Scarlets end Munster's unbeaten run
PRO12 FRIDAY WRAP: Scarlets produced a scintillating second-half performance to register an unexpected 30-21 win over Munster on Friday.
Munster went into the game without a domestic blemish on their copybook since October – a run of nine games – it looked set that they will continue after a 21-6 lead at the break.
But three rapid-fire tries around the hour mark turned things in Scarlets’ favour, with Munster unable to hit back as they fell to an unexpected loss.
*In other Friday action, Jack Conan's double set the tone as Leinster ran in eight tries to down Newport Gwent Dragons 54-22.
*While Cardiff Blues were forced to dig deep to overturned an eleven point deficit with 20 minutes remaining, but two late scores from Sion Bennett and Lloyd Williams saw the Welsh region come back to record an impressive 18-17 win at Myreside.
We look at the Friday matches!
Edinburgh 17-18 Cardiff Blues
Rory Scholes’ second-half double seemed to have secured a victory for the hosts, who outscored the Blues by three tries to two after Neil Cochrane had crossed at the back of a driving maul in the first half.
But misses from the tee by Sam Hidalgo-Clyne proved costly for Edinburgh, as the boot of Steven Shingler kept them in touch before their late salvo.
It was the visitors who started fastest, enjoying plenty of possession inside the opening five minutes, and they were rewarded with a penalty after Edinburgh failed to roll away at the breakdown.
Shingler made no mistake from the tee and made it 3-0 on six minutes, but the hosts then found their feet with their hands on the ball in the middle of the park and won a penalty on halfway after a high tackle on Damien Hoyland.
They won the resulting lineout and drove towards the Cardiff line, and it was only resolute Blues defending that kept them at bay.
But another penalty and lineout later and, after Cardiff prop, Anton Peikrishvili was shown a yellow card for side entry at the contact, Edinburgh had the opening score as skipper Cochrane dove over from the driving maul.
Hidalgo-Clyne added the extras, but the hosts ill-discipline cost them again just moments later as Shingler landed his second kickable penalty of the evening after Edinburgh were pinged for a side entry in a maul.
On 23 minutes Edinburgh were awarded a penalty for another Cardiff ruck infringement, but after pointing to the posts Hidalgo-Clyne’s effort fell short.
Cardiff were reduced to 14 men for a second time in the game when lock Jarrad Hoeta was shown a yellow just before the half-hour mark, but Edinburgh could not take advantage and trouble the scorers again before the interval.
Their best opportunity came when Blair Kinghorn slipped a perfectly-weighted grubber through the defence, but Mike Allen could not quite collect and it finished 7-6 at the break.
Edinburgh began the second period far better than they did the first, with Chris Dean making a good break before Cornell Du Preez dove through a ruck to make a tackle and force a knock-on.
And from the resulting scrum came an incredible individual score from Scholes, who raced up the touchline to score in the corner.
Hidalgo-Clyne’s conversion attempt sailed wide of the mark, but the scrum-half made amends moments later to find Scholes again on the blindside, and the winger raced away for his second score in seven minutes to make it 17-6.
But it was game on at the hour mark when Cardiff’s forwards showed some superb hands to advance up the field, and Bennett was the beneficiary as he grabbed his second try in as many weeks, with Shingler landing the conversion.
The Blues were piling on the pressure and completed their comeback with eight minutes remaining, Williams collecting his own kick to score, but this time Shingler was so unlucky to see his conversion attempt clatter the post.
With Cardiff leading 18-17 going into the final five minutes the game was all set for a grandstand conclusion, with Kinghorn going wide with a long-range penalty attempt after a high-tackle on Du Preez on the halfway line.
Edinburgh kept possession but could not force their way through the resolute Blues defence, and Cardiff held on to secure a memorable win.
Tries: Cochrane, Scholes 2
For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Bennett, Williams
Pens: Shingler 2
Yellow cards: Jarrad Hoeata ( Cardiff Blues, 30) Anton Peikrishvili (Cardiff Blues, 14)
Edinburgh: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Damien Hoyland, 13 Glenn Bryce, 12 Chris Dean, 11 Rory Scholes, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 8 Cornell Du Preez, 7 Jamie Ritchie, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Ben Toolis, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 3 Murray McCallum, 2 Neil Cochrane (captain), 1 Jack Cosgrove.
Replacements: 16 George Turner, 17 Derrick Appiah, 18 Kevin Bryce, 19 Grant Gilchrist, 20 Lewis Carmichael, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Junior Rasolea, 23 Michael Allen.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Matthew Morgan, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Willis Halaholo, 12 Steve Shingler, 11 Tom James, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Josh Sion Bennett, 6 Macauley Cook, 5 Jarrad Hoeata, 4 George Earle, 3 Anton Peikrishvili, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 James Down, 20 Kirby Myhill, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Garyn Smith, 23 Aled Summerhill.
Referee: David Wilkinson (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Mark Patton (Scotland), Cammy Rudkin (Scotland)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)
Munster 21-30 Scarlets
The visitors got off to a fast start when Jaco Taute dropped the ball, conceding a penalty that Daniel Jones had no problems in dispatching through the posts after just one minute.
And Scarlets continued to press forwards in the opening stages, but Munster stood firm and eventually turned defence into attack, but Darren Sweetnam could not find Duncan Williams with the offload after breaking clear.
Scarlets regained possession but when Billy Holland won a turnover Munster were in for the opening try of the night.
Dave O’Callaghan was stopped short of the line, but quick recycled ball led to Taute going over – Tyler Bleyendaal adding the extras in the 12th minute.
The Welshmen narrowed their deficit minutes later when Munster were caught offside and Jones slotted over a second penalty to trail by just one.
The home side responded, though, and a lineout drive led to a penalty that Bleyendaal dumped into the corner to set up another catch and drive.
It paid dividends, too, as Sweetnam went over on 22 minutes and, once confirmed by the TMO, Bleyendaal was again accurate from the tee.
Two tries became three before the half hour mark as Conor Oliver went over, making the most of fellow academy man Dan Goggin’s break – Bleyendaal again adding extras.
But neither side could add to the score before the break and a scrappy end to the half saw Munster go in at half time leading 21-6.
Wayne Pivac’s men came out fighting in the second period and spend much of the opening ten minutes in Munster territory, forcing a penalty but Jones was wayward and they remained 15 points behind.
He made up for it in the 51st minute, though, making his third kick of the night after Munster were penalised for an infringement at the lineout.
And Scarlets continued to press, but when James Davies showed some pace on the flank, his pass to Aaron Shingler was too powerful and it found touch rather than the flankers’ hands.
But the try did come as Munster conceded another penalty and Hadleigh Parkes latched on to Aled Davies’ chip to cross the whitewash – Jones adding the extras.
And one try became two a minute later as Davies broke from the scum on the half way line, before feeding Johnny McNicholl on the supporting run to finish – Jones kicking the conversion to put Scarlets two points ahead.
Munster were rattled and a rampant Scarlets scored a third try in quick succession on the hour mark, Tom Williams going over in the corner with another Jones conversion extending their lead to nine with 18 minutes to play.
From then on Scarlets were on the back foot but stood their ground to repel attack after attack from the Munstermen, but a collapsed five-metre scrum on 70 minutes did not help their cause as the visitors were allowed to gather their thoughts and clear their lines.
And things weren’t going the home side’s way as, with five minutes remaining, David Kilcoyne thought he had given his side a lifeline – only for the TMO to rule he was just short of the line.
That was the last chance Munster could muster and, when the referee’s whistle blew it signalled the first home loss for the Irish province this season.
Tries: Taute, Sweetnam, Oliver
Cons: Bleyendaal 3
Tries: Parkes, McNicholl, Van Der Merwe
Cons: Jones 3
Pens: Jones 3
Munster: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Darren Sweetnam, 13 Francis Saili, 12 Dan Goggin, 11 Ronan O'Mahony, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal (captain), 9 Duncan Williams, 8 Conor Oliver, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Dave O'Callaghan, 5 Billy Holland, 4 Dave Foley, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Kevin O'Byrne, 17 Peter McCabe, 18 Brian Scott, 19 Darren O'Shea, 20 Fineen Wycherley, 21 Abrie Griesel, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Andrew Conway.
Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 DTH van der Merwe, 13 Steff Hughes, 12 Hadleigh Parkes (captain), 11 Tom Williams, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Jonathan Evans, 8 Will Boyde, 7 James Davies, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Tadhg Beirne, 4 Tom Price, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Wyn Jones.
Replacements: 16 Dafydd Hughes, 17 Luke Garrett, 18 Nicky Thomas, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 20 Morgan Allen, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Aled Thomas, 23 Ioan Nicholas.
Referee: Dan Jones (Wales)
Assistant Referees: (Wales), Jonny Erskine (Ireland)
TMO: Charles Samson (Scotland)
Newport Gwent Dragons 22-54 Leinster
No.8 Jack Conan went over for two early scores as Leinster led 14-3 at half-time, and he was joined on the scoresheet by Jamison Gibson-Park shortly after the restart.
Adam Hughes then reduced the arrears but Leinster broke away with tries from Richardt Strauss, James Tracy, Hayden Triggs and a double for Luke McGrath.
Matthew Screech and Sarel Pretorius did dot down for the hosts but it did little to lift the mood at Rodney Parade as Leinster made it five PRO12 wins on the bounce.
The Dragons actually started the game the brighter side and after some positive possession Dorian Jones slotted a simple penalty in front of the posts on five minutes after Leinster were pinged for taking down a scrum.
But five minutes later Leinster were ahead following a superb break from Joey Carbery. The fullback gathered an up and under inside his own 22 and after spotting a gap in the Dragons defence he raced 50m upfield before offloading to Conan who waltzed over, Ross Byrne adding the extras.
And No.8 Conan was celebrating a second try after 24 minutes following a Leinster lineout, with Byrne once again converting.
Newport refused to lie down though and continued to press for a try of their own, but despite several kicks to the corner their lineout failed to break through some rigid Leinster defending.
Jones did have the chance to reduce the arrears on the stroke of half-time; however he saw his penalty hit the crossbar and the hosts trailed 3-14 at the interval.
And things got worse for the Dragons just a minute after the restart as Conan this time turned provider as Gibson-Park jogged over after a good initial break from Adam Byrne.
Ross Byrne once again converted but Newport responded almost immediately as a superb run from Ollie Griffiths saw Hughes go over in the corner with Jones adding the extras.
The Dragons were buoyed by this and went looking for a quick-fire second but after several phases of play Peter Dooley forced a knock on in his own 22 and Leinster could breathe again.
And from the resulting scrum Conan broke and Carbery took off and captain Strauss touched down for the Leinster bonus point try, Ross Byrne converting on 54 minutes.
But the visitors didn’t stop there and just after the hour mark the Leinster pack was in full flow again after a lineout and Tracy dotted down, although Ross Byrne missed his first conversion of the night.
Newport stemmed the flow with a try in the corner by Screech on 66 minutes, but moments later Leinster were celebrating a sixth try as the Dragons lost possession and Triggs hacked the ball forward and outran the home defence to slide over.
This time Ross Byrne made no mistake with the kick and he was at it again shortly afterwards as great hands from Conan and Triggs set Adam Byrne away. He was stopped just short of the tryline but the ball was popped up to McGrath who went over.
And McGrath was over again for try number eight four minutes later with Ross Bryne converting, but the Dragons had the final say as Pretorius went over under the posts with Jones converting.
Tries: Hughes, Screech, Pretorius
Cons: Jones 2
Tries: Conan 2, Gibson-Park, Strauss, Tracy, Triggs, McGrath 2
Cons: Byrne 7
Dragons: 15 Carl Meyer, 14 Adam Hughes, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Pat Howard, 10 Dorian Jones, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Lewis Evans (captain), 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Ollie Griffiths, 5 Rynard Landman, 4 Nick Crosswell, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Sam Hobbs.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Buckley, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 Harrison Keddie, 21 Sarel Pretorius, 22 Angus O’Brien, 23 Adam Warren.
Leinster: 15 Joey Carbery, 14 Adam Byrne, 13 Zane Kirchner, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Fergus McFadden, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Peadar Timmins, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Michael Bent, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Peter Dooley.
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Mike Ross, 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Max Deegan, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Cathal Marsh, 23 Barry Daly.
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Claudio Blessano (Italy), Craig Evans
TMO: Stefano Pennè (Italy)