Ulster remain winless after two weeks of European action, although it was a positive weekend overall for the Irish provinces.
Leinster started the weekend off on a positive note as they annihilated an understrength Gloucester side to maintain their position at the top of Pool A in the Heineken Champions Cup.
On the same night, Connacht made it two wins from two in the EPCR Challenge Cup to remain firmly in the hunt for the knock out stages as they claimed an away win against Brive.
Ulster fell to defeat against La Rochelle in front of an empty Aviva Stadium, although the northern province did salvage two losing bonus points after trailing by 29 points at half time.
Munster produced a superb defensive display to hold out Northampton Saints, as a scoreless second half saw Graham Rowntree’s side claim a 17-6 win in the English Midlands.
Stand out performances.
James Lowe and Rónan Kelleher led the way for Leinster in the try scoring department as they both picked up a brace in a game that resembled a glorified training session more than a Champions Cup clash.
For Connacht it was Oisín Dowling who stood out, as while the flanker didn’t get on the scoreboard he did put in a massive effort in attack and defence against Brive.
Ulster were without John Cooney in their first round encounter with Sale Sharks, and the experienced scrum-half reminded everyone of what he brings to the team against the reigning European champions.
Tadhg Beirne picked up the man of the match award for Munster, which may have left Gavin Coombes feeling hard done by as the hard working number eight scored two tries and made 21 tackles.
Best meat pie from R2? 🤩
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) December 20, 2022
Irish EPCR team of the weekend
15. Mike Haley (Munster)
14. Keith Earls (Munster)
13. Garry Ringrose (Leinster)
12. Stuart McCloskey (Ulster)
11. James Lowe (Leinster)
10. Joey Carbery (Munster)
9. John Cooney (Ulster)
8. Gavin Coombes (Munster)
7. Nick Timoney (Ulster)
6. Oisín Dowling (Connacht)
5. Tadhg Beirne (Munster)
4. Alan O’Connor (Ulster)
3. Marty Moore (Ulster)
2. Rónan Kelleher (Leinster)
1. Jeremy Loughman (Munster)