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Munster move up the ladder

Sat, 19 Apr 2014 19:38
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Munster climbed to second in the Pro12 ladder, as Paddy Butler's second-half try wrapped up a bonus-point 32-23 victory over Connacht.

The title-challengers recovered from falling behind to an early Matt Healy try to cross three times before the break.

* In the other Saturday match Dion Berryman scored his first Pro12 try for Zebre as the Italians recorded their first ever league victory over Scottish opposition with a well-deserved 26-13 win over Edinburgh.

Berryman, on as a replacement, dotted down three minutes from time to round off a strong performance for his side after Edinburgh had briefly threatened after the break.

We look at all Saturday's action!

Connacht 23-32 Munster

Munster climbed to second in the Pro12 ladder, as Paddy Butler's second-half try wrapped up a bonus-point 32-23 victory over Connacht.

The title-challengers recovered from falling behind to an early Matt Healy try to cross three times before the break.

Butler secured the bonus point with a second-half try and despite a late fightback from their hosts, Munster held on for the win.

Connacht had lost their last ten matches against the Irish provinces but took the lead twice in the opening 20 minutes against Munster.

First flyhalf Miah Nikora got the ball rolling after 15 minutes of stalemate by kicking a penalty for the first three points of the match only for Munster to storm back.

Wing Conway scorched over for the opening try and Ian Keatley slotted the extras but on 20 minutes Connacht hit back with a Healy try.

From an attacking scrum Connacht worked towards the red zone and Darragh Leader whipped a fine pass to Healy who did the rest.

However, it proved a false dawn for Connacht as Munster went through the gears to establish a 27-8 half-time lead.

Keatley began the onslaught with two penalties in the space of four minutes before the half-hour and then Munster really hit their stride.

First Gerhard van den Heever intercepted a pass on half-way and blazed his way to the tryline with Keatley adding the extras.

And then a superb chip and chase from Duncan Williams cleared the way for Denis Hurley to grab Munster's third try of the first half.

To Connacht's credit they gave as good as they got after the break with No.8 Eoin McKeon going over on 53 minutes.

Nikora slotted a penalty 10 minutes later to close the gap to 16-27 but that proved to be the signal for Munster to come again.

After setting up camp on the Connacht line, Munster finally got the bonus-point try they were looking for when No.8 Butler fought his way over.

Connacht continued to battle on and their persistence was rewarded with two minutes remaining when Danie Poolman ran in an interception try of his own with Dan Parks converting.

A fourth try that would have brought with it two bonus points proved elusive though as Munster climbed to second spot in the Pro12.

The scorers:

For Connacht:
Tries:
Healy, McKeon, Poolman
Con: Parks
Pens: Nikora 2

For Munster:
Tries:
Hurley, Van den Heever, Conway, Butler
Cons: Keatley 3
Pens: Keatley 2
 
Teams:
 
Connacht: 15 Darragh Leader, 14 Danie Poolman, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Eoin Griffin, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Miah Nikora, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 John Muldoon (captain), 5 Andrew Browne, 4 Mick Kearney, 3 Rodney Ah You, 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 1 Ronan Loughney.
Replacements: 16 Jack Dinneen, 17 Denis Buckley, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 Conor Gilsenan, 21 Frank Murphy, 22 Dan Parks, 23 Dave McSharry.

Munster: 15 Denis Hurley, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Johne Murphy, 12 James Downey, 11 Andrew Conway, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 Paddy Butler, 7 Sean Dougall, 6 CJ Stander, 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 John Ryan, 2 Damien Varley (captain), 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Alan Cotter, 18 BJ Botha, 19 Billy Holland, 20 Tommy O'Donnell, 21 Gerry Hurley, 22 Conor Murray, 23 Ronan O'Mahony.
 
Referee: Marius Mitrea
Assistant teferees: David Wilkinson, Mark Patton
TMO: Marshall Kilgore (IRFU)
 
Zebre 26-13 Edinburgh

Dion Berryman scored his first Pro12 try for Zebre as the Italians recorded their first ever league victory over Scottish opposition with a well-deserved 26-13 win over Edinburgh.

Berryman, on as a replacement, dotted down three minutes from time to round off a strong performance for his side after Edinburgh had briefly threatened after the break.

Trailing 6-14 at the break - Giovanbattista Venditti scoring Zebre's first-half try - Matt Scott touched down for Edinburgh, with Jack Cuthbert's conversion taking the visitors to within a point.

But the Italians replied almost immediately, Filippo Cristiano adding a second try before Berryman added the third late on for what turned out to be a comfortable win.

Edinburgh had lost on their last two visits to Italy, but got off to the perfect start, snatching possession from the kick-off before Carl Bezuidenhout sent over a penalty for his side's first points of the afternoon.

Zebre came back immediately, getting close to their opponents' line before Samuela Vunisa knocked on, but with play taken back for an earlier Edinburgh infringement, Luciano Orquera levelled the scores.

Both sides were looking to attack but with the Zebre defence holding firm, Bezuidenhout went for a drop-goal attempt, but it was charged down by Dries Van Schalkwyk with Orquera knocking on when looking to break clear.

But there was no let off for Edinburgh on 16 minutes as a series of missed tackles saw the Italians make ground down the blindside before Venditti crashed over in the far corner, Orquera hitting the post with his conversion.

Despite a period of Edinburgh possession in Zebre's half, it was the Italians who added to their tally on 28 minutes as Gonzalo Garcia's long-range penalty tumbled over for 11-3 before Bezuidenhout missed with his own attempt for Edinburgh.

But the South African made amends on 31 minutes with his second penalty of the match for 11-6.

With the half-time break almost approaching, Scott put in a big hit on Garcia on the halfway line but after coming off his feet when trying to steal the ball, Garcia took the opportunity to add another three points for 14-6.

The interval seemed to galvanise the visitors however and they were back to within a point after five minutes as they pushed forward into their opponents 22, Tim Visser broke the line before feeding Scott for his third try in three games.

Cuthbert was successful with the conversion and while seeing his 48th-minute penalty drift wide, the Scottish outfit looked much improved.

But they were dealt a blow just minutes later as Zebre came again, Orquera's cute offload finding Quintin Geldenhuys who rammed his way towards the line, before Cristiano picked up the ball to cross. Orquera missed the conversion to leave the scores at 19-13.

Edinburgh saw Roddy Grant forced off injured on 57 minutes to be replaced by Sam Beard as the frantic early second-half action calmed somewhat.

And while the try line appeared temporarily out of reach for both sides, Edinburgh had a chance to reduce the difference from distance but Cuthbert failed to find the target from close to the halfway line.

Trailing by six with 10 minutes to go, David Denton found himself in space for Edinburgh, but as had been the case of several occasions during the match, his offload failed to safely find the hands of his teammates.

And Zebre made the points safe three minutes from time, as Garcia claimed the ball from the line-out before feeding in replacement Berryman to cross under the posts, Orquera with the conversion to round off a successful day.

The scorers:

For Zebre:
Tries:
Venditti, Cristiano, Berryman
Con: Orquera
Pens: Garcia 2, Orquera

For Edinburgh:
Try:
Scott
Con: Bezuidenhout
Pens: Bezuidenhout 2

Teams:
 
Zebre: 15 David Odiete, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Tommaso Iannone, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Andries van Schalkwyk, 6 Filippo Cristiano, 5 George Biagi, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys (captain), 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Davide Giazzoni, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D'Apice, 17 Andrea De Marchi, 18 Dave Ryan, 19 Michael van Vuuren, 20 Filippo Ferrarini, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Kameli Ratuvou, 23 Dion Berryman.

Edinburgh: 15 Jack Cuthbert, 14 Tom Brown, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Carl Bezuidenhout, 9 Sean Kennedy, 8 Dave Denton, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 Mike Coman (captain), 5 Ollie Atkins, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Wicus Blaauw.
Replacements: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Alex Toolis, 20 Cornell Du Preez, 21 Grayson Hart, 22 Harry Leonard, 23 Sam Beard.
 
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon
Assistant referees: Matteo Liperini, Andrea Spadoni
TMO: Carlo Damasco

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