New Year’s Eve brought a feast of festive rugby, Munster and Connacht battled at the Sportsground, Ulster travelled to the RDS and the Scottish sides went on an Italian odyssey.
Here’s all you need to know about December 31 in the Guinness PRO12.
- Stuart Hogg filling the No. 10 jersey stole the headlines before the game, but it was Rory Clegg who rose from the bench to rescue a win for Glasgow Warriors away to Benetton Treviso.
- Tommy Seymour, Adam Ashe, Nick Grigg, Hogg and then Clegg all scored, with the Scotland full-back – on his first start at fly-half for Glasgow – kicking five conversions.
- Duncan Weir pulled the strings and booted 14 points for Edinburgh as they ended a three-game losing streak in the Guinness PRO12.
- Chris Dean and Viliami Helu also crossed for Duncan Hodge’s side, while Zebre fought back to grab a late losing bonus point, Andries Van Schalkwyk barging over with the last play.
- Munster made light work of numerous notable absentees for their trip to the Sportsground as Ian Keatley masterminded a 16-9 win that ensured they finished 2016 top of the Guinness PRO12.
- Rory O’Loughlin ran in two tries as he inspired Leinster to a 22-7 victory over provincial rivals Ulster at the RDS, with his first in particular a spectacular effort.
- Leo Cullen’s side moved into second as Luke McGrath also crossed, but are still five points behind Munster in the Guinness PRO12 standings.
Les Kiss unimpressed with Ulster:
“Leinster were very clinical with their opportunities and we were error-ridden, to tell you the truth, in that first half,” Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss said.
Rory O’Loughlin talks through his fine solo score:
“Once I went through the initial gap, I tried to make a decision as early as possible and just go 100 per cent,” the 22-year-old said.
“There have been times earlier in the year when I’ve made an initial break and been a bit hesitant and got stuck in two minds and that’s when you get caught.
“I’d been advised by the coaches to just back myself and go for it, which is what I did there and, thankfully, it worked out.”
Gregor Townsend delighted with stand-off Hogg:
“Stuart was great,” said Townsend. “Especially his goal kicking, a 100 per cent record in his first game as our first-choice goal kicker is fantastic.
“His intercept try was excellent, to go the length of the field when an international winger is chasing you shows just how quick he is.
“It will be a game for him to grow as a rugby player. He will have more understanding of the depth you need at first receiver, the decisions you have to make and the time you have on the ball.”
Rassie Erasmus playing it cool:
“You always bite yourself in the arse if you say something stupid here and now, but I just think we have a lot of potential,” said director of rugby Erasmus after Munster’s victory in Galway.
Returning Adam Ashe relishes travelling fans:
I was overwhelmed by the travelling support for yesterday’s game in Treviso. Amazing!
Happy new year, and Love to everyone!
— Adam Ashe (@adamashe93) January 1, 2017
Proud Simon Zebo praises Munster:
— Simon Zebo (@SimonZebo) December 31, 2016
Man of the match Rory O’Loughlin:
— PRO12RUGBY (@PRO12rugby) December 31, 2016
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