With the Cheetahs shocking upset win over Leinster, it was a monumental moment for the new addition to the Celtic League. In the Guinness Pro14 Round Four review, Last Word on Rugby covers all the winners and losers, and the fixtures for next weekend.
Cheetahs 38-19 Leinster
Shock of the weekend in the Pro14 came at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Friday night. In a sensational night down in the republic, the Cheetahs were able to defeat Leinster despite a Barry Daly hat-trick.
Leinster were huge favourites heading into the game, but suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of the ‘new team on the block’. Backing up, the Cheetahs secured their second bonus-point victory in as many weeks, that followed up on last weeks win over Zebre.
William Small-Smith, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Ox Nche and Luther Obi all scored for the hosts. Ernst Stapleberg added three conversions and four penalties, in an impressive and comfortable victory–even with the heroics of Daly.
The visitors must be guilty of not taking the initiative, allowing the crowd to boost the home team, and help them to a monumental victory.
Leinster host Edinburgh Friday night at the RDS Arena, and will be looking to bounce back smartly following this defeat. The Cheetahs welcome the Ospreys next onto their Free State Stadium, and hope to make it three wins on the bounce.
Glasgow Warriors 37-10 Munster
Another impressive victory came at the Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow, where the hosts demonstrated their title credentials in a stunning bonus point victory over Munster.
The two sides headed into the encounter with 100 per cent winning records in the Guinness PRO14, but it was the Warriors who sent out a message to the rest of the league with a dominant show.
The Glasgow tries came from Leonardo Sarto, Lee Jones, Nick Grigg and Scott Cummings, while the impressive Finn Russell kicked 17 points. Rory Scannell’ and Chris Farrell’ tries were the only positives for the Irish Province in a game they were dominated.
First season head coach Dave Rennie was extremely pleased with success so early in his term. He told BBC Scotland, “We know we can be a lot better than this but I’m happy we made some good shifts tonight.”
“If you’d asked me four weeks ago, you win your first four games, I’d have been stoked.”
Glasgow hope to keep their form going into Friday night’s clash at home to Treviso. While Munster host the Cardiff Blues in Ireland on Saturday hoping to rectify the defeat.
Benetton Treviso 16-6 Ospreys
Benetton Treviso made it back-to-back PRO14 wins, with a 16-6 victory over a struggling Ospreys at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo.
Flanker Braam Steyn went over in the first attack of the game, and that proved decisive, in a low-scoring contest. Fly-half Ian McKinley added two penalties to keep the scoreboard ticking over for the home side. Recent import–and always a game breaker–Marty Banks coolly made the win safe, with a late penalty.
— Benetton Rugby (@BenettonRugby) September 22, 2017
A penalty each for Welsh Internationals Dan Biggar and Sam Davies were all that the Welsh team could muster. While it was bad news, some good came with Alun Wyn Jones making his return off the bench for the Ospreys. He actually made the most of it, with a try disallowed in the second half, for offside.
Treviso will be elated with this run of wins. They cannot let it go to their heads, but fans of Italian Rugby will be cheering louder now, after more wins then they have sometimes had all season.
The struggling Ospreys face a tough trip to South Africa to take on the in-form Cheetahs on Friday night. Benetton Treviso also have a tough fixture, when they host the tough Irish side Ulster.
Ulster 52-25 Dragons
Ulster maintained their perfect start to the Guinness PRO14 season, with a 52-25 eight-try annihilation of the Dragons at the Kingspan Stadium. That win saw the Irish province take top spot in Conference B.
The Dragons incredibly made 13 changes to the team that secured their first victory, last week against Connacht. Ulster took advantage of so many changes, with number eight Nick Timoney scoring twice as Ulster piled on the points.
Fly-half Peter Nelson bagged 15 points from a try and five conversions. A great personal haul, while other Ulster try-scorers were Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Dave Shanahan. A penalty try was also awarded, in the barrage of the Dragons line.
Battling for most of the match, the Dragons did manage three tries of their own. Substitutes Rhys Buckley, Dane Blacker and Will Talbot-Davies all scored late in the game. Ulster may have wanted to keep the score down, but the Dragons do have some fight in them.
Ulster will be hoping to maintain their unbeaten start, when they travel to Italy to face Zebre, on Saturday. At home, the Dragons are hosting the Southern Kings in the hope of returning to winning ways.
Scarlets 28-8 Edinburgh
Edinburgh prop Michele Rizzo was sent off, as Scarlets sealed a 28-8 bonus point victory over Edinburgh, in their Guinness PRO14 clash at the Parc y Scarlets.
Rizzo saw red from referee John Lacey in the 46th minute, after he was guilty of smashing Scarlets scrum-half Gareth Davies at a ruck. With one man down, the Scarlets eased to victory over Richard Cockerill’s men, scoring four tries to Edinburgh’s one.
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) September 23, 2017
Scarlets’ tries came from Rhys Patchell, Gareth Davies, Werner Kruger and Aaron Shingler, with Leigh Halfpenny kicking all four conversions. Jason Harries scored Edinburgh’s only try, with Duncan Weir adding a penalty.
The Scarlets are now back to winning ways, and will be hoping to keep that going when hosting Connacht on Friday night. While Edinburgh face a tough trip to Leinster after suffering back-to-back losses.
Connacht 15-17 Cardiff Blues
Jarrod Evans nailed the match-winning conversion in windy conditions, as Cardiff Blues edged out Connacht 17-15 for their first win of this Pro14 this season.
The 21-year-old replacement curled over the decisive kick, following ‘Man of the Match’ Willis Halaholo’s 78th-minute try – his second of the afternoon. It saw the Blues bounce back from their narrow loss to Glasgow Warriors.
Falling to their third defeat in four PRO14 games, Connacht will be kicking themselves after full-back Darragh Leader’s try and Shane Delahunt’s try from a maul, six minutes from time. It seemingly had them on course for a gritty victory. But it was not meant to be in the Pro14 Round Four clash.
Connacht’s losing form could continue, as they travel to defending champions the Scarlets on Friday night. While the Cardiff Blues will be looking to make it back to back wins, when they travel across to Munster.
Southern Kings 17- 43 Zebre
The Southern Kings struggles continue, with a comprehensive defeat at home to Zebre at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
The Italians ran in six tries through Castello, Bellini, Giammarioli, Boni, Bisegni and Sarto. They added five conversions and a penalty, in a dominant performance, following up on last weeks win.
With this result, the Kings have suffered their fourth consecutive defeat to start the season; conceding at least thirty points in every game. They have a lot of work to do, in order to compete in the Celtic League this season.
The Kings will be hoping to kick-start their season, when they travel to fellow ‘strugglers’ the Dragons on Saturday. Zebre face a tougher task, to make it three victories in a row, when they host unbeaten Ulster in Italy.
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