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Guinness PRO12: Munster stretch lead with vital win

Guinness PRO12 Rugby Editor

28 Dec 2016

Christmas is always a defining point of the Guinness PRO12 season and Munster will hope their victory against Irish rivals Leinster proves to be just that.

The table-toppers eased to a 29-17 victory, while Ospreys, Ulster, Benetton Treviso, Glasgow Warriors and Cardiff Blues were also full of Christmas cheer following equally important wins.

©INPHO/Craig Watson

©INPHO/Craig Watson

Key Takeaways

  • Tries from Simon Zebo, Ronan O’Mahony, Tommy O’Donnell and CJ Stander saw Munster make it five wins in a row in the Guinness PRO12 with victory against Leinster – who were the last side to beat Rassie Erasmus’ men in the league, back in October.
  • Alex Dunbar and Josh Strauss made the difference as Glasgow Warriors secured their first win in four Guinness PRO12 matches with a 25-12 win against Edinburgh, in the first leg of the 1872 Cup.
  • Tommaso Allan inspired Benetton Treviso to a 23-12 win over Italian rivals Zebre, as he scored a try and slotted three penalties to pull his side off the bottom of the table.
  • Allan was not the only fly-half on fire, as Dan Biggar booted four penalties as Ospreys emerged successful from their West Wales derby with Scarlets 19-9, moving second in the table. Biggar became the first Welsh regional rugby player to pass 2,000 points.
  • Ulster inflicted more misery on defending champions Connacht as Stuart McCloskey and Clive Ross scored tries in a convincing 23-7 win at the Kingspan Stadium – moving them into the top four.
  • Sam Warburton made his 100th Cardiff Blues appearance, but it was Steven Shingler who stole the show as he scored one try and made another in their 27-16 win against Newport Gwent Dragons.
Guinness PRO12, Liberty Stadium, Wales27/12/2016 Ospreys vs Scarlets Ospreys' Dan Biggar Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Simon King

©INPHO/Simon King

Best Quotes:

Steve Tandy hails remarkable Biggar

“There’s definitely no luck in and around that. Everything around him is geared to winning games.

“It’s pretty remarkable, but it’s not a real surprise when you look at how much time he spends on the training field.

“It’s a pretty special effort and he’s still got a lot of rugby left in him.”

Rassie Erasmus delighted with major Munster win

“They were missing some of their international players but it was still one of the toughest physically intense games that we’ve played, so to come away with a win is very satisfying.

“It wasn’t a perfect performance but the intensity was almost like a test match.”

Kieran Crowley proud of resilient Treviso

“In the second half we saw the character and spirit of the squad that we want to build. The collective is stronger than the individual and all the players did something to help the team.

“I couldn’t be happier. The thing that pleased me the most was seeing the team spirit and how we reacted to Zebre’s attempts at a comeback.”

Duncan Hodge frustrated by wasteful Edinburgh

“We had possession and territory but couldn’t convert it into points

“We didn’t get enough quick ball. The ball they had was probably quicker and they made better use of it.

“It didn’t seem like there was a lot of space out there for both teams to really attack well.

“The last 15 minutes of the first half was a big turning point. We conceded five or six penalties in a row and they managed to get in front.”

Les Kiss expects Ulster to improve despite win

“There’s parts of our game that we’re just not as consistent as we’d like to be, but I can’t fault the guys for digging in out in those conditions.

“We were the architects of being on the back foot a few times and not finishing them off at times because we made too many errors.

“We just knew it was important to get the win and we got it.”

Danny Wilson calls for improvements on Blues second-half display

“First half we saw some great rugby played, three good tries scored. You think then you can maybe win the game first and go on and look for the bonus point.

“But there were way too many errors and it was a 0-0 second half and that’s a bit disappointing.

“I’m just pleased that we got the win, but maybe it’s a second half when we’ve left it [the bonus point] out there.”

Top Tweets:

Nigel Owens enjoyed Munster v Leinster

Dreams come true at Murrayfield

Sam Warburton celebrates momentous day

Victory puts Louis Ludik in the Christmas spirit

Guinness PRO12 Final 2017 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 adults and €5 child, and be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie. For further information visit http://www.pro12rugby.com/final