RaboDirect Pro12 wrap: Ulster under the weather
RaboDirect Pro12 wrap: Gareth Llewellyn-Stevens looks back at the domestic action during the Six Nations break
Ulster under the weather
Ulster’s match against the Scarlets was called off on Friday afternoon after rain left the pitch unplayable. Both sides were keen to reschedule the match for 24 hours later, but their hopes were thwarted by a lack of available hotel rooms in Belfast to accommodate the visitors and the match could now take place next month. The postponement means Ulster slip down to fifth, level on points with Glasgow Warriors who came from behind for the second time in a week to record a 27-20 win at Cardiff Blues through Mark Bennett’s late try, but the Scottish side have a better points difference to take fourth, with a game in hand over the Irish province.
Connacht jump Zebre
Irish province Connacht moved off the bottom of the Pro12 with a surprise 11-7 win over Edinburgh on Saturday night in the lowest scoring match of the round. The result was just Connacht’s third league win in a difficult season as they bounced back from a disappointing 8-6 loss to the Warriors the week before with Michael Swift’s second-half try turning around Edinburgh’s 7-3 lead at the break after Roddy Grant went over in the opening 10 minutes for the Scottish side. Pat Lam’s side travel to Italy this week to take on Zebre at the Stadio XXV Aprile with a win over their fellow strugglers likely to edge them even closer to the middle of the table.
Wales can be Biggar and better
Wales’ woes against Ireland continue to be major talking points ahead of Friday’s clash with France at the Millennium Stadium with Mike Phillips and Rhys Priestland among the players under fire, but the performances of Ospreys half-backs Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar in the first half of an 11-try record 75-7 win against Treviso on Sunday showcased why both should be promoted to starting berths in the international side. Wales have lacked creativity in attack and both Webb and Biggar were instrumental ran riot in the first half at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday. But head coach Gatland has hinted there may be changes with many fans fearing it won’t be in backs. If the Ospreys’ Pro12 match is anything to go by, Webb and Biggar as a partnership offers more against France than Philips and Priestland, but with a five-day turnaround for the Ospreys players it’s unlikely they’ll start which puts more pressure on the Kiwi after he allowed them to return to their region. Ospreys captain Jonathan Spratt also had another great game with two tries and could be an option to fix Wales’ injury crisis at centre.
Munster and Leinster maintain play-off push
Leinster came from behind at the RDS to pick up a bonus-point 31-19 win against an ill-disciplined Newport Gwent Dragons side who gave up two penalty tries mid-way through the second half after stunning the reigning champions with two early tries through Ashley Smith and Richie Rees at the start of the second half. It was an easier run-out for Munster at Musgrave Park against Zebre despite going behind early in the match as Irish wing Simon Zebo spearheaded a recovery with two tries in seven minutes before the break to give the Munster a 36-8 bonus-point win to displace rivals Leinster at the top of the table.