Rabo Direct Pro 12: Leinster Overcome Strong Test From Connacht

Ian Madigan runs in for a try 23/3/2013

Rabo Direct Pro 12

Leinster 16 – 13 Connacht

Connacht executed a brilliant start  to this game and seemed to surprise their opponents and although the game was decided in the final moments they can hold their heads high. Dan Parks got Connacht off to a brilliant start with two early penalties to give them a six point lead. Ian Madigan reduced the gap to three with a penalty but Connacht grew in confidence and a try by Kieran Marmion gave them a well deserved lead, with Dan Parks following up with the conversion. This was to be Connacht’s last score as the game turned into a war of attrition. Madigan added two penalties to keep Leinster within touching distance of Connacht. Connacht led at the break by 13 – 9. The lack of discipline in the last few moments by Connacht resulted in two of their players being sin binned. Leinster applied immense pressure on Connacht and when Leinster were awarded a penalty try, it seemed heartbreaking for Connacht. Madigan added the conversion, although Connacht must take the positives from this game. Leinster win by 16 -13 over Connacht.

Munster 13 – 6 Glasgow Warriors

This was a reasonable game with both defences on top. The exploits of JJ Hanrahan was the crucial focal point in this game as he inspired Munster to victory in Glasgow. The game started better for the hosts with Duncan Weir giving the Scottish side the lead early on. A long-range penalty by Hanrahan levelled matters soon after. Despite Glasgow’s early pressure Munster held firm, although Weir edged the Scottish side in front with another penalty. Munster began to dominate the game as it headed towards half time. Munster maintained this pressure after the restart when Hanrahan got inside the Glasgow defence to score the only try of the game to give Munster the lead. Hanrahan followed up his try with the conversion. Hanrahan was inspirational to Munster and added a penalty shortly after his try to seal victory for Munster. Glasgow tried desperately at the end to find an equalizer, but it wasn’t forthcoming.

Ulster 39 – 21 Cardiff Blues

Ulster were in superb form as they overcame the tough task of the Welsh giants in Ravenhill. Tries by Dan Tuohy and Jared Payne gave Ulster a commanding lead in the first half although Cardiff to their credit refused to lie down. Ulster led by 16 points to 3 at one stage in the first half and it looked as though there would be no way back for the Welsh side. A try by Robin Copeland brought the Welsh side back into this game as well as a penalty by Leigh Halfpenny to leave the score Ulster 16 – 11 Cardiff at half time.

Ulster started the second half brilliantly when Luke Marshall touched down for Ulster’s third try of the game, this was soon followed by a penalty by Paddy Jackson to give Ulster a strong 24 – 11 lead. Cardiff kept knocking on the door however and were rewarded when Richard Smith scored Cardiff’s second try which was converted by Halfpenny. Pienaar and Halfpenny traded penalties, but it was Ulster who had the final say when late tries by Andrew Trimble and a second by Tuohy meant Ulster would get a bonus point victory with Pienaar only able to convert Tuohy’s try. Ulster win by 39 – 21 and look to be the on form Irish province.

Image courtesy of irishrugby.ie

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