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Guinness PRO12 weekend round-up: Williams, Dillane and Gray shine

Guinness PRO12 Rugby Editor

14 Nov 2016

©INPHO/James Crombie

No Guinness PRO12 action this week, but after some stunning performances from Ultan Dillane, Jonny Gray and Liam Williams in the Autumn Tests, we run the rule over all the action.

Key Takeaways:

  • Joe Schmidt was mightily impressed by Connacht’s Guinness PRO12-winning lock Dillane after he shone in Ireland’s 52-21 win against Canada, topping the Irish tackle charts and scoring a try.
  • Connacht teammate Tiernan O’Halloran was exceptional for Ireland, his outrageous pace on display as he scored two tries as Ireland coasted to victory.
  • British & Irish Lions legend Barry John was full of praise for Welsh winger Liam Williams, whose excellent finish helped Wales to their 24-20 win over Argentina.
  • Osprey Alun Wyn Jones made a stellar return to Wales colours, invigorating Rob Howley’s side and earning the man of the match award.
  • Vern Cotter praised his side’s defensive integrity despite them falling to a late Tevita Kuridrani try and a second one-point loss in as many games against the Wallabies.
  • Glasgow Warriors lock Jonny Gray led a huge defensive shift in the second half, making 24 tackles, as well as scoring a try.

Best Quotes:

Joe Schmidt on Ireland and Connacht lock Ultan Dillane:

“I think he did really well. His ability to carry the ball, to carry it again and then get up and carry again was really impressive. He got off the line and made some really good tackles as well, so either side of the ball he did really well,” Schmidt explained.

“There’s no better man than Joe to put together a game plan to go and attack them this week,” said Cronin, with Ireland desperate to back up the 40-29 victory at Soldier Field.

Legendary Wales No. 10 Barry John on Liam Williams:

He said: “Liam Williams is a true inspiration. He showed in New Zealand [on the summer tour] that he doesn’t care what jersey he is up against. He has no inhibitions whatsoever. He is a confident man. He takes anybody on, he is very aggressive, his self-belief is sky high. It rubs off on other players.”

Vern Cotter after his side’s heartbreaking 23-22 loss to the Wallabies:

“What you like about it is the boys were just doing things for each other. You can make changes but it doesn’t matter because the team still has its focus on where it wants to go,” he said
“I think we turned over two or three balls 30 metres from our line. The defensive integrity was great.”

Best Tweets: 

First-time Scotland starter Hamish Watson: 

Ultan Dillane thriving in open spaces:


Liam Williams and Alun Wyn Jones combining for Wales: 

Result  of the weekend:

It was a try immediately dubbed a ‘try of the year contender’, but last night Jamie Heaslip’s finish after a spectacular length of the field effort in Ireland’s 58-15 win over Italy in the 2016 RBS 6 Nations was named exactly that at the World Rugby awards.

Ireland scored nine tries in victory over Italy in Round 4 of this year’s Six Nations – the most they have ever scored in a Championship match – with Heaslip grabbing two of the scores.

But it was the No.8’s first on 39 minutes that stuck in the fans’ memories and was named try of the year after a public vote.

The move started in the Irish 22 with the Men in Green showing great hands to recycle the ball quickly, with action going across the pitch right to left before Heaslip was on hand to crash over the line to finish off the fine free-flowing team move.

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