Munster moved to the top of the Guinness PRO12 table scoring five tries in a 33-0 victory over Ospreys on Friday night.
The Irish province leapfrogged Ospreys and are two points ahead of Leinster, who play on Saturday, while Ulster slipped to a 28-17 defeat at Edinburgh.
Elsewhere on Friday, Willis Halaholo scored a try on debut as Cardiff Blues came from behind to beat Benetton Treviso 34-28 and Newport Gwent Dragons got their second win of the season 21-16 against Connacht.
Munster 33-0 Ospreys
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) November 4, 2016
Munster are unbeaten in their last three after Friday’s result and Robin Copeland was delighted to see the squad’s hard work on the training ground paying off on the field.
Dave Kilcoyne crossed twice as Munster secured a try bonus point in just 53 minutes at a sold-out Irish Independent Park.
Darren Sweetnam, Ronan O’Mahony and Copeland, in his first start of the season, all scored tries for the hosts as Tyler Bleyendaal kicked four conversions.
“Winning is a habit but it takes a lot of hard work to get that habit going,” Copeland said.
“We’re putting in the work and thankfully we’re getting the fruits of our labour. It was great to end this block of games with a win and we’re in a really good place.
“They’re a tough side and they’ve got some exceptional players especially in the backs so to keep them to nought and score five tries ourselves is a real testament to where we are at the moment.
“We worked hard on the game plan during the week and we executed it really well in the game which is really positive going forward.”
Edinburgh 28-17 Ulster
Great to bounce back after a tough result last week. Boys put in a massive shift tonight. Thanks to 5k+ supporters there tonight! ⚫️????????????
— Tom Brown (@TomBrown_15) November 5, 2016
Acting head coach Duncan Hodge insists significant improvements must still be made by his side despite a strong first-half performance paving the way for success over Ulster.
Edinburgh bounced back from their defeat to Zebre last week by racing into a 21-3 lead at the break at BT Murrayfield and held on for a tight victory.
Viliame Mata and Damien Hoyland both scored first-half tries with Magnus Bradbury adding a third score but Ulster tries from debutant Aaron Cairns and Jason Stockdale did give the Scottish side a scare.
“That performance won’t be enough in two weeks’ time; that’s what we have to think, and we have to keep marching on,” Hodge said.
“But those guys should take some plaudits for how they stood up to some world-class Ulster players.
“What we now need is that consistency and we’ve got to eradicate instances like last week.
“There are definitely going to be bigger challenges along the way, but take away some of the technical stuff – if we show some of that application and enthusiasm and intent, that’s a great building block.”
Newport Gwent Dragons 21-16 Connacht
Two cracking tries from Ashton Hewitt tonight!
— BBC ScrumV (@BBCScrumV) November 4, 2016
Head coach Kingsley Jones is hoping Rodney Parade becomes a fortress following victory over Connacht and praised the spirit amongst the squad after a difficult start to the season.
Ashton Hewitt grabbed a try double as the Dragons secured their second league win of the season against last year’s Guinness PRO12 champions.
Angus O’Brien added two drop goals in an 11-point haul for the hosts at Rodney Parade while Niyi Adeolokun managed a consolation score for Connacht.
“We had the crowd helping us when we were defending,” Jones said.
“We need to keep our performances at that level so that we keep this crowd with us, then Rodney Parade will become a more and more difficult place to play.
“It was a nervy finish but we stuck to it. The way that they are playing for each other is brilliant and that’s full credit to the captain and the leaders in the team.”
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) November 4, 2016
Benetton Treviso 28-34 Cardiff Blues
Cardiff Blues head coach Danny Wilson was thrilled to see Sam Warburton play a full 80 minutes as they secured a comeback victory away in Italy.
Steven Shingler kicked five penalties and two conversions to get Wilson’s men over the line as Rhun Williams and Macauley Cook both scored tries.
Treviso had led 21-16 at the break and went on to secure two bonus points in defeat as Dean Budd, Alberto Sgarbi, Michael Tagicakibau and Abraham Steyn all crossed the whitewash.
“I’m really pleased with the performance. Some of our attacking rugby was outstanding. We said all week it’s a big night if you can get a win out here,” Wilson said.
“I thought [Sam Warburton’s] performance, considering he’d been out for a few weeks, was top-drawer Sam.
“He went out there and really delivered, led the side well when Matthew [Rees] went off, and I’m sure he’ll be back in a Welsh shirt very soon.”
— Jarrad Hoeata (@Hoeata) November 4, 2016
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