Winning start for Erasmus in Pro12

Sat, 03 Sep 2016 20:37
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SATURDAY PRO12 WRAP: Rassie Erasmus enjoyed a dream start to life with Munster as the Irish side claimed a 23-13 win away to the Scarlets to kick off their Pro12 campaign in style.

The South African arrived in Limerick this summer and got his first taste of competitive action in West Wales but early on his team found themselves under huge pressure.

However, the Scarlets struggled to convert their chances, whereas first-half tries from James Cronin and Ronan O'Mahony put Munster comfortably clear.

Gareth Davies' fine score brought the Scarlets back into it, but 13 points from the boot of Tyler Bleyendaal ended up being crucial.

In Saturday's other matches, Glasgow Warriors thrashed defending champions Connacht 41-5, while Cardiff beat Edinburgh 34-16.

We take a look at Saturday's matches!

Scarlets 13-23 Munster

The early running was all Scarlets as they regularly found space down the left, and it almost led to a first try after just four minutes.

Steff Evans collected the ball, charged forward and then kicked through, but Simon Zebo got back just in time to dot down for the 22.

The left-hand side was proving particularly threatening for the Scarlets, but while they dominated possession, they were struggling to turn it into points, with new signing Rhys Patchell missing the first kick of the afternoon.

Munster, meanwhile, were much more clinical, and grabbed the game's first try midway through the half, shortly after Zebo had been forced off through injury.

It came on their first incursion into the Scarlets 22, and prop Cronin was the man to emerge from a pile of bodies after a maul rolled inexorably towards the line. Bleyendaal converted from in front to make it 7-0.

The Scarlets responded with Patchell's first points for his new region but on the half-hour Munster were in again.

It was a disappointing score for the home side, who left a huge gap at a ruck and O'Mahony spotted it and raced 25 metres to score. Bleyendaal's conversion made it 17-3.

The home side needed a response, and got one when Davies scored a fine individual try thanks to some quick thinking.

With Munster penalised at a breakdown, everyone switched off, and Davies took full advantage, tapping and going before sprinting down the right.

He then kicked ahead and was first onto the ball, with the TMO confirming the score. Patchell's conversion made it 17-10 at the break.

The Scarlets ten added another three points early in the second half, and the comeback looked to be on with Jonathan Davies coming off the bench for his first game back in Scarlets colours.

Just before the hour Munster stretched the lead back to seven points through the boot of Bleyendaal, and when Lewis Rawlins was penalised at a ruck he added three more to make it a 10-point lead heading into the final quarter-hour.

Scarlets had the chance to at least come away with a losing bonus point, but Patchell's late penalty effort fell short in the rain.

The scorers:

For Scarlets:
Tries: G Davies
Con: Patchell
Pens: Patchell 2

For Munster:
Tries: Cronin, O'Mahony
Cons: Bleyendaal 2
Pens: Bleyendaal 2, Keatley

Teams:

Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams, 14 DTH van der Merwe, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Josh Macleod, 7 John Barclay, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Lewis Rawlins, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Ken Owens (captain), 1 Dylan Evans
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Peter Edwards, 19 David Bulbring, 20 Tadhg Beirne, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Jonathan Davies

Munster: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Darren Sweetnam, 13 Dan Goggin, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Ronan O'Mahony, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 Jack O'Donoghue, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Dave O'Callaghan, 5 Billy Holland (captain), 4 Dave Foley, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 James Cronin
Replacements: 16 Kevin O'Byrne, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Brian Scott, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Donnacha Ryan, 21 Tomás O'Leary, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Cian Bohane.

Referee: Lloyd Linton (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Sam Grove-White (Scotland), Wayne Davies (Wales)
TMO: Jim Yuille (Scotland)

Connacht 5-41 Galsgow Warriors

Last season's Guinness Pro12 champions Connacht suffered a humbling six-try defeat to Glasgow Warriors at the Sportsground.

Wing Tommy Seymour got two with Niyi Adeolokun replying for the hosts as the Warriors, looking to avenge last season's semifinal defeat, took a 13-5 lead into half-time.

And the Warriors were dominant in the second half as man-of-the-match Stuart Hogg, Tim Swinson, Sila Puafisi and Sean Lamont ensured the visitors secured a try bonus point and a win.

Seymour grabbed the first of his two tries in the tenth minute as he stormed down the left wing to open the scoring and Henry Pyrgos made it 8-0 with a successful penalty 15 minutes later.

Warriors' Ryan Wilson was sent to the bin for ten minutes for a late tackle just before the half-hour mark and Adeolokun had the home side back in the match with his eighth Pro12 try.

But Seymour finished brilliant just four minutes before half time as he cut inside from the right wing following Hogg's pass to give the visitors a 13-5 advantage at the break.

In the second half Hogg grabbed the 19th try of his Pro12 career after a clever move from the Warriors backs at a five metre scrum.

Hogg was one of three players in a line directly behind the scrum before scrambling right and ball being fed to Hogg who used his pace and strength to get himself over the line.

Swinson had the Warriors' try bonus point after a short range pick and drive after 52 minutes and another successful conversion from Pyrgos made the score 27-5.

Hogg was once again instrumental in the Warriors fifth being stopped inches from the line before Sila Puafisi picked and drove over the line from close range.

And the Warriors weren't going to be stopped there as Sean Lamont marked his 100th appearance for the 2015 Pro12 champions as he ended a move that started with Ryan Wilson snatching an interception.

It gave the Warriors a 41-5 victory in the clash of the two most recent Pro12 champions, as Glasgow avenged the two defeats they suffered at the Sportsground in May last season.

The scorers:

For Connacht:
Try: Adeolokun

For Glasgow Warriors
Tries: Seymour 2, Hogg, Swinson, Puafisi, Lamont 
Cons: Pyrgos 3, Clegg 
Pen: Pyrgos

Teams:

Connacht: 15 Cian Kelleher, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Caolin Blade, 8 John Muldoon (captain), 7 Nepia Fox-Matamua, 6 Eoin McKeon, 5 Danny Qualter, 4 Ultan Dillane, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 JP Cooney, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 James Connolly, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Shane O’Leary, 23 Peter Robb.

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Tommy Seymour, 10 Peter Horne, 9 Henry Pyrgos (Co-captain), 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Jonny Gray (Co-captain), 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Gordon Reid.
Replacements: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Sila Puafisi, 19 Tjiuee Uanivi, 20 Lewis Wynne, 21 Ali Price, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Sean Lamont.

Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant referees: Sean Brickell (Wales), Eddie Hagan-O'Connell (Ireland)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)

Cardiff Blues 34-16 Edinburgh

Nick Williams proved a smash hit in the opening game of his Cardiff Blues career as the former Ulster No.8 scored the decisive second-half try in a 34-16 victory over Edinburgh.

Williams would have been a sure-fire contender for man of the match without his try after delivering a ball-carrying masterclass.

Tomos Williams followed him over in the latter stages to bag the bonus point, while another new arrival in Steven Shingler crossed over in the first half as part of an impressive 15-point haul.

It was nip and tuck before the break – with Shingler and a penalty try keeping the scoreline in check after Edinburgh signings Duncan Weir and Solomoni Rasolea racked up their points.

Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons opted to start five of his new arrivals – all of them slotting into the backline – and it was new signing Weir who struck first.

The visitors applied early pressure in the scrum and when the Blues were pinged, Weir calmly knocked over the second-minute penalty.

However, opposing flyhalf Shingler also swapped clubs over the break and he gave the crowd a glimpse of what he could do after his neat show-and-go saw him storm over the tryline.

The former Scarlet then knocked over the conversion to hand the Blues a 7-3 lead with seven minutes gone, though he missed a penalty attempt moments later.

Solomons' new signings continued to have the desired impact as this time inside centre Rasolea ran an incisive line to open up the hosts' defence and breeze over.

Weir promptly added the extras and he wound up his boot to smack a superb 50-metre penalty between the posts soon after.

Then Williams, who left Ulster after four years of shuddering carries, carried deep into Edinburgh territory before forcing a penalty that saw Shingler reduce the deficit back to three.

And the home side restored their lead after Shingler kicked a penalty into touch an irrepressible rolling maul yielded a penalty try.

The lead stayed at 17-13 heading into the break after another long-range effort from Weir failed to find the target.

With Wales coach Warren Gatland looking on from the stands, the Blues drew first blood in the second half through another Shingler penalty.

But Edinburgh set up camp in the opposite half until the home side's defence finally gave away to give Weir a successful shot at goal.

It was on the hour mark that a decisive gap finally opened up – Williams the wrecking ball scooped up from the ruck and bundled over from close range following heavy pressure.

Replacement Gareth Anscombe's conversion then left Edinburgh staring up at an 11-point gap with a quarter left to play.

The momentum remained with the hosts and in the 70th minute, the last shred of doubt over the outcome was eliminated when scrumhalf Williams sniped over from the base of a ruck.

Anscombe converted though it was not quite the perfect night for Blues, as they were unable to find the bonus-point try.

The scorers:

For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Shingler, N Williams, T Williams, Penatly Try
Cons: Shingler 2, Anscombe 2
Pens: Shingler 2

For Edinburgh:
Tries: Rasolea
Con: Weir
Pens: Weir 3

Teams:

Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Rey Lee-Lo, 11 Tom James, 10 Steve Shingler, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Ellis Jenkins (captain), 6 Josh Navidi, 5 Macauley Cook, 4 George Earle, 3 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 Kirby Myhill, 1 Rhys Gill
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 James Down, 20 Cam Dolan, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Matthew Morgan

Edinburgh: 15 Glenn Bryce, 14 Rory Scholes, 13 Sasa Tofilau, 12 Solomoni Rasolea, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Nathan Fowles, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Grant Gilchrist (captain), 4 Fraser McKenzie, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Rory Sutherland
Replacements: Stuart McInally, 17 Jack Cosgrove, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Ben Toolis, 20 Magnus Bradbury, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Blair Kinghorn, 23 Chris Dean

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Stuart Gaffikin (Ireland), Rhys Thomas (Wales)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

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Fri, 09 December 2016
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