way over, Orquera converting - the first score conceded by Glasgow this Pro12 season.

And the Warriors continued to feel Gray's absence as on 76 minutes Zebre broke from deep and Vunisa sent wing Sarto over, Orquera adding the extras to bring his side to within seven points.

The scorers:

For Zebre:
Tries:
Vunisa, Sarto
Cons: Orquera 2
Pen: Orquera

For Glasgow:
Tries:
McGuigan 2, Hall
Cons: Pyrgos 3
Pen: Pyrgos

Yellow cards: Salvatore Perugini (Zebre, 33), Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors, 70)

Teams:

Zebre: 15 Ruggero Trevisan, 14 David Odiete, 13 Kameli Ratuvou, 12 Matteo Pratichetti, 11 Leonardo Sarto, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Andries van Schalkwyk, 6 Mauro Bergamasco, 5 Marco Bortolami (captain), 4 George Biagi, 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Andrea Manici, 1 Salvatore Perugini.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D'Apice, 17 Matias Aguero, 18 Carlo Fazzari, 19 Emiliano Caffini, 20 Filippo Cristiano, 21 Alberto Chillon, 22 Tommaso Ioannone, 23 Giovanbattista Venditti.

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Gabriel Ascarte, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 James Eddie, 5 Al Kellock (captain), 4 Robert Harley, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Gordon Reid.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Moray Low, 19 Jonny Gray, 20 Tyrone Holmes, 21 Richie Vernon, 22 Niko Matawalu, 23 Scott Wight.

Referee: Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Matteo Liperini (Italy), Fabrizio Bertelli (Italy)
TMO: Alan Falzone (Italy)

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