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Ulster Unlucky in Wales

Ulster Unlucky in Wales

An outstanding performance from the Scarlet’s Stephen Jones denied Ulster the Celtic double in Wales on Friday night. Elsewhere there were wins for Munster and Leinster but a loss for Connacht.

An outstanding performance from the Scarlet’s Stephen Jones denied Ulster the
Celtic double in Wales on Friday night. Elsewhere there were wins for Munster
and Leinster but a loss for Connacht.

Scarlets 23-16 Ulster:

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Ulster began well and Humphreys had soon kicked them into the lead with a long-range
penalty effort in the fourth minute. Llanelli soon got to grips with the visitors
however, and ten minutes later Jones opened his account when he sent over a
penalty. The first-half was a low-scoring affair with both sides relying on
the skills of their kickers to leave them level on 9-points apiece at the break.

The Scarlets upped the tempo in front of the packed stadium on the restart
and Matthew Watkins touched down in the 48th minute. Jones missed the conversion,
but he did add another penalty to put his side firmly in charge.Ulster were
never in contention after that and the boot of Jones edged Scarlets further
ahead. Neil McMillan did go over for the Irish province a few minutes from the
end, but his effort was too little too late and the winners medals went to the
Welsh outfit.

Full Details at: www.ulsterrugby.ie

Leinster 56-39 Dragons:

An incredible first half saw seven tries and 54 points as centre Percy Montgomery
inspired an almost sevens-like approach to the game.

Dragons’ number eight Michael Owen put back-row partner Jason Forster over
after five and a half minutes. Ireland skipper Brian O’Driscoll, earning his
50th provincial cap, moved a lovely left-wing switch with Felipe Contepomi to
cross in the corner for an immediate reply.

Lock Malcolm O’Kelly then claimed the first of his brace of tries to edge Leinster
ahead, before the Dragons struck again. First Ben Breeze was put over in the left
corner by lock Peter Sidoli on the quarter hour and then Craig Warlow charged
down Girvan Dempsey to slide gleefully over.

Prop Chris Anthony was next over the line, but the Lions regained their composure
towards the break with two Brian O’Meara penalties and his conversion of James
Norton’s 39th-minute try. With Leinster number eight Victor Costello yellow-carded,
Sidoli was sent clean through for the opening try of the second half.

Norton picked up a bonus point for Leinster with the first of his brace on
the hour mark. Then with Jones off the field for an offence against O’Meara,
the Welsh were torn apart. Tries followed for O’Kelly, Norton, Contepomi and
an injury-time clincher for flanker Niall Ronan as Leinster ended their barren
run and Ruddock left his post to take over as Wales coach on the back of a defeat.

Full Details at: www.leinsterrugby.ie

Borders 10-18 Munster:

Borders got off to a bright start as Gareth Morton fired over a sixth-minute
penalty after Munster crept offside in midfield. But Munster hit back strongly
to grab the initiative. First, Jeremy Staunton levelled the contest when a home
forward entered the ruck from side on.

Then wing Anthony Horgan pounced on turnover ball to cruise over for the opening
touchdown. Staunton added the conversion. Borders suffered a double blow from
which they never recovered. They fell further behind when Anthony Foley was
driven over for Munster’s second try, Staunton keeping up his fine kicking record.

Munster kept up the pressure, but Borders proved stubborn in defence. And the
Irishmen had to rely on another Staunton penalty early in the second half to
get their score moving again. The Scots replied in stirring style with rookie
Ian Berthinussen bagging a fine try, converted by Morton to keep the contest
open, but the Munster defence prevailed.

Full Details at: www.munsterrugby.ie

Connacht 3-20 Warriors:

The home side opened the scoring after 12 minutes with an Eric Elwood penalty
– their only points of the match. But two Ceri Sweeney penalties ensured that
the Warriors led 6-3 at half-time.

And second-half tries from Tongan wing Aisea Havili and centre Sonny Parker
saw the Warriors complete their season with their fifth successive victory.
Connacht made a presentation to Jenkins at the beginning of the match. But the
32-year-old, who entered the fray midway through the second half, did not get
onto the scoresheet despite a couple of his trademark skyscraper kicks.

Full Details at: www.connachtrugby.ie