Fans were treated to a feast of tries in the Guinness PRO12’s first ever Big Weekend, with 45 in total scored across all six matches to provide a showcase of fast-paced rugby and break the previous league record.
Here’s our round-up of all the weekend’s action:
Leinster triumph again at the Aviva
Two tries from veteran Isa Nacewa set the Aviva Stadium in Dublin alight on Saturday, as Leinster leapfrogged fierce rivals Munster in the Guinness PRO12 standings with a 25-14 inter-pro derby win.
Munster have started this season in fine fettle, but have now only won one of their last six clashes against Irish opposition, and Leo Cullen’s men have now won seven of their last eight meetings at the Aviva Stadium.
It was nip and tuck for a while in Dublin as skipper Peter O’Mahony crossed for the visitors in the first half, but they were not clinical enough with their opportunities and Nacewa punished them for it with a try in each half.
Jamison Gibson-Park also crossed in the second period for the boys in blue, before Munster got a late consolation try through Jaco Taute.
That result sent Leinster up to second in the Guinness PRO12 standings, as thanks to Ulster’s defeat at champions Connacht they now only narrowly trail on points difference.
— Jamison Gibson Park (@JamisonGPark) October 9, 2016
Kelleher inspires Connacht performance worthy of champions
Cian Kelleher bagged a double for defending Guinness PRO12 champions Connacht as they inflicted a first defeat of the season on Ulster.
The 30-25 win in Galway continued the resurgence that has seen Pat Lam’s side earn back-to-back victories following a disastrous start to their campaign to defend their Guinness PRO12 crown – with Kelleher Ulster’s chief tormentor.
Connacht started like an express train and built up a 22-8 lead by the break, with Jack Carty crossing the whitewash after only three minutes, before Kelleher finished off a flowing team move and replacement James Connolly added a third try straight from the restart.
Ulster looked shell-shocked but were given a foothold in the game when Conor Carey was sin-binned, and Craig Gilroy took full advantage of the numerical superiority to score out wide, before two quick second-half tries from Rory Best and Jared Payne threatened a comeback.
However, Kelleher scored his second try of the night on 52 minutes to edge his side in front and they held on for the win.
— Connacht Rugby (@connachtrugby) October 7, 2016
Scarlets finally wear down resilient Dragons
Scarlets brought up their third win on the bounce, but were made to work hard for their 31-27 triumph by Newport Gwent Dragons.
Despite Steff Evans’ early try, it was the visitors that roared into the lead through Hallam Amos and Adam Warren’s try-double – but Liam Williams responded before the interval to keep Wayne Pivac’s men in touch.
Jonathan Evans and Steff Evans then put the hosts firmly back in control, and while a converted try for Sarel Pretorius set up a grandstand finish to the game, it was not to be for the visitors.
The win helped the Llanelli outfit close to gap to Welsh rivals Cardiff Blues and the Guinness PRO12 top six, while the Dragons stay in tenth after a four-game losing streak.
— Scarlets (@scarlets_rugby) October 10, 2016
Ospreys put Blues to the sword
Early pace-setters Cardiff Blues slipped to their second straight league defeat when they travelled to Ospreys on Friday, with Eli Walker starring with two tries for the hosts in a 46-24 win.
Kristian Dacey drove over early on for the Blues, but Ospreys reeled off seven tries in a convincing victory.
Alun Wyn Jones, Walker (twice) and Dimitri Arhip all scored before the break for the Ospreys as they took control of the game, while Ben John and Dan Evans touched down straight after half-time in the romp, with Josh Matavesi adding try number seven.
Dan Fish’s first-half yellow card cost the Blues dear as Ospreys wrestled all the momentum from their visitors, although Tom James and Reynold Lee-Lo pulled scores back for Cardiff after the hour mark to soften the defeat slightly.
— Ospreys (@ospreys) 8 October 2016
Glasgow battle to victory in Parma
It was a perfect return to the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi for Leonardo Sarto, who scored against his former club to help new side Glasgow Warriors to their fourth win of the season.
The Italian international dotted down soon after the restart following superb work by man-of-the-match Nick Grigg, with the centre delivering a masterclass to play his part in three tries in the Warriors’ 33-28 success.
Against a side who had not beaten them in eight previous encounters in the competition, 2014/15 Guinness PRO12 champions Glasgow Warriors were not exactly dominant as Oliviero Fabiani, Giovanbattista Venditti, and Andries van Schalkwyk kept Zebre in touch.
But Sean Lamont was also on hand to score twice in a bonus-point win.
Pool recovery is underway. It is far from warm in there. pic.twitter.com/V5jRzwp2Ot
— Glasgow Warriors ? (@GlasgowWarriors) 9 October 2016
Edinburgh dominant in Hodge’s first home game
Seven tries were scored by the hosts at BT Murrayfield to record a 45-10 victory over Benetton Treviso in only Hodge’s second game in charge.
Damien Hoyland’s try-double in the first half sent Edinburgh on their way, and Hamish Watson and Magnus Bradbury joined him on the scoresheet to wrap up the bonus point before the interval.
Marco Fuser’s try after the break was no more than a consolation score as Tom Brown added two more and Blair Kinghorn rounded off an almost perfect night for Edinburgh with a well-taken try on his first start of the season.
Rory Sutherland pulled on the Edinburgh jersey for the 50th time on the night while at the other end of the spectrum, young prop Murray McCallum came off the bench for his first professional appearance.
— Murray McCallum (@m4gnet_) 7 October 2016
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