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Which Guinness PRO12 players shone this weekend?

Guinness PRO12 Rugby Editor

13 Mar 2017

PRO12 Rugby

With just one Guinness PRO12 match taking place this weekend, amongst an RBS 6 Nations rugby feast, we take a look at which stars shone as we prepare for the business end of the season in domestic rugby.

Many PRO12 players represented their respective nations in the RBS 6 Nations and will be turning their attention to their club form after next weekend.

And with just five remaining league games and play-off places on the line, we are set for an enthralling finish to the season.

PIUTAU AND MARSHALL AT THE DOUBLE AGAINST ZEBRE

In the weekend’s only Guinness PRO12 fixture, a rearranged Round Nine clash, Ulster took advantage of being centre stage with a ten-try victory over Zebre catapulting them into the top four.

Luke Marshall and Charles Piutau scored a double each as the Ulsterman marched to their fifth successive league win, 68-21 the final score.

Scrum-half Ruan Pienaar dotted down a try and slotted six conversions in all, and Ulster now sit four points above Scarlets in fourth place with just five games remaining in the regular season.

Zebre remain rooted to the bottom of the table, two points adrift of Treviso but they do have another rearranged fixture to fulfil against Connacht.

The Italian outfit did not roll over against Ulster and had the scores locked at 7-7 in the first half before a rampant Ulster side proved too much to handle, but Guglielmo Roan and Andrea de Marchi added late tries to ease the Italians’ hurt.

Centre Mattia Bellini and Tommaso Boni of Zebre were both called up by Conor O’Shea for the final round of the Championship as the Italians go in search of their first victory of the campaign when they take on Scotland.

WEBB PIVOTAL TO WELSH CAUSE

Ospreys scrum-half Rhys Webb put in an impressive performance on Friday night as Wales produced a winning display to down Ireland 22-9.

Although perhaps not his most eye-catching game this season, Webb controlled proceedings for the Welsh increasing the tempo when required and played a crucial part in George North’s first try.

His delivery to Scott Williams through a gap in the midfield was followed by a perfect long pass which found Halfpenny and North in the corner.

Webb has become an integral part to how Wales and his club side play and Ospreys will look forward to welcoming him back in Round 18 when they travel to Italy to take on Treviso.

MARMION PASSES TEST

Connacht scrum-half Kieran Marmion has deputised well for Conor Murray in recent weeks but in Round Four of the RBS 6 Nations, he stood up to his sternest test to date.

After Murray took a knock in the first-half it looked as though Marmion would be on before the break but Murray soldiered on, eventually being removed after 45 minutes.

Marmion won his 12th cap in the biggest test of his short international career and stepped up to the plate well.

Despite being on the losing side, Marmion looked at home on the international stage which will please national coach Joe Schmidt and Connacht fans alike.

Connacht will look to finish the season strongly after a disappointing defence to their domestic crown and take on Glasgow Warriors in Round 18 at Scotstoun.

JONES SHINES AHEAD OF PRO12 MOVE

Scotland’s Huw Jones currently plies his trade in South Africa at the Stormers but recently announced he will be playing his club rugby at the Glasgow Warriors from next season.

Jones penned a two-year deal with the Warriors and will be a sparkling addition to the 2015 PRO12 champions.

The powerful centre scored two tries against England in a disappointing result at Twickenham, but Jones proved to be one of the leading lights in Scotland’s attack.

Jones will link up with the likes of Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg at Scotstoun with their understanding at international level likely to stand the club in good stead come next season.