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History is Biggar

Sat, 28 Sep 2013 20:29
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Munster bounced back
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Dan Biggar became only the second player to pass 1,000 Pro12 points as Ospreys saw off a Connacht fightback to win 43-26 in a thrilling encounter at The Sportsground.

The Wales flyhalf scored the opening try of the game and ended the match with a personal haul of 18 points.

That saw him become the first Welshman to reach the milestone as Ospreys maintained their unbeaten start to the season.

* In the other match on Saturday Munster bounced back from their shock defeat to Benetton Treviso last weekend with a comfortable 23-9 Pro12 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons at Musgrave Park.

The Irish province had been knocked off the summit of the table after their defeat at Stadio Monigo.

However, they got back on track in a scrappy encounter which saw James Cronin and captain Peter O'Mahoney score vital decisive tries either side of half-time.

We look at Saturday's action!

Connacht 26-43 Ospreys

Dan Biggar became only the second player to pass 1,000 Pro12 points as Ospreys saw off a Connacht fightback to win 43-26 in a thrilling encounter at The Sportsground.

The Wales flyhalf scored the opening try of the game and ended the evening with a personal haul of 18 points, becoming the first Welshman to reach the milestone as Ospreys maintained their unbeaten start to the season.

And fittingly it came against a Connacht side including Dan Parks, the only other player in league history to have broken the four-figure barrier.

Ospreys scored six tries to Connacht's two but were given an almighty scare by the home side in the second half, who were boosted by 12 points from the boot of Craig Ronaldson and at one point came within three points of the Welsh outfit during a frenetic second half.

Ronaldson had given the home side an early lead from the kicking tee but then immediately gave man-of-the-moment Biggar the perfect start to his historic evening with a wayward intercepted pass which the flyhalf returned 40 metres for a sixth-minute try.

The flyhalf converted his try to put the visiting side in the ascendancy and after ten minutes of further pressure Richard Fussell burst through a gap in the Connacht backline to cross again, with Biggar again successful from the kicking tee.

Ronaldson started to make amends for his earlier error as he narrowed the deficit to 14-6 but only Ospreys looked likely to cross again and they did on the half-hour mark.

A flowing move from the visitors was finished off by Wales speedster Eli Walker in the corner, but this time Biggar was unable to split the posts from the conversion.

Ronaldson then added six points with the boot either side of another successful Biggar penalty as Connacht looked for a way back into the game.

Biggar hit the upright with another penalty on the stroke of half-time, leaving Ospreys 22-12 ahead at the interval.

Despite being second best for the opening period Connacht came out strongly after the break and were rewarded on 50 minutes as lock Aly Muldowney put wing Danie Poolman through with a brilliant pass.

Dan Parks added the conversion to bring the home side within three points, trailing 22-19.

But the visitors responded immediately as Tito Tebaldi touched down under the posts on the hour following a superb solo effort to register his first try in an Ospreys jersey and give Steve Tandy's side the bonus point.

Biggar added the conversion to re-establish the ten-point lead but scrum-half Kieran Marmion scored again almost instantly, with Park's extra points bringing Connacht back to within three points.

But wing Jeff Hassler removed any doubt as he crossed eight minutes from time, with Biggar's conversion putting him into the history books and Ospreys ten points clear again. .

Two minutes from time Alun Wyn-Jones scored another, with Biggar converting again to secure the win and leave Ospreys joint top with Glasgow at the summit of the table.

The scorers:

For Connacht:
Tries:
Poolman, Griffin
Con: Parks 2
Pens: Ronaldson 4

For Ospreys:
Tries:
Biggar, Fussell, Walker, Tebaldi, Hassler, AW Jones
Cons: Biggar 5
Pen: Biggar

Teams:

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Danie Poolman, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Eoin Griffin, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Craig Ronaldson, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 John Muldoon, 7 Jake Heenan, 6 Andrew Browne, 5 Craig Clarke, 4 Michael Swift (captain), 3 Nathan White, 2 Sean Henry, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 James Rael, 17 Rodney Ah You, 18 Ronan Loughney, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Dan Parks, 23 Fionn Carr.

Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Ben John, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Morgan Allen, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 James King, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 3 Adam Jones, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Duncan Jones.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Tyler Ardron, 20 Joe Bearman, 21 Tom Habberfield, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Jonathan Spratt.

Referee: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Leo Colgan (Ireland), Dave O'Flynn (Ireland)

Munster 23-9 Newport Gwent Dragons

Munster bounced back from their shock defeat to Benetton Treviso last weekend with a comfortable 23-9 Pro12 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons at Musgrave Park.

The Irish province had been knocked off the summit of the table after their defeat at Stadio Monigo but got back on track in a scrappy encounter which saw James Cronin and captain Peter O'Mahoney score vital decisive tries either side of half-time.

The win moves them to within three points of league-leading pair Ospreys and Glasgow Warriors and level with Leinster on 13 points ahead of their clash with the reigning champions at Thormond Park next weekend.

Newport Gwent Dragons were limited to just three penalties from the boot of Italy international Kris Burton as they lost their second successive away match of the season.

The opening 20 minutes was a cagey affair punctuated by handling errors and both teams were limited to a just pair of penalties apiece from Burton and JJ Hanrahan.

At 6-6 the 21-year-old Munster flyhalf missed the opportunity to edge Munster in front on 22 minutes but after some heavy pressure the home side finally made the vital breakthrough as they crossed the whitewash with half-time
approaching.

Some resolute Dragons defence looked like it could keep the scores level until the interval but on 35 minutes prop Cronin eventually powered through a gap to touch down for his second try of the season, with Hanrahan adding the conversion to make the score 13-6 at half-time.

The match did not open up much after the interval as both teams continued to struggle to find a rhythm, but Connacht closed the gap to four points as Burton slotted his third penalty of the evening.

But it was as close as the visitors would come as they decisively lost two players to the sin bin in quick succession on 52 minutes.

First Dragons captain Andrew Coombs went after a TMO replay confirmed an incident of foul play, before Jevon Groves saw yellow just seconds later for dragging down a maul as Munster tried to press home their advantage.

With a two-man numerical advantage Munster went for the jugular and immediately crossed through captain O'Mahony following a neat passage of play, with Hanrahan's successful conversion making the score 20-9 after 52 minutes.

But despite their strength in numbers Munster could only add three more points from a Hanrahan penalty before the Dragons pair returned to the field.

But in a game of few chances it was more than enough, with neither side adding any other points as Munster saw out a comfortable victory.

The scorers:

For Munster:
Tries:
Cronin, O'Mahony
Cons:Hanrahan 2
Pens: Hanrahan 3

For Dragons:
Pens:
Burton 3

Yellow cards: Andrew Coombs (Newport Gwent Dragons, 48), Jevon Groves (Newport Gwent Dragons, 49)

Teams:

Munster: 15 Johne Murphy, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Keith Earls, 12 Ivan Dineen, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 Cathal Sheridan, 8 Paddy Butler, 7 Sean Dougall, 6 Peter O'Mahony (captain), 5 Dave Foley, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 John Ryan, 2 Damien Varley, 1 James Cronin.
Replacements: 16 Mike Sherry, 17 David Kilcoyne, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Paul O'Connell, 20 CJ Stander, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Felix Jones.

Newport Gwent Dragons: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Matthew Pewtner, 13 Ross Wardle, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Tom Prydie, 10 Kris Burton, 9 Jonathan Evans, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Lewis Evans, 6 Jevon Groves, 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Andrew Coombs (captain), 3 Francisco Chaparro, 2 Hugh Gustafson, 1 Phil Price.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Dan Way, 19 Rob Sidoli, 20 Ieuan Jones, 21 Richie Rees, 22 Jason Tovey, 23 Adam Hughes.

Referee: Neil Paterson (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher (Ireland), Gary Glennon (Ireland)
TMO: Jude Quinn (Ireland)

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