AFTER the farcial events in Paris the previous weekend, it was back to basics on the rugby front over the weekend with Leinster and Munster both winning in the Rabo Direct Pro12 League and Connacht securing a late draw.
The one real disappointment was Ulster’s 21-14 away defeat at the hands of Cardiff Blues. The result leaves them in sixth spot in the table and is a major blow to their play-off ambitions.
So such problem for Leinster following their dramatic 16-13 victory over the Scarlets at the RDS. They remain 10 points clear of their nearest challengers at the top of the table.
They had the accurate boot of Fergus McFadden to thank. The international centre landed the winning long range penalty in injury time.
In truth, Leinster weren’t at their best but they have developed the abililty to win in such circumstances. McFadden, in fact, contributed all 16 points with a try, conversion and three penalties.
It was a good weekend for up and coming wings as, once again, Dave Kearney impressed for Leinster, although failing to get on the scoresheet. Meanwhile, over in Italy, Simon Zebo improved his standing by crossing for two tries in Munster’s 34-14 demolition of Treviso.
Zebo is, without question, full of promise, but there’s also a feeling is that he should not be rushed on to the Six Nations international scene. Flanker Peter O’Mahony, who is already a member of the Six Nations squad, did his credentials a lot of good with another top class display.
The other big contributor was Ronon O’Gara at out-half whose accurate goalkicking contributed 15 points. Munster are now third in the table, three points behind the second placed team the Ospreys but they have a game in hand.
Ulster fell away in the second half against Cardiff, although it has to be said that some of the refereeing decisions went against them. Robbie Diack got their only try with the rest of their points coming from Ruan Pienaar’s boot.
At the Sportsground in Galway, Connacht grabbed a 13-13 draw with Glasgow through an injury time penalty from a Niall O’Connor penalty. It was a deserved draw after a long losing run in this competition.
Promising wing Tiernan O’Halloran secured Connacht’s try, while O’Connor contributed the conversion and two penalties.
MUNSTER have denied reports that their international scrum-half Tomas O’Leary has signed a contract with top French club Perpignan to play for them from next season.
Instead, they claim that Perpignan have made an offer but Munster also have an offer on the table. O’Leay is expected to make up his mind sometime this week.