Jackson puts Ulster on top

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 21:32
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PRO12 FRIDAY WRAP: Paddy Jackson's spectacular try 20 minutes from time helped Ulster move top of the Pro12 table.

They edged Glasgow Warriors 22-17 in an enthralling contest at Scotstoun on Friday.

* In other Friday matches a Jonathan Sexton-inspired Leinster brought Ospreys' 100 percent record to an end as they completed a bonus-point 31-19 win over the former Pro12 leaders.

* Benetton Treviso banished the demons of last week's heavy defeat to Ospreys to secure their first victory of the their 2016/17 campaign - a 27-11 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons.

We look at all the Friday matches!

BENETTON TREVISO 27-11 NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS

Benetton Treviso banished the demons of last week's heavy defeat to Ospreys to secure their first victory of the Pro12 campaign with a 27-11 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons.

Treviso led the game from start to finish, with Tommaso Benvenuti's score leading the way in a 10-8 half-time advantage, while Filo Paulo and Marco Fuser compounded Dragons to a third defeat of the Pro12 season at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo.

The Dragons fought back at the close of the first half, with lock Rynard Landman crossing but it wasn't enough to stop the Italians securing a second successive victory over Newport on home territory.

It was the Dragons who began the game on the front foot, but a missed Angus O'Brien penalty spurred the hosts into life, rewarded for an incessant period of pressure when Tommaso Allan kicked the first three points on the match.

And Treviso were not done there, piling scrum after scrum onto Kingsley Jones' side, strain which eventually told when Benvenuti crashed over. Allan added the extras for a 10-point advantage.

In need of an immediate response, the Dragons got their wish when O'Brien and fullback Carl Meyer broke from deep, and with the defence not quite able to find their shape, Landman was on hand to halve the deficit to 10-5 with ten minutes until the break.

From there the half belonged to the visitors, with resolute defence on the Treviso five-metre line the sole barrier to scrumhalf Charlie Davies picking up his side's second score of the half.

It seemed as though Kieran Crowley's side would reach the break without further damage, but an impressive leap from Cory Hill saw a defensive line-out stolen, doing enough to earn a penalty which O'Brien kicked for his first points of the evening.

Despite their rearguard action at the close of the first 40 minutes, it was Treviso who came out of the blocks firing, further adding to their tally from their very first chance of the half.

The ball was worked out to the brink of the right touchline, with Paulo the man to cross, a score added to by Allan's conversion from the narrowest of angles to put the Italians more than a score ahead once again.

That advantage prompted the game into a scrappy affair, much to the benefit of Treviso, with the Dragons looking threatening only to fumble at the crucial moment to hand possession back to their opponents.

And despite the Newport pressure, the hosts' lead extended further as Allan made no mistake from right in front of the posts, pushing the difference to 12 points as the game headed to the final quarter.

O'Brien's second penalty of the night kept Jones' side in contention, but desperate defensive intervention was needed just to keep them in the game, first through Matthew Screech before a team effort provided a sigh of relief with a penalty to clear from danger to keep the score at 20-11.

But that only seemed to prolong the inevitable for the Dragons as Treviso ran in a third try on the cusp of the full-time whistle through Fuser, with neither side able to pick up a bonus point from the contest.

The scorers:

For Benetton Treviso:
Tries:
Benvenuti, Paulo, Fuser
Cons: Allan 3
Pens: Allan 2

For Newport Gwent Dragons:
Tries:
Landman
Pens: O'Brien 2

The teams:

Benetton Treviso: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Alberto Sgarbi (captain), 11 Luke McLean, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Giorgio Bronzini, 8 Dean Budd, 7 Marco Lazzaroni, 6 Francesco Minto, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Ornel Gega, 1 Nicola Quaglio.
Replacements: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Cherif Traore, 19 Filippo Gerosa, 20 Abraham Steyn, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Ian McKinley, 23 David Odiete.

Newport Gwent Dragons: 15 Carl Meyer, 14 Ashton Hewitt, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Adam Warren, 11 Hallam Amos (captain), 10 Angus O'Brien, 9 Charlie Davies, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 James Thomas, 5 Rynard Landman, 4 Cory Hill, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 2 Rhys Buckley, 1 Sam Hobbs.
Replacements: 16 Thomas Rhys Thomas, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 Harri Keddie, 21 Luc Jones, 22 Sam Beard, 23 Geraint Rhys Jones.

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher (Ireland), Filippo Bertelli (Italy)

GLASGOW WARRIORS 17-22 ULSTER

Paddy Jackson's spectacular try 20 minutes from time helped Ulster move top of the Pro12 table as they edged Glasgow Warriors 22-17 in an enthralling contest at Scotstoun.

Ulster maintained their 100 per cent record through four games as Jackson decisively finished off a sparkling team move and their defence kept Glasgow's relentless late attacks at bay.

The visitors were on top for the majority of the first half with Darren Cave and a penalty try giving them a 15-7 lead at the break - prop Gordon Reid getting the hosts' lone score.

Finn Russell's penalty and Tommy Seymour's seventh try of the campaign did give Warriors a narrow lead after the break but Jackson's effort ensure just a second Pro12 defeat at Scotstoun for Gregor Townsend's troops since November 2013.

Les Kiss made nine personnel and position changes from the 19-8 win over Scarlets last time out but there was no lack of continuity for Ulster as they dominated the early going.

After setting up camp in the Glasgow 22, Jackson missed a fairly straightforward early penalty but made amends on five minutes as he successfully slotted a long-range three-pointer.

Ulster thought they had scored the game's opening try when Jared Payne crossed the whitewash on eight minutes but the score was ruled out after Iain Henderson dangerously cleared out a ruck in the build-up - the Ireland international earning himself ten minutes in the sin-bin.

But that one-man disadvantage barely slowed the visitors as a magical, jinking break by Charles Piutau on the quarter-hour mark got them into the 22 and the ball was spread wide for Cave to slide over in the corner.

Jackson missed the tough conversion and Glasgow got themselves back in the match as fantastic counter-rucking from the kick-off won them a penalty and they were rewarded for aggressively kicking to the corner when Reid burrowed over from close-range.

Finn Russell - on his 24th birthday - narrowed the gap to 8-7 with the extras and although Ulster remained on top, it took until just before the break for that lead to be extended.

The TMO had ruled out an earlier Rob Herring score as Rodney Ah You was penalised for a blocking line but this time it was the Warriors penalised with Leonardo Sarto's no-hands tackle on Piutau handing the Irishmen a penalty try.

Trailing 15-7 at the break, Glasgow needed to register the first points of the second half and Russell's 47th-minute penalty did just that before a crucial try from the in-form Seymour ten minutes later.

Alex Dunbar made the initial break and a few phases later, Stuart Hogg's sumptuous offload sent Seymour over for his seventh try of the campaign before Russell's touchline conversion gave them a first lead of the day at 17-15.

But a contender for try of the young season from Ulster with a little under 20 minutes remaining proved decisive.

After turning the ball over in their own 22, an incisive break saw Louis Ludik inject some pace before sleek handling got the ball in Jackson's hands and he held off defenders to slide over and add the simple conversion for a 22-17 lead.

The Warriors produced phase after phase in search of a score that would see them get back in the match but the visiting defence held firm to move them top of the Pro12 table.

The scorers:

For Glasgow Warriors:
Tries:
Seymour, Reid
Cons: Russell 2
Pen: Russell

For Ulster:
Tries:
Cave, Penalty try, Jackson
Cons: Jackson 2
Pen: Jackson

Yellow cards: Iain Henderson (Ulster, 8), Leonardo Sarto (Glasgow Warriors, 37)

The teams:

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Tommy Seymour, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Henry Pyrgos (captain), 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Lewis Wynne, 6 Tjiuee Uanivi, 5 Jonny Gray (captain), 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Gordon Reid.
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Alex Allan, 18 Sila Puafisi, 19 Sam Thomson, 20 Matt Fagerson, 21 Ali Price, 22 Nick Grigg, 23 Rory Hughes.

Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Louis Ludik, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Sean Reidy, 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Alan O'Connor, 3 Rodney Ah You, 2 Rob Herring (captain), 1 Andrew Warwick.
Replacements: 16 Rory Best, 17 Callum Black, 18 Ross Kane, 19 Pete Browne, 20 Clive Ross, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Stuart Olding, 23 Rob Lyttle.

Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant referees: Sean Brickell (Wales), Cammy Rudkin (Scotland)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)

LEINSTER 31-19 OSPREYS

A Jonathan Sexton-inspired Leinster brought Ospreys' 100 per cent record to an end as they completed a bonus-point 31-19 win over the former Pro12 leaders.

Alun Wyn Jones' 200th appearance in an Ospreys shirt was almost memorable for a fine comeback, but in the end his side went down by four tries to three.

Josh van der Flier grabbed a try-double while Sexton crossed for one of his own and Leinster were awarded a penalty try, meaning efforts from Ben John, Dafydd Howells and James King, for Ospreys, were in vain.

Making his return to the side following shoulder surgery, Sexton was given a simple chance to put the Boys in Blue ahead in the fifth minute, as the visitors infringed at the breakdown, just to the right of the posts.

And the home side were looking to add to their three-point advantage in the opening ten minutes, going close after Jones lost a line-out, but fine work from Scott Baldwin forced an Ospreys turnover, just five yards from their own try line.

The RDS crowd had to wait another ten minutes before the first try came, but come it did, as van der Flier powered over from three yards to extend Leinster's lead - but only after it was referred to the TMO - with Sexton converting.

Ospreys had their first true chance after 20 minutes, as Josh Matavesi broke clear down the right, but Jeff Hassler was brilliantly tackled by Isa Nacewa as he looked to be closing on the try line.

And the visitors were down to 14 just before the half hour as Dimitri Artip was sent to the bin for a tackle on Nacewa.

And moments later Leinster thought they had scored a second try, but the TMO adjudged there was a knock-on before Luke McGrath picked up and dived over in the left corner.

But they did get the try from the resulting scrum and drive, as the referee awarded a penalty try when Ospreys collapsed the scrum just short of the line, with Sexton adding the extras.

The visitors seemed to be getting a foothold in the game as the first half drew to a close, but they were hit with a sucker punch as Matavesi lost possession in the 40th minute and Leinster broke clear, with Sexton crossing after the Boys in Blue recycled the ball quickly.

And the returning fly-half converted his own try to give the home side a commanding 24-point lead at the break.

Ospreys had opened their season with three bonus-point victories, but it was van der Flier that gave the home side their bonus point, running a diagonal to cross the line after collecting McGrath's pass, with Sexton adding the conversion to make it 31-0 in the 47th minute.

The visitors' evening, up until now, was summed up in the 49th minute as Matavesi broke clear with a sparkling run, selling dummies left and right before passing to Rhys Webb, but the scrum half fumbled with the try line in sight.

But they did get the try their increased presence in the game deserved, as Dan Biggar threw an outrageous behind-the-back pass to set up John for a simple cross in the left corner - Biggar could only hit the post with the conversion attempt, though.

And a second nearly came with 13 minutes to go, but the Ospreys break was brought to a halt inside the Leinster 22.

In the aftermath, Sexton's fine performance was marred by a yellow card for an illegal tackle, and Ospreys capitalised, crossing with eight minutes to go as Biggar set up Howells to touch down in the corner, and the fly-half added the extras to reduce the deficit to 19.

And 19 became 12 with seven minutes remaining as Sam Davies jinked his way through the Leinster defence, before feeding King for a simple finish and handing Biggar an easy conversion.

But the comeback wasn't to be for the visitors, and neither was the bonus point, as they had to settle for three tries, despite nine phases after the 80 minutes were up.

The scorers:

For Leinster:
Tries:
Sexton, Van der Flier 2, Penalty try
Cons: Sexton 4
Pen: Sexton

For Ospreys:
Tries:
John, Howells, King
Cons: Biggar 2

Yellow card: Dimitri Arhip (Ospreys, 26)

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Isa Nacewa (captain), 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Jordi Murphy, 5 Mick Kearney, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Mike Ross, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Dan Leavy, 22 Jamison Gibson-Park, 23 Joey Carbery.

Ospreys: 15 Sam Davies, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Ashley Beck, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Ben John, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Tyler Ardron, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 James King, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Lloyd Ashley, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Ma'afu Fia, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Dan Baker, 21 Tom Habberfield, 22 Dafydd Howells, 23 Dan Evans.

Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: Matteo Liperini (Italy), Stuart Gaffikin (Ireland)
TMO: Carlo Damasco (Italy)

Source: @PRO12rugby

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Team P W D L Pts
Munster 10 8 0 2 37
Leinster 10 8 0 2 37
Ospreys 10 7 0 3 36
Scarlets 10 7 0 3 32
Ulster 9 6 0 3 28
Glasgow Warriors 10 5 0 5 27
Cardiff Blues 10 5 0 5 22
Connacht 9 4 0 5 20
Dragons 10 3 0 7 15
Edinburgh 10 3 0 7 14
Zebre 8 1 0 7 8
Treviso 10 1 0 9 6