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Magners League: Round 19 Review

Magners League: Round 19 Review

After the recent disappointments in Europe, it was encouraging to see three of the four Irish provinces post wins in the latest round of action in the Magners League. Leinster and Ulster kept up the pace at the top of the table with away wins, while Munster got the better of their Heineken Cup conquerors Llanelli at home and Connacht were unfortunate to come up against a Dan Parks-inspired Glasgow side in Galway.

Rhys Williams was the toast of the Arms Park on Saturday evening following a hat-trick on his return from injury. The Welsh winger, absent since October with a hip injury, scored three tries in nine hectic minutes in the Cardiff Blues’ emphatic eight-try victory over Edinburgh, the quickest ever hat-trick of all time in the League. The Blues still have two games in hand over the Magners League leaders Leinster, and the win kept their title hopes alive.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Munster gained an element of revenge over their European conquerors Llanelli Scarlets at Musgrave Park, though they could not score the elusive fourth bonus point try in a 20-0 victory over the Heineken Cup semi-finalists, whose own title hopes were dented by this result.

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However Leinster remain in pole position after scraping home at Rodney Parade by a single point on Friday evening. Not even Adam Black’s two tries could help the Newport Gwent Dragons extend their unbeaten 10-match home run. Brian Blaney touched down for the visitors, as did Chris Whitaker, with Felipe Contepomi adding the rest.

Also on Friday, Ulster took advantage of the Ospreys’ free weekend to move back into second place. They scored three tries at Netherdale through Stephen Ferris, Bryn Cunningham and Andy Maxwell. The victory extended the Irish province’s good run in Scotland, but the Ospreys now have two games in hand over them.

Finally, Connacht failed to triumph in their final home game of the season against Glasgow Warriors. In a high-scoring game at the Sportsground, the visitors scored four tries to the hosts’ three with Dan Parks kicking 20 points.

It now looks like a straight fight to the finish between the top four teams – Leinster, Ulster, Ospreys and Cardiff Blues, with the Welsh regions both having two games in hand over the Irish sides.

Three of those four teams are in action again before the next full round of Magners League games on April 28 – Cardiff Blues host Ulster next Friday, while the Ospreys make the short trip to Llanelli to play the Scarlets on Tuesday week, after their hosts return form the English midlands having played Leicester Tigers in the Heineken Cup semi-final.


– Friday, April 13 –

BORDER REIVERS (6) 9 ULSTER (13) 33, Netherdale (Att: 3,252)

Scorers: Borders: Pens: Steve Jones 3
Ulster: Tries: Stephen Ferris, Andrew Maxwell, Bryn Cunningham; Cons: David Humphreys 3; Pens: David Humphreys 4

CONNACHT (8) 23 GLASGOW WARRIORS (23) 40, The Sportsground (Att: 1,331)

Scorers: Connacht: Tries: Paul Warwick, Conor McPhillips, Penalty try; Con: Paul Warwick; Pens: Paul Warwick 2
Glasgow Warriors: Tries: John Barclay, Rory Lamont, Hefin O’Hare, Kevin Tkachuk; Cons: Dan Parks 4; Pens: Dan Parks 3; Drop: Dan Parks

NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS (15) 22 LEINSTER (10) 23, Rodney Parade (Att: 5,442)

Scorers: Dragons: Tries: Steve Jones, Adam Black 2; Cons: Ceri Sweeney, Aled Thomas; Pen: Ceri Sweeney
Leinster: Tries: Brian Blaney, Chris Whitaker; Cons: Felipe Contepomi 2; Pens: Felipe Contepomi 3

– Saturday, April 14 –

CARDIFF BLUES (36) 48 EDINBURGH (0) 0, Arms Park (Att: 4,527)

Scorers: Cardiff: Tries: Andy Powell, Rhys Williams 3, Mike Phillips, Ben Blair 2, Nick Macleod; Cons: Ben Blair 3, Nick Macleod
Edinburgh: –

MUNSTER (8) 20 LLANELLI SCARLETS (0) 0, Musgrave Park (Att: 6,500)

Scorers: Munster: Tries: Marcus Horan, Barry Murphy, Anthony Foley; Con: Ronan O’Gara; Pen: Ronan O’Gara
Llanelli: –


160 – Felipe Contepomi (Leinster)
156 – Dan Parks (Glasgow Warriors)
148 – David Humphreys (Ulster)
141 – Ben Blair (Cardiff Blues)
127 – Ceri Sweeney (Newport Gwent Dragons)
113 – Chris Paterson (Edinburgh)
101 – Mark McHugh (Connacht)
90 – Paul Warwick (Connacht)
79 – Ceiron Thomas (Llanelli Scarlets)
78 – James Hook (Ospreys)
77 – Stephen Jones (Llanelli Scarlets)
72 – Jeremy Manning (Munster)
68 – Calum MacRae (Border Reivers)
59 – Ronan O’Gara (Munster)
55 – Duncan Hodge (Edinburgh)
49 – Shaun Connor (Ospreys)
47 – Colin Gregor (Glasgow Warriors)
42 – Paul Steinmetz (Ulster)
35 – Darren Daniel (Llanelli Scarlets)
33 – Nick Robinson (Cardiff Blues)


7 – Darren Daniel (Llanelli Scarlets)
6 – Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Denis Hickie (Leinster), Dafydd James (Llanelli Scarlets)
5 – Aled Brew (Newport Gwent Dragons), Barry Davies (Llanelli Scarlets), Adam Black (Newport Gwent Dragons), Ben Blair (Cardiff Blues), Bryn Cunningham (Ulster), Paul Steinmetz (Ulster), Andrew Trimble (Ulster)
4 – Tommy Bowe (Ulster), Lee Byrne (Ospreys), Thom Evans (Glasgow Warriors), Gavin Evans (Llanelli Scarlets), Regan King (Llanelli Scarlets), Matt Mostyn (Connacht), Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster), Hefin O’Hare (Glasgow Warriors), Kevin Tkachuk (Glasgow Warriors), Nikki Walker (Ospreys), Paul Warwick (Connacht), Simon Webster (Edinburgh)