Leinster squeeze past Cardiff to stay top
PRO12 WRAP: Leinster extended their winning run in the Pro12 to seven games.
However they were made to work extremely hard for a 22-21 victory over Cardiff Blues.
* In other Saturday action Glasgow Warriors powered to a bonus point victory over Connacht to keep their hopes of a top four finish in the Pro12 alive.
* Ronan O'Mahony maintained his try-scoring form as Munster made sure to keep the pressure on their Pro12 title rivals with convincing bonus-point victory over Zebre.
We look at all the Saturday matches!
Glasgow Warriors 35-24 Connacht
Glasgow Warriors powered to a bonus point victory over Connacht to keep their hopes of a top four finish in the Pro12 alive.
The visitors and defending champions were ahead at the break thanks to tries from Niyi Adeolokun and John Muldoon.
But a roaring second-half performance from the Warriors sealed an entertaining win as Finn Russell and man of the match Ali Price went over to add to Corey Flynn's first-half score.
And there was still time - despite losing Tim Swinson to a red card for a high tackle - for the hosts grab an all-important fourth as Sean Lamont burst over at the death to leave them ten points behind fourth-placed Ulster in the standings.
Glasgow were sixth in the Pro12 at start of play, and knew any more slip-ups could be costly in their quest for a top-four place.
But it was the visitors who flew out of the blocks and had all the early pressure. They made it count through wing Adeolokun, after four minutes, before Glasgow had even touched the ball.
However, the home side hit back immediately, with the returning Russell kicking a penalty shortly after the restart.
And Gregor Townsend's men got their noses in front moments later when Flynn crashed over, Russell adding the extras.
But Connacht hit back through a Craig Ronaldson penalty, before John Muldoon crossed the white line in the left corner.
Ronaldson landed a difficult kick to make it 15-10, before Russell added another three points from the tee to cap off a breathless first half.
The visitors landed the first blow of the second period through a Ronaldson penalty after Glasgow failed to release, but the home side seized the game by the scruff of the neck after that.
The impressive Russell crossed immediately after the restart, and stepped up to convert his own score and put the home side into the lead.
And Connacht were left reeling on 53 minutes when Jack Carty was sin-binned for a high tackle.
Warriors won a penalty in front of the posts and opted for a scrum, which they powered back over the Connacht line and allowed Price to squirm over, with Russell adding the extras.
Despite being a man down, Connacht rallied and thought they had scored through Adeolokun in the right corner, only to be denied by TMO after a superb Price tackle bundled the wing into touch.
But Glasgow were reduced to 14 men 15 minutes from time when Tim Swinson was dismissed for a swinging arm at the ruck on Dave Heffernan in the build up to Adeolokun's effort, and Ronaldson kicked the resulting penalty to close the gap to six points.
But Connacht could not capitalise on their numerical advantage, and Glasgow stretched their lead back to nine through Peter Horne's penalty, before John Cooney cancelled this out for Connacht.
And veteran wing Lamont powered over late on to seal a dramatic win for Townsend's men.
For Glasgow Warriors:
Tries: Russell, Flynn, Price, Lamont
Cons: Russell 3
Pens: Russell 2, Horne
Tries: Adeolokun, Muldoon
Pens: Ronaldson 3, Carty
Yellow card: Jack Carty (Connacht, 53)
Red card: Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors, 65)
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Peter Horne (captain), 11 Rory Hughes, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Adam Ashe, 7 Matt Smith, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Brian Alainu'uese, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Sila Puafisi, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Alex Allan.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 D'Arcy Rae, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Lewis Wynne, 21 George Horne, 22 Alex Dunbar, 23 Peter Murchie.
Connacht: 15 Tiernan O'Halloran, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Bundee Aki, 12 Craig Ronaldson, 11 Stacey Ili, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 John Muldoon (captain), 7 Jake Heenan, 6 Sean O'Brien, 5 Andrew Browne, 4 Quinn Roux, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Dominic Robertson-McCoy, 19 James Cannon, 20 Naulia Dawai, 21 John Cooney, 22 Tom Farrell, 23 Josh Rowland.
Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant referees: Sean Brickell (Wales), Bob Nevins (Scotland)
Leinster 22-21 Cardiff Blues
Leinster extended their winning run in the Pro12 to seven games but were made to work extremely hard for a 22-21 victory over Cardiff Blues.
The Irish province have now won their last 13 games against the Blues in all competitions with Ross Molony's try proving to be the crucial try at the RDS Arena.
Twice Leinster took the lead with tries from Dan Leavy and Luke McGrath but those times they were pegged back by Tomos Williams' completing Blues counter-attacks.
Sion Bennett put the visitors ahead for the first time with a third counter-attacking score but Molony's try took Leinster back in front with the Blues taking home a losing bonus point.
A clever grubber kick from centre Noel Reid unlocked the Cardiff Blues defence after just four minutes as Leavy, who came off the bench for Ireland last weekend, collected and dotted down.
Ross Byrne added the extras successfully from the touchline to put the league leaders 7-0 up.
The visitors brought themselves level barely ten minutes later though as Blaine Scully pounced on a Leinster knock-on before feeding Rey Lee-Lo who set scrum-half Williams away to score.
Steve Shingler made no mistake with the conversion and the scores were level.
McGrath restored the home side's advantage on the half hour when the scrum-half sniped around the corner of a ruck from close range for his seventh Pro12 try of the season.
Ross Byrne was once again on target from the tee to make it 14-7.
Reid thought he had Leinster's third try of the afternoon early in the second half when he ran clear but referee George Clancy brought play back after Joey Carbery had a foot in touch.
And barely a minute later, Gareth Anscombe used his quick feet to get out of trouble before launching a devastating counter attack through Kristian Dacey.
The hooker was deep inside his own half but released Williams for his second try and, with Shingler's conversion, pulled the scores level.
Leinster regained the lead with 54 minutes gone with a penalty from Ross Byrne's boot as the Blues were caught offside.
But the visitors had their third try, again from the counter attack, as Lee-Lo took full advantage of Leinster coughing up possession before finding Scully who fed Bennett.
The replacement ran in from halfway with his first touch of the game and Shingler added the extras as the Blues led 21-17 with 20 minutes left to play.
The league leaders restored their lead though when Molony was part of a driving maul that forced its way over the line but Byrne's conversion was wide and the lead was a single point but it was enough.
Tries: Leavy, McGrath, Molony
Cons: Byrne 2
For Cardiff Blues:
Tries:Williams 2, Bennett
Cons: Shingler 3
Leinster: 15 Joey Carbery, 14 Adam Byrne, 13 Rory O'Loughlin, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Isa Nacewa (captain), 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Rhys Ruddock, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Dan Leavy, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Michael Bent, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Peter Dooley, 18 Mike Ross, 19 Mick Kearney, 20 Max Deegan, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Tom Daly, 23 Fergus McFadden.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Matthew Morgan, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Steven Shingler, 11 Blaine Scully (captain), 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Macauley Cook, 5 Jarrad Hoeata, 4 George Earle, 3 Anton Peikrishvili, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Corey Domachowski.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Sion Bennett, 20 Ellis Jenkins, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Willis Halaholo, 23 Tom James.
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: Matteo Liperini (Italy), Richard Kerr (Ireland)
Zebre 14-50 Munster
Ronan O'Mahony maintained his try-scoring form as Munster made sure to keep the pressure on their Pro12 title rivals with convincing bonus-point victory over Zebre.
Munster's leading try scorer in the Guinness Pro12 this season, O'Mahony took his tally for the season to nine with a double against Italians.
The returning James Cronin similarly crossed twice with brothers Niall and Rory Scannell also on the scoreboard alongside Tommy O'Donnell as Munster not only maintained their 100 per cent record versus Zebre but kept pace with Ospreys and Leinster.
It did not take Munster long to find their feet as they crossed the try line with their very first attack - the returning Niall Scannell - who was later named man of the match - going over after a driving maul. Tyler Bleyendaal successfully sent over the conversion.
And after a succession of penalties won, the Munster maul got on a roll again in the 18th minute with O'Donnell the one to go over, Bleyendaal again with the conversion.
The momentum was firmly with the Irish province as the penalty count continued to rise for Zebre.
Try number three arrived for the visitors after 25 minutes as Munster went through the phases before spinning the ball out to the left win for O'Mahony to record his eighth try of the season. Bleyendaal again dissected the posts and the score was 21-0 to Munster.
Zebre have not beaten an Irish Province since winning 13-6 against Ulster in Parma in September 2014, although they did give their fans a lift ten minutes before the break with their first try of the match.
After Zebre pressured the Munster line following a line out, South African flanker Derick Minnie picked up the ball to cross, with Marcello Violi's conversion taking the score to 21-7.
There was still time for a Munster penalty before the break though as Bleyendaal took the visitors advantage out to 17 points.
Six minutes after the restart and Munster had the try bonus point in the bag as centre Rory Scannell picked a hole in the Zebre defence to cross near the post.
Bleyendaal continued his impressive form from the kicking tee while Zebre's misery was compounded with Violi also sent to the sin-bin.
And the man advantage was made to count almost immediately by the visitors as O'Mahony helped himself to his second try of the afternoon after a cute offload by Darren Sweetnam to take the score to 36-7.
Zebre's second converted try of the afternoon came courtesy of Lloyd Greeff on 55 minutes but six minutes later Munster crossed the whitewash for the sixth time, replacement Cronin marking his return from a back injury, with Rory Scannell converting this time.
After a raft of replacements, Zebre were dealt a further blow on 66 minutes when Oliviero Fabiani was shown a yellow.
And just five minutes later, Munster took the score out to 50-14 as Cronin got his second after a pick and go from a five metre scrum.
That proved to be the end of the scoring as Munster warmed themselves up nicely for next weekend's European Champions Cup quarterfinal with Toulouse.
Tries: Minnie, Greeff
Cons: Violi, Bordoli
Tries: Scannell, O'Donnell, O'Mahony 2, Scannell, Cronin 2
Cons: Bleyendaal 4, Scannell 2
Yellow cards: Marcello Violi (Zebre, 46), Oliviero Fabiani (Zebre, 66)
Zebre: 15 Dion Berryman, 14 Kayle Van Zyl,13 Tommaso Boni, 12 Tommaso Castello, 11 Lloyd Greeff, 10 Serafin Bordoli, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Derick Minnie, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Maxime Mbandà, 5 Valerio Bernabò (captain), 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 Bartholomeus Le Roux, 2 Oliviero Fabiani, 1 Bruno Postiglioni.
Replacements: 16 Sydney Tobias, 17 Andrea De Marchi, 18 Guillermo Roan, 19 Joshua Furno, 20 Federico Ruzza, 21 Carlo Engelbrecht, 22 Matteo Pratichetti, 23 Guglielmo Palazzani.
Munster: 15 Andrew Conway, 14 Darren Sweetnam, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Ronan O'Mahony, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 Jack O'Donoghue, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Peter O'Mahony (captain), 5 Billy Holland, 4 Dave O'Callaghan, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 James Cronin, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Darren O'Shea, 20 Conor Oliver, 21 Angus Lloyd, 22 David Johnston, 23 Dan Goggin.
Referee: Sean Gallagher (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Nigel Correll (Ireland), Elia Rizzo (Italy)
Benetton Treviso 13-5 Ospreys
Ospreys missed the chance to move back into second in the Pro12 table after Treviso upset the form book with a win at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo.
Neither side showed their full capabilities in a low-scoring game but a try from Alberto Sgarbi and penalties from Tito Tebaldi and Ian McKinley were enough to secure the win.
Treviso showed their intent from the start and launched an attack that got within five metres of the Ospreys line, but a knock on left the home crowd unfulfilled and Ospreys could clear.
The home side kept coming though and had a chance to trouble the scorers from the kicking tee, but the penalty from Tebaldi drifted wide after eight minutes.
It remained all Treviso, though, until Ospreys' Dan Baker took advantage of quick ball from the back of a five metre scrum and ended up breaking to the half way line.
The home side did not have long to wait for their first breakthrough, though, as Sgarbi finally made the pressure tell and crossed in the 18th minute for the opening score - converted by Tebaldi.
Errors and knock-ons from both sides kept the game a scrappy affair until a break from Keelan Giles lit up the play five minutes later - Treviso forced him into touch before he could do any real damage, though, as Ospreys struggled to make an impact on the game.
The try did come though and it was that man Giles again, as the lightning-quick winger latched onto quick ball fed from Sam Davies to Dan Evans and went over in the right corner for an easy score with the clock in the red - the fly-half missed the conversion though to send Ospreys in trailing by two.
Neither side could settle into the game as more errors characterised the opening to the second period, but when Ospreys were penalised for wheeling the scrum Tebaldi could kick to the corner with 50 minutes gone.
Treviso could not build on the platform, however, instead turning the ball over and allowing Ospreys to clear their lines.
But they did extend their lead just before the hour, with Tebaldi kicking a routine penalty after Ospreys were again penalised at the scrum.
Once again it was Giles who sparked the game into life, launching a blistering attack from inside his own 22, streaking into the Treviso half and feeding Brendon Leonard but the replacement was brought down in the opposition 22 and Treviso managed to scramble the ball clear.
Giles again took the fight to Treviso with a break and chip over the Italian's defence to gain territory after Davies had done well to run the ball out of his own in-goal area, but they could not capitalise on the break and when they were penalised within range with eight minutes to play, McKinley put the home side eight points ahead.
It was a kick that would prove decisive as Treviso ran the clock down to record a famous victory and keep Ospreys third in the table, without even registering a losing bonus point.
For Benetton Treviso:
Pens: Tebaldi, McKinley
Treviso: 15 David Odiete, 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Tommaso Iannone, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Luca Sperandio, 10 Ian McKinley, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Marco Lazzaroni, 6 Francesco Minto, 5 Dean Budd (captain), 4 Filippo Gerosa, 3 Simone Ferrari, Luca Bigi 2, 1 Federico Zani.
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, Alberto Porolli 17, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Guglielmo Zanini, 20 Abraham Steyn, 21 Giorgio Bronzini, Tommaso Benvenuti, 23 Luke McLean.
Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Keelan Giles, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Dafydd Howells, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Tom Habberfield (captain), 8 Dan Baker, 7 Olly Cracknell, 6 James King, 5 Rory Thornton, 4 Lloyd Ashley, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Scott Otten, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Tyler Ardron, 20 Sam Underhill, 21 Brendon Leonard, 22 Jay Baker, 23 Jonathan Spratt.
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Rhys Thomas (Wales), Giuseppe Vivarini (Italy)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)