Stander extends Zebre's drought
Stander extends Zebre's droughtSHARE
Zebre's long wait for a Pro12 victory goes on after Munster came from behind to record a 43-21 bonus-point victory at the Stadio XXV Aprile.
Second half scores from Paddy Butler, a brace for CJ Stander and the nerveless kicking of JJ Hanrahan gave Munster the win.
* In other Friday action Harry Leonard's late penalty secured Edinburgh's first Pro12 win of the season as they overcame a resolute Newport Gwent Dragons outfit 16-13.
* A last-gasp James Eddie try stunned Ravenhill as Glasgow Warriors came from behind to down Ulster 13-12 for their second Pro12 victory of the season.
* Rhys Patchell kicked Cardiff Blues to their first Pro12 victory of the season and got life on their new artificial pitch off to the perfect start with a 21-10 win against Connacht on Friday.
We look at all Friday's action!
Cardiff Blues 21-10 Connacht
Rhys Patchell kicked Cardiff Blues to their first Pro12 victory of the season and got life on their new artificial pitch off to the perfect start with a 21-10 win against Connacht on Friday.
Having lost their first clash of the season 22-15 against Glasgow Warriors, the Blues were desperate to mark their opening match at Cardiff Arms Park with victory and 21 points, all from the boot of Wales international fly-half Patchell, saw them home.
It was by no means an easy contest for the hosts, though, as they saw Matt Healy cross in the first half and Dan Parks kick five points.
Parks' kick-off, however, flew into touch and in the third minute he dropped a penalty – exactly on the halfway line – just short of the posts as the scores remained untroubled.
It remained that way until 12 minutes with both sides playing a kicking game, that was until Kieran Marmion spotted a gap and fed Healy who slid home for his second Pro12 try of the season. Parks added the extras with ease.
The Blues secured their first home points of the new campaign through Patchell, his long-range penalty comfortably sailing over the posts on 20 minutes, and moments later the fly-half added another three points to reduce the deficit to one.
Chances remained few and far between for both sides, but the ever-reliable Patchell proved his prowess again just after the half-hour mark with a perfectly weighted drop-goal to give the Blues the lead.
Connacht began to apply the pressure, though, as the clock ticked towards half-time and Parks made amends for his first kick of the game with a three-pointer which was the last act of the half.
Cardiff came out after the break with the bit between their teeth and worked their way towards the Connacht line, but they had to make do with another Patchell penalty on 52 minutes that restored their slim advantage.
They almost added to that just two minutes later when a break from Alex Cuthbert – making his first start since returning from British & Irish Lions duty this summer – broke the Connacht line for the first time.
He found Tom Williams but some superb defence from the visitors pushed Lloyd Williams into touch and the chance was gone.
Parks had the chance to swing the pendulum back into Connacht's favour with a penalty on the hour mark, but he dragged his 35-yard effort just wide of the posts.
Patchell then followed suit with a poor kick from the tee as neither side looked like taking a hold of the game.
Blues' Taufa'ao Filise tried to force his way over the line after a prolonged drive from the hosts but the Irish defence again stood up to the challenge, although a fourth penalty of the evening from Patchell opened up a five-point lead.
Connacht appeared to have run out of steam, and six minutes from time another penalty from Patchell put the game beyond doubt.
Rodney Ah You's late yellow card and a sixth penalty of the for Patchell rubbed salt into the Irish province's wounds.
For Cardiff Blues:
Pens: Patchell 6
Yellow card: Rodney Ah You (Connacht, 76)
Cardiff Blues: 15 Tom Williams, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Owen Williams, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Andries Pretorius, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Matthew Rees (captain), 1 Taufa'ao Filise.
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Benoit Bourrust, 19 Lou Reed, 20 Macauley Cook, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Gavin Evans.
Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Tiernan O'Halloran, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Eoin Griffin, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 George Naoupu, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 John Muldoon, 5 Andrew Browne, 4 Michael Swift (captain), 3 Nathan White, 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Sean Henry, 17 Rodney Ah You, 18 Ronan Loughney, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 Jake Heenan, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Craig Ronaldson, 23 Danie Poolman.
Referee: Claudio Blessano (Italy)
Assistant referees: Simon Rees (Wales), Martyn Lewis (Wales)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)
Edinburgh 16-13 Newport Gwent Dragons
Harry Leonard's late penalty secured Edinburgh's first Pro12 win of the season as they overcame a resolute Newport Gwent Dragons outfit 16-13.
Leonard, who finished with 11 points in total, held his nerve from 20 metres with the last kick of the game after Edinburgh's forwards, dominant throughout, won a vital penalty from the scrum.
Tim Visser scored on his return and that, coupled with fly-half Leonard's points from the tee, opened up a 13-3 lead just after the break for the hosts.
But Newport fought back and looked to be on the verge of a share of the spoils after Richie Rees crossed and a late penalty from Kris Burton.
However, Leonard had the last laugh and the Scottish outfit made amends for their opening weekend 34-23 setback against Munster.
Both sides began nervously and gave away cheap penalties, Jason Tovey opened the scoring for Newport but Leonard levelled the scores on five minutes.
Dragons' British & Irish Lion Toby Faletau then replaced injured openside Nick Cudd on ten minutes before Tovey missed a difficult attempt at goal moments later.
Ill discipline was costing both sides, and Newport were next to fall foul when they broke at the scrum before the ball was out but Leonard fell inches short with his penalty.
The visitors were again penalised on 20 minutes, and Leonard made no mistake this time to give Edinburgh a 6-3 lead.
The hosts were dominating in the scrum, highlighted by them forcing the Dragons into conceding another penalty on 25 minutes that Leonard opted to kick to touch.
It amounted to nothing but they kept the pressure up for the remainder of the half – Newport holding firm though to take a 6-3 deficit into the break.
The hosts came out with their tails up, though, and a perfectly-weighted pass by Leonard was taken well by Nick De Luca who got close to crossing but was brought down and the Dragons scrambled clear.
They could only hold off for a matter of seconds though as Visser received a brilliant offload from David Denton and crossed in the corner. Leonard added a tough touchline conversion to make it 13-3.
Newport responded well and Edinburgh needed some desperate defending of their own to scramble clear of their five-metre line.
But on 54 minutes Newport did grab a try through Rees who sneaked around the ruck to score, with Tovey's conversion bringing the score to 13-10.
Burton then silenced the Murrayfield crowd with a penalty four minutes from time but some brilliant scrummaging forced the Dragons into conceding a late penalty and Leonard made them pay.
Pens: Leonard 3
For Newport Gwent Dragons:
Pens: Tovey, Burton
Yellow card: Lewis Evans (Newport Gwent Dragons, 37)
Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Nikki Walker, 13 Dougie Fife, 12 Nick De Luca, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Harry Leonard, 9 Sean Kennedy, 8 David Denton, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 Dimitri Basilaia, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Ross Ford (captain), 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Aleki Luitui, 17 Wicus Blaauw, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Sean Cox, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Michael Tait, 23 Jack Cuthbert.
Newport Gwent Dragons: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Matthew Pewtner, 13 Pat Leach, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Lewis Evans, 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Dan Way, 3 Adam Jones, 2 T Rhys Thomas (captain), 1 Owen Evans.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Gustafson, 17 Phil Price, 18 Francisco Chaparro, 19 Rob Sidoli, 20 Toby Faletau, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Kris Burton, 23 Ross Wardle.
Referee: Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
Assistant referees: David Changleng (Scotland), Stephen Ward (Scotland)
TMO: Andy Clift (Scotland)
Ulster 12-13 Glasgow Warriors
A last-gasp James Eddie try stunned Ravenhill as Glasgow Warriors came from behind to down Ulster 13-12 for their second Pro12 victory of the season.
Flank Eddie had replaced Rob Harley with 12 minutes left on the clock and it was left for Stuart Hogg – who also nailed two penalties – to kick the extras and take the win.
In a hard-fought battle, Paddy Jackson had drilled over four penalties for Ulster, who had seemingly ground out a victory before Eddie struck.
From the off the Warriors were knocking on the door and a Johann Muller high tackle allowed Hogg to smash over his first penalty of the game with four minutes gone.
But the home side, who were looking to put their opening Pro12 defeat to Newport Gwent Dragons behind them, immediately responded with a penalty of their own through the boot of Jackson.
The first points of the soon clicked Ulster into gear as a shattering forwards drive saw Mark Anscombe's men charge downfield, resulting in another success for Jackson from the kicking tee.
Another kick from the 21-year-old – this time from a monster 45 yards out – followed midway through the half but it was fast turning into a personal tussle between the kickers as Scotland international Hogg nailed a penalty from a troublesome angle to the left.
The visitors were having trouble coping with Ulster's tempo through the phases and when Harley was penalised for not rolling away, the hosts' fly-half stepped up to do the honours once more.
In first-half injury time it was Hogg who finally erred first as his penalty rocketed inches wide of the post for the Warriors, who were looking for their first back-to-back Pro12 victories in three years.
The war of attrition continued after the restart, with Ulster looking the more likely to build on their slender lead but for fumbling the ball in vital areas.
In one instance, Jackson offloaded to Luke Marshall for a clear run at the try-line, but the centre could not hold on to the ball for the simplest of scores.
On the hour mark the Irish side were this time thwarted by a valiant Warriors defence as four bodies pounced on David McIlwaine – starting in place of the injured Andrew Trimble – to prevent him touching down.
The visitors refused to let Ulster cross the whitewash despite a constant barrage from the forwards and had to settle for a penalty, which Jackson uncharacteristically blasted wide.
Moray Low was sin binned with ten minutes remaining to dent Warriors' chance of a comeback but nerves were getting the better of Ulster.
A break from DTH van der Merwe saw the Warriors breach the home side's 22 and moments later Eddie bustled through to punch home a try at the death.
The conversion was needed and Hogg kept his nerve to clinch victory for Gregor Townsend's side.
Pens: Jackson 4
Pens: Hogg 2
Yellow card: Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors, 69)
Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 David McIlwaine, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Michael Allen, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ian Porter, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Sean Doyle, 6 Roger Wilson, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Johann Muller (captain), 3 Declan Fitzpatrick, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Callum Black.
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Tom Court, 18 Ricky Lutton, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Chris Henry, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 James McKinney, 23 Darren Cave.
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Sean Lamont, 12 Mark Bennett, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Henry Pyrgos (captain), 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Tyrone Holmes, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Ed Kalman, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Gordon Reid, 18. Moray Low, 19 James Eddie, 20 Chris Fusaro, 21 Richie Vernon, 22 Chris Cusiter, 23 Gabriel Ascarate.
Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant referees: Gary Conway (Ireland), Ken Beggs (Ireland)
TMO: Peter Ferguson (Ireland)
Zebre 21-43 Munster
Zebre's long wait for a Pro12 victory goes on after Munster came from behind to record a 43-21 bonus-point victory at the Stadio XXV Aprile.
The Irish province had trailed at the break to Luciano Orquera's impish strike and a wonderful break and touch down from hooker Andrea Macini.
But second half scores from Paddy Butler, a brace for CJ Stander and the nerveless kicking of JJ Hanrahan gave Munster the lead and they held on to make it two wins from two this season.
Munster had the best of the opening exchanges, going ahead through two early penalties from Hanrahan. But Zebre refused to lie down and a strong drive into the Munster 22 ended with skipper Damien Varley going offside allowing fly-half Luciano Orquera to reduce the deficit to 6-3 from the right of the posts.
And Zebre took a surprise lead when forward pressure won a second penalty in the Munster 22 and instead of lining up a shot at the posts Orquera caught the Munster defence napping with a quick tap before breaking for the line and crashing over despite the attention of two defenders.
He was unable to add the conversion, screwing horribly wide from the left of the posts, as Zebre opened up an 8-6 advantage.
Munster came straight back and looked to have forced a crucial advantage when they spun the ball wide and Zebre centre Kameli Ratuvou carried out a spear tackle on Ian Nagle and was sent to cool his heels in the bin.
Hanrahan's third penalty of the evening made it 9-8 with eight minutes to the break but 14-man Zebre struck back straight away, forging deep into the Munster half.
It appeared they had run into a red wall until Varley was again pinged, this time for a high tackle on Orquera, who made short work of the penalty.
And Zebre's first ever Pro12 victory looked on the cards shortly before the break when Donnacha Ryan was penalized for a flailing arm at the restart, and Orquera kicked long to set up a series of Zebre attacking phases.
The ball was worked to hooker Andrea Macini who showed a surprising burst of pace to weave past two tacklers including full-back Denis Hurley and touchdown. Orquera made no mistake with the extras and Zebre went in 18-9 ahead.
At the start of the second half Munster introduced James Downey for Andrew Conway and he made an immediate impact, winning a penalty in front of the posts.
Hanrahan made it four kicks from four to reduce the deficit to 18-12, and straight from the restart Munster attacked again, Johne Murphy causing havoc in the Zebre ranks.
A cute inside ball found Hurley who sent No.8 Paddy Butler crashing over the line, Hanrahan restoring Munster's lead after 46 minutes.
A 51st minute penalty from Hanrahan extended the lead to 22-18 and on the hour they went further ahead, swinging the Zebre defence first left then right where CJ Stander burst through to crash over the line.
Hanrahan inevitably slotted the conversion to make it 29-18 and open up an 11-point gap between the sides.
An Orquera penalty gave Zebre hope but shortly after Stander smashed through two would-be tacklers to score under the posts, Hanrahan keeping up his impeccable spot kicking.
Zebre battled on but Filippo Ferrarini butchered a three-on-one out wide and their best chance of the second half went begging.
With the clock winding down Ian Keatley's fresh legs proved decisive, the replacement fly-half – on for Hanrahan – ducking his way over under the posts and converting his own score to finish off the game.
Tries: Orquera, Manici
Pens: Orquera 3
Tries: Butler, Stander 2, Keatley
Cons: Hanrahan 3, Keatley
Pens: Keatley 5
Yellow card: Kameli Ratuvou (Zebre, 32), Dion Berryman (Zebra, 72)
Zebre: 15 Ruggero Trevisan, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Kameli Ratuvou, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Andries van Schalkwyk, 6 Filippo Ferrarini, 5 Marco Bortolami (captain), 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Luca Redolfini, 2 Andrea Manici, 1 Salvatore Perugini.
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Matias Aguero, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 George Biagi, 20 Filippo Cristiano, 21 Alberto Chillon, 22 Tommaso Iannone, 23 Dion Berryman.
Munster: 15 Denis Hurley, 14 Johne Murphy, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Ivan Dineen, 11 Andrew Conway, 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 Cathal Sheridan, 8 Paddy Butler, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 CJ Stander, 5 Ian Nagle, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 John Ryan, 2 Damian Varley (captain), 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Mike Sherry, 17 James Cronin, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Dave Foley, 20 Niall Ronan, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 James Downey.
Referee: Andrew Mcmenemy (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Elia Rizzo (Italy), Francesco Russo (Italy)
TMO: Alan Falzone (Italy)