It’s been a successful weekend for the Irish provinces in the Guinness PRO14 as Munster, Leinster, Connacht and Ulster all recorded wins.
Munster were in action on Friday night as they beat Edinburgh 44-14 in Cork. Keith Earls scored a hattrick in eight first-half minutes en route to the comprehensive win. That victory saw Conor Murray and man-of-the-match Chris Farrell make their first starts of the season. Johann van Graan’s side remain in second spot in Conference A, seven points behind the Glasgow Warriors who recorded a victory over the Scarlets to maintain their excellent form.
On Saturday, Connacht recorded a 21-17 win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein thanks to tries from Gavin Thornbury and Tom Farrell. This completed an impressive two-week trek to South Africa after Connacht secured a victory against the Southern Kings last weekend. Andy Friend’s side remain hot on the heels of Munster with just four points separating the sides in Conference A.
Ulster had a home clash with the Cardiff Blues at the Kingspan Stadium and a Kieran Treadwell try in addition to 11 points from the boot of John Cooney secured a 16-12 victory. Dan McFarland’s side are now level with Scarlets in Conference B.
Finally, Leinster were the last Irish side in action this weekend and they remain the team to beat as they produced a stunning performance to beat the Dragons 59-10 at Rodney Parade.
This is the second week in a row that Leinster have produced 50+ points in a match and it’s made all that more impressive when you consider Leo Cullen has opted to use many of the eastern province’s Academy players in the last two fixtures. Barring a major slump in form, Leinster look dead set to secure top spot in Conference B as they are now a massive 15 points ahead of their nearest rivals.
Attention turns to European action next week as Ulster travel to Scarlets, Leinster go to The Rec to take on Bath, Connacht host Perpignan while Munster welcome French champions Castres to Thomond Park.