The opening round of Celtic League matches saw Irish sides claim 100% success with Munster and Ulster winning in Wales, Connacht winning in Scotland and Leinster to good for Pontypridd in Dublin.
Leinster’s 31-18 win over Pontypridd ensured the title holders a maximum points haul. They had a brace of tries from Brian O’Driscoll and Denis Hickie – the two outstanding performers on the night – and a fifth from Malcolm O’Kelly.
In Wales David Humphreys kicked four penalties for Ulster who led 12-0 as a dull game drifted to a close before Paddy Wallace scored a late try to give the final scoreline a flattering aspect.
And in Selkirk, a 45 metre injury time drop goal from Mark McHugh gave Connacht a one point win (28-27) over Scottish newcomers, Borders.
Newport came a cropper at home where they were beaten 13-5 by Bridgend whose Lion Daffyd James scored a try to cap a marvellous personal performance.
Munster turned in a gutsy performance in Stradey Park to beal Llanelli 20-13, the Munster try coming from Mossie Lawlor in the closing minutes following a clever cross-field kick by Ronan O’Gara.