Zebre stun Cardiff to break their duck
Zebre stun Cardiff to break their duckSHARE
Zebre finally claimed their maiden Pro12 victory at the 25th time of asking.
They produced a 30-25 victory over the Cardiff Blues at Arms Park on Friday, surviving a late onslaught from the home side.
Mauro Bergamasco, David Odiete and Brendan Leonard were the heroes for the Italian outfit, with Luciano Orquera orchestrating proceedings with the boot.
* In other action on Friday Ludovico Nitoglia crossed twice for Benetton Treviso and Mat Berquist kicked superbly as the Italians upset previous table toppers Munster in a 29-19 win in the Pro12.
* Glasgow Warriors made it three wins from three and inflicted a first defeat of the season on Pro12 champions Leinster with a 12-6 win at Scotstoun.
* Dan Evans' first-half try against his former club proved decisive as the Newport Gwent Dragons held off a Scarlets fight back to force a dramatic 23-16 win in the Pro12.
We look at all Friday's matches!
Treviso 29-19 Munster
Ludovico Nitoglia crossed twice for Benetton Treviso and Mat Berquist kicked superbly as the Italians upset previous table toppers Munster in a 29-19 win in the Pro12.
The Irish region came to the Stadio di Monigo bidding to become the first side ever to begin a league season with three maximum point victories but ill-discipline cost them dear.
Treviso have twice before beaten Munster and despite conceding three tries from Keith Earls, a penalty score and Stephen Archer they had enough to emerge comfortable victors in the end.
Nitoglia's two scores in the second half turned the game on its head while Kiwi Berquist added 19 points from the kicking tee.
And in a bad tempered affair Rob Penney's side ended up with three different players sent to the sin bin.
Ian Keatley, restored to the side ahead of JJ Hanrahan, missed a penalty in the fifth minute on a chastening night for the flyhalf but it was the Irish region who were dominant in the opening stages.
And it was the impressive Earls, lining up at right wing, who notched the first try of the match as early as the seventh minute, scorching clear down the right after being fed by Simon Zebo.
Keatley was again off target with the conversion and the Italian outfit began to grow into the encounter as it wore on.
And Kiwi Berquist was looking in fine form from the kicking tee, the former Leinster man slotting over two penalties in the 13th and 17th minute to put the Italians 6-5 in front.
In between those two incidents Niall Ronan was also sent to the sin bin for an apparent punch but down to 14 men the Irish region managed to hold out.
And restored to their full quota Munster were soon back on the front foot and took the lead again as the forward pack earned a penalty try.
They were dominating in the scrum and twice earned penalties, the second eminently kickable on the try-line but skipper Peter O'Mahony turned it down and called for another scrum.
And it was third time lucky as the referee was left with no option but to award a penalty score as Treviso again collapsed under the pressure of the Munster pack.
Keatley's conversion made it 12-6 and vindicated O'Mahony's gutsy call to go for all seven points instead of settling for three.
But a third Berquist penalty before the half-time whistle meant that Treviso were still very much within touching distance, only trailing 12-9 at the break.
It was Munster who had the first score after the interval and then looked the more likely winners, Archer going over in the 47th minute and Keatley converting to make it 19-9.
But after that the second half belonged to the Italians, in the 49th minute Nitoglia was over for his first try, cantering over untouched after a huge overlap down the right.
Berquist's conversion closed the gap to 19-16 and his subsequent penalty on the hour mark, his fourth of the night, levelled the scores.
And with confidence now flowing the Italians were soon in front, Nitoglia diving over from close range for his second down the right after the Treviso pack made inroads up the middle, Berquist again on target with the extras.
Munster's discipline was fading badly at this point and Cathal Sheridan was the next Irishman in the sin bin with 64 minutes on the clock.
Berquist punished that indiscipline with another penalty to make it 29-19 and the match was effectively over.
And an impossible task was made even harder late on when Archer was sent to the sin bin as well and Treviso held on for a famous victory.
Tries: Nitoglia 2
Cons: Berquist 2
Pens: Berquist 5
Tries: Earls, Penalty try, Archer
Cons: Keatley 2
Yellow cards: Niall Ronan (Munster, 15), Duncan Williams (Munster, 60), Cathal Sheridan (Munster 64), Stephen Archer (Munster, 72)
Treviso: 15 Luke McClean, 14 Christian Loamanu, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Ludovico Nitoglia, 10 Mat Berquist, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Manoa Vosawai, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Simone Favaro, 5 Marco Fuser, 4 Antonio Pavanello (captain), 3 Alberto De Marchi, 2 Enrico Ceccato, 1 Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16 John Maistri, 17 Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet, 18 Pedro Di Santo, 19 Valerio Bernabo, 20 Dean Budd, 21 Robert Barbieri, 22 Fabio Semenzato, 23 Alberto Di Bernardo.
Munster: 15 Denis Hurley, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 James Downey, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 James Coughlan 7 Niall Ronan, 6 Peter O'Mahony (captain), 5 Billy Holland, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Mike Sherry, 17 James Cronin, 18 John Ryan, 19 Donnacha O'Callaghan, 20 CJ Stander, 21 Cathal Sheridan, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Ivan Dineen.
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant referees: Marius Mitrea (Italy), F Navarra (Italy)
TMO: Mauro Dordolo (Italy)
Cardiff Blues 25-30 Zebre
Zebre finally claimed their maiden Pro12 victory at the 25th time of asking with a 30-25 victory over the Cardiff Blues at Arms Park, surviving a late onslaught from the home side.
Mauro Bergamasco, David Odiete and Brendan Leonard were the heroes for the Italian outfit, with Luciano Orquera orchestrating proceedings with the boot.
All the talk pre-game was of the returning Leigh Halfpenny after his British & Irish Lions heroics but it was Dafydd Hewitt who made the early impact for the Cardiff Blues, crossing after a brilliant break from Rhys Patchell after just two minutes.
That was the Blues' first try of the season and Halfpenny stepped up and made no mistake with the conversion, immediately picking up where he left off this summer Down Under.
Cardiff dominated the opening ten minutes as the visitors from Italy struggled to get into the game, but gradually they worked their way into the game and on 15 minutes got back on level terms.
Bergamasco crossed the whitewash from a driving maul and flyhalf Orquera evened things up from the tee. And the Italy flyhalf put Zebre ahead for the first time with a penalty on 20 minutes from wide on the right.
Cardiff enjoyed a period of pressure in the Zebre 22 thereafter but came away with nothing to show for it, Halfpenny missing with a regulation penalty the likes of which he would usually gobble up.
Nine minutes before the break he made amends with another penalty attempt to make it 10-10, only for Cardiff to attract the wrath of the referee at scrum-time and give Orquera the chance to slot his third successful kick of the night to give Zebre back the lead five minutes from the break.
The lead didn't last long, however, Halfpenny making it 13-13 with virtually his first kick of the second half from long range.
Orquera missed from the tee but then landed a drop goal, Halfpenny replying in kind as both sides struggled to stay within the laws giving the two experienced internationals plenty of kicking practice.
Cardiff rung the changes with as they looked to break the deadlock with Matthew Rees, Robin Copeland, James Down and Sam Hobbs taking to the field as former Cardiff Blues centre Jamie Roberts watched on from the stands.
Yet another Halfpenny penalty after Zebre were penalised at the scrum gave Cardiff a three-point advantage as the game entered the final quarter and the home fans' nerves starting to fray.
But their hearts looked to have been broken when David Odiete touched down for Zebre to put the Italians in touching distance of their first ever Pro12 victory.
Orquera kicked the extras to put Zebre 23-19 ahead with 14 minutes to go, only for Halfpenny's metronomic boot to drag the Blues back within a point two minutes later.
But Kiwi scrum-half Brendan Leonard then zoomed over the line to cap an impressive personal performance and Orquera's conversion made it an eight-point game with eight minutes remaining.
With five minutes to go Zebre prop Luca Redolfini saw yellow as Cardiff ratcheted up the pressure and Halfpenny kicked the penalty to bring the Blues within five points.
With Redolfini watching from the sidelines, Dario Chistolini was called onto the field to complete the front row for a scrum, without any player appearing to leave the pitch for him until the scrum was over ensuring a controversial end to the game.
But heroic defence on their own line as the clock ticked down helped keep the Blues out sparking wild celebrations among the Zebre players as the referee blew his whistle for full time.
For Cardiff Blues:
Pens: Halfpenny 6
Tries: Bergamasco, Odiete, Leonard
Cons: Orquera 3
Pens: Orquera 3
Yellow card: Luca Redolfini (Zebre, 75)
Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Owen Williams, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Chris Czekaj, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lewis Jones, 8 Andries Pretorius (captain), 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Macauley Cook, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Lou Reed, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Marc Breeze, 1 Taufa'ao Filise.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Benoit Bourrust, 19 James Down, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Cory Allen.
Zebre: 15 Ruggero Trevisan, 14 David Odiete, 13 Tommaso Iannone, 12 Matteo Pratichetti, 11 Dion Berryman, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Andries van Schalkwyk, 6 Mauro Bergamasco, 5 Marco Bortolami (captain), 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Andrea Manici, 1 Salvatore Perugini.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D'Apice, 17 Matias Aguero, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 George Biagi, 20 Filippo Ferrarini, 21 Alberto Chillon, 22 Guglielmo Palazzani, 23 Giovanbattista Venditti.
Referee: Leo Colgan (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Sean Brickell (Wales), Wayne Davies (Wales)
Glasgow Warriors 12-6 Leinster
Glasgow Warriors made it three wins from three and inflicted a first defeat of the season on Pro12 champions Leinster with a 12-6 win at Scotstoun.
Tries from Chris Fusaro and Jerry Yanuyanutawa proved the difference in front of a sell-out crowd as the hosts continued their fine start to the season.
Leinster, who beat the Warriors in last season's semi-final, gave a debut to new signing Lote Tuqiri on the wing, the Australian dual code international having joined on a short-term deal earlier in the week.
Glasgow, who named Chris Cusiter in their starting line-up as captain, started positively, responding to Leinster's attempts to put early territorial pressure on the home side.
But what transpired in the first ten minutes was a stop-start affair as neither side appeared able to stamp their authority on proceedings with defences on top.
Leinster were the first to truly threaten from a line-out inside the Warriors 22. The visitors went through several phases of play in a bid to get the first points on the board but buoyed by a loud home support the Warriors defence stood impressively firm, eventually winning a scrum to relieve the period of sustained pressure.
With 20 minutes played there was still no score on the board, with free-flowing rugby absent and the scrum a dominant feature of play.
Neither side were firing on all cylinders, with Leinster failing to make the most of good attacking positions but enjoying more of the ball in hand.
In the 24th minute the deadlock was broken when British and Irish Lion Ryan Grant was penalised in the scrum, the Warriors and Scotland prop giving away a penalty which was converted by Jimmy Gopperth to give Leinster a 3-0 lead.
The hosts had an immediate chance to respond though when this time Leinster were penalised in the scrum, but Stuart Hogg was off target from out wide.
Tuqiri's debut lasted just half an hour as he was replaced by Ireland international Rob Kearney.
Hogg had a second chance to level matters but fell short with his penalty kick from 40 metres out as the game continued its stop-start nature.
The Warriors' first chance for a try came five minutes before half-time when a swift passing move ended with a strong burst from young lock Jonny Gray but a knock-on yards from the posts ended the move.
Just before the break the Warriors, who had started to get the upper-hand, kicked to touch seven metres from the try-line and attempted a rolling maul from the line-out. And the positivity paid off when Cusiter fed flanker Fusaro to wriggle over for the game's first try. This time Hogg found his range to give the hosts a 7-3 half-time lead.
In the second half, Leinster again started the brighter but the Warriors' defence continued to stand firm.
Hogg's confidence remained high despite his early penalty misses, and his attempt from fully 55 yards struck the post.
Gopperth reduced Warriors' lead to just a point on the hour with a penalty to make it 7-6.
But it was the hosts who were looking more likely to grab the game's second try, with Alex Dunbar and Gray combining after a great line break before a knock-on just before the try-line.
Ruaridh Jackson missed a great chance to put some more daylight between the sides with a missed penalty with just 11 minutes to play.
But the win was secured with just five minutes remaining when, again from a lineout six metres out, the hosts cleverly held up play before replacement Yanuyanutawa forced his way over for five important points from the back of the ruck. Jackson's conversion hit the post but the victory was safe.
Tries: Fusaro, Yanuyanutawa
Pens: Gopperth 2
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Chris Cusiter (captain), 8 Richie Vernon, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 Jonny Gray, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Ed Kalman, 19 James Eddie, 20 Josh Strauss, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Scott Wight. 23 Byron McGuigan.
Leinster: 15 Ian Madigan, 14 Dave Kearney, 13 Brendan Macken, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Darragh Fanning, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jordi Murphy, 7 Shane Jennings (captain), 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Tom Denton, 4 Mike McCarthy, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Martin Moore, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Dominic Ryan, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Noel Reid, 23 Rob Kearney.
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Neil Paterson (Scotland), Adrian Graves (Scotland)
TMO: Iain Ramage (Scotland)
Newport Gwent Dragons 23-16 Scarlets
Dan Evans' first-half try against his former club proved decisive as the Newport Gwent Dragons held off a Scarlets fight back to force a dramatic 23-16 win in the Pro12.
Coming into the all-Welsh clash the Scarlets had won their last ten league clashes against these opponents but tries from Phil Price and Evans in the first half put the hosts 17-3 to the good.
But back came the visitors, who had not lost to the Dragons since New Year's Day 2008, as Scott Williams' try and the boot of Rhys Priestland closed the gap to one point.
The Dragons held firm however and late penalties from Jason Tovey and Tom Prydie ensured the Dragons sealed their third successive victory at Rodney Parade in the competition despite some incredible pressure at the end.
The hosts came roaring out the blocks and were 3-0 to the good courtesy of a fine long range penalty by Prydie with only three minutes on the clock.
Moments later and Prydie looked to have gone over in the right corner for the first try of the match but a fantastic covering tackle by Priestland dragged the winger's feet into touch, confirmed by the TMO and the try was not awarded.
But relentless Dragons pressure on the try-line from the subsequent lineout saw them force a five-metre scrum after Toby Faletau charged down Priestland's attempted clearance.
And with a penalty advantage to play with it was Price who eventually burrowed over, benefiting from a sweet offload from his fellow prop Nahuel Chaparro.
Tovey then added the tricky conversion from the left touchline and the Dragons were flying, 10-0 up with only 12 minutes on the clock.
The Scarlets needed a foot hold in the game and they got it through Priestland, the flyhalf slotting a simple penalty as the Dragons went offside at the breakdown.
But that was merely a brief respite as Rodney Parade went wild after the Dragons second try.
Faletau appeared to have messed up the opening when his Lions teammate Jonathan Davies clobbered him with a massive overlap outside.
But the ball was recycled and full-back Evans scythed through to touch down against his former club, the Tovey conversion making it 17-3 with only a quarter of the game gone.
The game was being played at a breakneck speed with offloads and knock-ons in equal measure as both sides looked to keep the ball in hand.
Ken Owens came close to redressing the balance with a fine break but after the ball failed to find a teammate they had to settle for a penalty, Priestland again on target to make it 17-6 with half an hour gone.
And still the game refused to slow down, Hallam Amos bundled into touch by Rob McCusker as the Dragons came painfully close before Lions hero Davies was scragged metres short at the other end.
But the pressure soon told and the Scarlets had their first try of the night as Scott Williams took the inside ball from his centre partner Davies and jinked over, Priestland's conversion making it 17-13 at the break.
Five minutes after the break and the seemingly inevitable Scarlets comeback was well underway, Priestland's fourth penalty of the evening closing the gap to 17-16.
The Dragons were now clinging on in the face of concerted pressure from the away side as Liam Williams broke clear but could not get over and Priestland was just wide with long-range penalty, his first miss of the night.
And in a rare foray into the opposition half they got some much needed breathing room when Tovey slotted a penalty to extend the lead to 20-16.
That penalty definitely restored the home side's confidence and woke up the crowd again and as the hour mark came up the Scarlets were struggling to get out of their own half.
And when they did the final pass was just lacking, Priestland again bursting clear but failing to find a telling ball with the try-line beckoning.
And the monster boot of Prydie continued to punish their Welsh rivals, the winger bisecting the posts from miles out with ten minutes remaining.
Scarlets fought hard in the closing stages and a series of dominant scrums on the Dragons try-line meant Nigel Owens must have been weighing up a penalty try.
But the outstanding Dragons refused to buckle and held on for a dramatic win in the face of mounting pressure deep into added time, Faletau punting out to provoke raucous celebrations.
Tries: Price, D Evans
Cons: Tovey 2
Pens: Prydie 2, Tovey
Try: M Williams
Pens: Priestland 3
Newport Gwent Dragons: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Ross Wardle, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Toby Faletau. 7 Lewis Evans, 6 Jevon Groves, 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Andrew Coombs (captain), 3 Francisco Chaparro, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Phil Price.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Gustafson, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Dan Way, 19 Rob Sidoli, 20 Netani Talei, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Kris Burton, 23 Adam Hughes.
Scarlets: 15 Steve Shingler, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Jordan Williams, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Rob McCusker (captain), 7 John Barclay, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 George Earle, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Phil John.
Replacements: 16 Emyr Phillips, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Richard Kelly, 20 Josh Turnbull, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Nic Reynolds, 23 Gareth Owen.
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Ian Davies (Wales), Jon Mason (Wales)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)