It was a good night for Ulster and Leinster with both winning their Magners League clashes.
Ulster easily beat Cardiff Blues at Ravenhill and Leinster were always on top against their Italian opposition in the RDS.
Leinster took time to find their stride before eventually running out easy 30-5 winners over Benetton Treviso at the RDS in the Magners League.
Isa Nacewa hit three early penalties to set Leinster on their way, and the home sides excellent finishing was the difference between the sides.
David Kearney and Ian McKinley added tries either side of half-time for Leinster, with Treviso flanker Gonzalo Padro scoring in first half injury-time.
The Italians had lock Corniel van Zyl sinbinned and gave away a late try to Leinster winger Andrew Conway, which Nacewa converted for a 25-point winning margin.
Treviso’s full-back Joe Maddock caused Leinster’s defence problems early on, but winger Benjamin de Jager was unable to supply the finish in the corner.
Nacewa knocked over three penalties in the opening 15 minutes, with Treviso outside-half Willem de Waal missing two.
After 28th minutes, Leinster finally scored a try. Outside-half McKinley skipped away from de Waal’s tackle and offloaded for Kearney into who stepped inside Maddock to score by the posts. Nacewa converted for a 16-0 lead.
Treviso kept battling and finally got what they deserved after building pressure through their forwards. de Waal kicked a penalty to touch and although Leinster initially held out, a subsequent drive from close range saw Padro crash over in the left corner for an unconverted score.
Leading 16-5 at the break, Leinster wrapped up the game with an excellent 46th minute try.
Dominic Ryan led a counter-attack, Isaac Boss, McKinley, Nacewa and Kearney were all involved as they gained ground and McKinley jinked past the final defender to score to the left of the posts. Nacewa again added the conversion. The game was over in the 56th minute when van Zyl was yellow carded for infringing in the ruck.
Leinster’s third try finally came in injury-time with Conway scoring in the right corner after a pass from Ian Madigan was nicked on by Strauss.
Ulster remained on course for a top-four finish in the Magners League with a bonus-point win over Cardiff Blues.
First-half tries from Craig Gilroy and Ruan Pienaar set Ulster set the platform with further scores coming from Andrew Trimble and Luke Marshall. Ian Humphreys kicked a further 12 points seeing the Blues off comfortably.
Ulster started brightly and Nevin Spence made it over the Blues line in the opening minute only for referee James Jones to call play back for an infringement. But they got their opening score from a rather unlikely passage of play.
Humphreys had just missed a long-range penalty from 52 metres when the Blues restarted and gave the ball back to the Ulster out half.
He collected, ran towards the Cardiff cover and chipped over it, re-gathering the ball on the bounce and drawing the remaining tacklers before offloading to Gilroy, who ran in under the posts to give Humphreys the easy conversion. Three minutes later, Humphreys had another long-range penalty from more or less exactly the same spot. This time he succeeded it and Ulster led 10-0.
Cardiff hit back and worked the ball right, Ceri Sweeney playing a one-two with Dan Fish for the full-back to knock the ball under the sticks. Sweeney added the conversion and the Blues were back in the game.
Five minutes before the half hour though, Ulster kicked a penalty to touch and, from the resulting lineout, Spence smashed through and set up a series of phases which saw Pienaar dart over from close range. Humphreys’ conversion gave Ulster a clear 10-point lead.
The Blues narrowed that just after the half hour when Tim Barker was penalised at a ruck and Sweeney scored as the half ended with Ulster leading 17-10.
The hosts should probably have extended their lead six minutes into the second period after Cardiff were penalised at a scrum but Humphreys pushed the kick wide. The latter made up for it though after 50 minutes when another great surge from Ulster saw Humphreys’ pass creating the chance for Trimble to power past Tom James and make the right corner, the television match official giving the score.
Ian Humphreys was missed the difficult conversion but Ulster now led 22-10. Sweeney got the Blues back to within nine points with a 56th-minute penalty after Declan Fitzpatrick was penalised at a scrum, but Ulster extended their lead again with a Humphreys penalty on the hour mark.
The home side then dug deep to survive when Paddy McCallister was harshly binned for apparently not rolling away from a tackle on Rhys Downes and the Blues were unable to make any headway on the scoreboard. Marshall then added a fourth try under the posts after another nice Ulster move, with Humphreys adding the extra points
Friday, 26 February 2011
The Magners League
Leinster 30-5 Benetton Treviso Result
Ulster 32-13 Cardiff Blues Result