Heineken Cup: Pool 4Munster 20 Neath-Swansea Ospreys 10, Thomond ParkScorers: Munster: Tries: Anthony Foley, Christian Cullen; Cons: Paul Burke 2; Pens: Burke 2Ospreys: Try: Shane Williams; Con: Gavin Henson; Pen: Gavin Henson
Munster remained on course for a seventh successive quarter-final in three months' time as they battered away the best the Neath-Swansea Ospreys could throw at them in Limerick.
Alan Gaffney's men chalked up their fourth pool win and third success against their Welsh rivals this season as they overcame a stuttering start, during which Wales winger Shane Williams sprinted over for a sixth-minute converted score.
The Celtic League pace-setters duelled through a stop-start battle, effectively decided by two Munster tries from Anthony Foley and Christian Cullen in the final six minutes of the first half.
Injured Ronan O'Gara had an able deputy in Paul Burke, as the 31-year-old - making his first European start since joining the province in the summer - had a perfect four-from-four night with his right boot for Munster.
Munster now lead Pool 4 again, ahead of next Saturday's trip to face NEC Harlequins at Twickenham. Burke - a former employee of the Londoners, knows Munster will have only one thing on their minds.
The 31-year-old said: "I'm pretty pleased. In the second half, we could have taken the sting out of the game - but we'll get better.
Next weekend will be my first time back in London since the summer - and we've got to get the win and the bonus point."
(15) Christian Cullen(14) Mossy Lawlor(13) Shaun Payne(12) Mike Mullins(11) Anthony Horgan(10) Paul Burke(9) Peter Stringer(1) Marcus Horan(2) Frankie Sheahan(3) John Hayes(4) Donncha O'Callaghan(5) Paul O'Connell(6) Alan Quinlan(7) Denis Leamy(8) Anthony Foley
Replacements used: Gordon McIlwham for Hayes (77 mins). Not used: Jerry Flannery, Trevor Hogan, Jim Williams, Mike Prendergast, Jason Holland, James Storey.
HT: Munster 17 Ospreys 7; Attendance: 13,200Referee: Chris White (England)
Pool 2:Bath 23 Leinster 27, The Recreation GroundScorers: Bath: Tries: Danny Grewcock, Brendon Daniel; Cons: Chris Malone, Olly Barkley; Pens: Barkley 2; Drop gl: Malone Leinster: Tries: Shane Jennings, David Holwell, Malcolm O'Kelly; Cons: Holwell 3; Pens: Holwell 2
Two late converted tries from David Holwell and Malcolm O'Kelly handed Leinster a dramatic fifth Pool 2 win at Bath's Rec ground, almost assuring them of a precious home quarter final in April.
Leinster are now the only side left in the competition with a 100% record.
Declan Kidney's side - containing 13 Irish internationals - came from 10 points down midway through the second half, to carve open their Zurich Premiership hosts in the final five minutes as Holwell and the returning O'Kelly touched down on 77 and 79 minutes.
New Zealand fly-half Holwell - who was on a tally of 67 points from the previous four Rounds - also kicked two penalties, and converting all three of Leinster's tries for a 17-point haul.
The Kiwi celebrated what was his 30th birthday weekend in fine style - moving to the top of the Cup's scoring charts, on 84 points - four clear of the Ospreys' Gavin Henson.
Young flanker Shane Jennings had got Leinster off to the perfect start when stealing a third minute Dave Ward lineout, intended for England international Danny Grewcock, to cross the whitewash.
Despite recovering well and scoring tries through Grewcock and wing Brendon Daniel, Bath - who owned as much as 80% of the game's possession in the second half - were eventually dumped out of the competition.
Kidney, whose side take on Benetton Treviso at home next weekend, said: "You have days when things go for you and other days when things go against you. We are starting to get a bit of stickability, but Bath played well and we were up against a good team."
"The great thing about this competition is that it is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster ride.
"If you get judged on results, then we are reasonably happy. If we are judged on performance, then we have still got a lot of work to do."
(15) Girvan Dempsey(14) Shane Horgan(13) Brian O'Driscoll(12) Gordon D'Arcy
Replacements used: Ricky Nebbett for E Byrne (48 mins), Aidan McCullen for Cullen (53), Ciaran Potts for Jennings (67), Felipe Contepomi for D'Arcy (75). Not used: David Blaney, Brian O'Meara, Kieran Lewis.
Sin-bin: Duncan Bell (Bath) (38 mins)HT: Bath 13 Leinster 13; Attendance: 10,500Referee: Joel Jutge (France)
Pool 6:Ulster 14 Gloucester 12, RavenhillScorers: Ulster: Try: Bryn Cunningham; Pens: David Humphreys 3Gloucester: Pens: Henry Paul 3; Drop gl: Simon Amor
Ulster slugged out a much-needed win over Gloucester on Friday night at a rainswept Ravenhill, to maintain their four-year unbeaten Heineken Cup home record and keep their Pool 6 hopes alives.
Fly-half David Humphreys - who had scored 52 of Ulster's 62 points in the previous four Rounds - was one of their heroes again, as he struck the match-winning penalty - his third of the night - seven minutes from time.
Full back Bryn Cunningham angled through for a 46th-minute try as the northerners won out thanks to some dogged defending and good decision-making in the final helter skelter minutes, picking off their 12th straight Cup win in Belfast.
Ulster were have been down 12-3 at half-time, as Nigel Melville's side dictated much of the first half territory, and crucially had Henry Paul in goal-kicking form as he struck three penalties in poor conditions.
England Sevens captain Simon Amor clipped over a 40th-minute drop goal to see the Cherry-and-Whites to their interval lead - but Ulster were unfortunate to lose out on a late try as wing Tommy Bowe had a seemingly legitimate score disallowed for offside, after collecting Humphreys' punt through.
Back in the hunt however, thanks to Cunningham's follow-up on another Humphreys kick and Bowe's neat collect and inside pass, Ulster almost allowed Gloucester an immediate reply as wing Marcel Garvey was unlucky not to pick up a loose ball cleanly with the Ulster line in sight.
Centre Terry Fanolua was also in the mire as he dropped the ball on the hour, with an evident Gloucester overlap out wide, but Humphreys' superb kicking - slotting two penalties in six minutes - with his first on 69 minutes, brilliantly hit from near the touchline, and second drawing the home side in front for the first time, saw Ulster victorious.
His opposite number Amor did have a late chance to steal the points, but his 20-metre drop goal crept wide, and in truth, on their second half performance, Gloucester hardly merited what would have been a fourth Pool win.
Ulster's hopes of making a first quarter final since winning the competition back in 1999 are slim - given they can only finish on 17 points. All eyes and ears will be at Kingsholm next Sunday, as Pool leaders Stade Francais (19 points) take on Melville's second-placed side (14).At the same time, McCall's charges take on bottom side Cardiff - who lost 35-16 to Stade on Friday - with nothing but a bonus point win on their minds at the Arms Park (kick-off 3.00pm).
Former Ireland Under-21 coach McCall expressed his satisfaction afterwards.
"12-3 down at half time - perhaps a couple of months ago, given our form at the time - I don't think we would have come back from that," he said."But we stayed calm in the second half and picked up points at the right time. It was tiring and we had a lot of defending to do, but to win three games out of five in a group that also includes Stade Francais, Gloucester and Cardiff is not too bad."
(15) Bryn Cunningham(14) Tommy Bowe(13) Kevin Maggs(12) Paul Steinmetz(11) Tyrone Howe(10) David Humphreys(9) Kieran Campbell(1) Simon Best(2) Rory Best(3) Rod Moore(4) Gary Longwell(5) Matt McCullough(6) Campbell Feather (Capt)(7) Neil Best(8) Roger Wilson
Replacements used: Paul Shields for R Best (46 mins), Andy Ward for Feather (60), Rowan Frost for Longwell (66), Paddy Wallace for Howe (69), Ronan McCormack for Moore (82). Not used: Neil Doak, Adam Larkin.
HT: Ulster 3 Gloucester 12; Attendance: 11,435Referee: Nigel Whitehouse (Wales)