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Week 1: the reaction round up

Guinness PRO12 Editor

6 Sep 2010


After each round of Magners League action, we’ll be taking a look at what those involved had to say about their latest win, loss or draw.

Keep your eyes on www.magnersleague.com every Monday after a Magners League weekend for a round up of quotes from players or coaches, or even both.

Ulster 27 Ospreys 26

Ulster kicked off what they hope will be a new era of success with a nail-biting win over reigning champions the Ospreys at Ravenill on Friday night.

Stephen Ferris and Darren Cave scored the home side’s tries, while Niall O’Connor booted 17 points as Ulster gained revenge for a 38-27 defeat at the same venue back in April.

Ulster head coach Brian McLaughlin

"We just needed to get a win. It didn’t matter how we got it or that it wasn’t pretty.

"What cost us last year was that we couldn’t finish out games. We kept giving away cheap points which either cost us the victory or cost us bonuses.

"So that’s something we have instilled — with our leaders, with our coaches — into these guys, that we have got to get something from every game we play.

"That’s what we’re looking to do. That’s what we did tonight."

Ospreys fly-half Dan Biggar

"Ulster played very well. They've got a great set of forwards and they made life very tough for us.

"But we're disappointed. When it comes down to one point in the game and we've given away 13 or 14 penalties, that's no way to win games away from home.

"As a team, we were disappointing in most areas and our discipline was poor, which ultimately cost us the game.

"We'll look at the video on Monday to see what we can improve on but ultimately, when you give 13 or 14 penalties away in a one-point defeat it's hard to look anywhere else."


Ulster beat reigning champions the Ospreys at Ravenhill on Friday

Glasgow Warriors 22 Leinster 19

Last season’s beaten semi-finalists edged out the Grand Final runners up in another enthralling Friday night encounter at Firhill.

Replacement fly-half Duncan Weir booted the Warriors to victory after Leinster had drawn level with just six minutes remaining.

Glasgow Warriors head coach Sean Lineen

"It’s an absolutely fantastic result for us. We put in a lot of work in the summer and I believe the replacements made the difference.

"They scored tries from set-piece and I wasn’t happy. But I said if we could keep our composure then we could beat them.

"I was frustrated with the way we conceded but we can fix that.

"I’m delighted for the playersand I thought the half-back pair were outstanding.”

Leinster head coach Josef Schmidt

"It was certainly a game that got away from us after half time. We’re really disappointed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and it was a case of us making errors which enabled them to keep the pressure on.

"There were moments in the game when we had chances; a forward pass that was given which denied us a try.

"The boys are very frustrated in there and they feel as though they let themselves down. It’s up to us now to take it on the chin and get ourselves in order for next week."

Connacht 40 Newport Gwent Dragons 17

Last season’s bottom side scored four tries and fly-half Ian Keatley kicked a further 20 points as the Dragons were brushed aside in Galway.

Connacht began life under new boss Eric Elwood with a bang while the Dragons showed little signs of improving on last year’s dismal away record.
Connacht director of rugby Eric Elwood

"We won the game and the bonus point was the cream on the cake.

"And with two away games to come it was a confidence booster we needed to go out on the road, so we are very pleased. It sets the lads up and we have a little bit of confidence going into next week.

"We are not getting carried away with ourselves. It’s a long journey we are on. We have a massive challenge in the next two away matches because our away form is well documented and the challenge for us going forward is to be competitive away from home and earn that respect there.

"We want to try and play the game with a little bit of tempo and I think that is when we are at our best. When we tried to contrive situations and make the ball slow, it just doesn't suit us and the lads went into their shell a bit."

Dragons head coach Paul Turner

"It’s a huge disappointment to start the new season like that. We talked before the game about discipline and we gave away over 20 penalties and easy kicks for Ian Keatley.

"We got back into the game but we didn’t take our chances and with the number of tackles we missed, you’re never going to win any ball game.

"There was some hard talking after the game and we’ve been here before, especially at Connacht, but we have to lift ourselves straight away."


Connacht outclassed the Dragons to gain a bonus-point win in Galway

Cardiff Blues 34 Edinburgh 23

The Blues gained revenge for last season’s opening day defeat to the same opposition as they ran in four tries to make it 11 straight wins since mid-April.

Edinburgh battled hard but ultimately left empty handed despite a brace of tries from wing Tim Visser who finished last season as the league’s top try scorer.

Cardiff Blues: head coach Dai Young

"I’m just pleased with the win. In fact, we could not have asked for a better start with the five points. It has eluded us in the last couple of years so it’s a nice feeling.
"We are pleased but we are not getting carried away. It is certainly a better start than last year, though, and something positive for us to build on.

"We will go into next weekend’s match against Leinster with a bit of a smile on our faces but knowing that we have to step up."
Edinburgh wing Tim Visser

"It's good on a personal level to start with some tries but the big thing was coming away with a win to start our season on a high and we obviously failed in that objective.

"They were just a little bit more clinical and, at times where we thought we were getting points, we lost possession.

"There are a lot of positives things, though – the offloading was good."
Benetton Treviso 34 Scarlets 28

The shock of the week came in Italy where Benetton Treviso celebrated their Magners League debut with a stunning comeback win over the Scarlets.

The Italians trailed 22-9 at half-time but fought back to start life in the league with a famous victory thanks in no small part to 21 points from Tobie Botes.

Benetton Treviso head coach Franco Smith:

"It was an ideal start for us, we spoke before the game about the importance of the opening fixture and to come away with the win is perfect.

"We showed a lot of belief to come back from 22–9 down and our performance in the second half was worthy of the victory. 

"We have our targets for the season and for each game and on Saturday we stuck to those and it paid off. 

"We are now playing at the highest level and it is fantastic our hard work has paid off, we caused the Scarlets problems and have given other teams something to think about."

Scarlets head coach Nigel Davies

"We are obviously frustrated to have lost that game after a first half performance that really showed what this squad is capable of. The team was good enough to win that game, we should have and we're all bitterly disappointed that we didn't nail crucial elements of our game in second half.

"Treviso came out strongly in the second half, credit to them and they gained a lot of momentum. We had some inaccuracies that allowed them to build their game. They had a lot more scrums, a lot more line-out opportunities and that's their game – if they're allowed to play their game, they are going to be a difficult side.

"We didn't muscle up as much as should have later on and we dropped off a couple of tackles which allowed them to get on the front foot. And we'll be looking hard next week at how we let them gain so much momentum in the second half. To lose 18 points in the second half is not acceptable – we dropped off and we need to manage games better to close them out."


Benetton Treviso claimed a famous debut victory over the Scarlets

Munster 33 Aironi Rugby 17

Italian newcomers Aironi produced a brave display at Musgrave Park as they gave twice champions Munster an early scare.

The sides were level at half-time before two tries from Niall Ronan and one from Tony Buckley took the game away from a team making it’s first-ever appearance in competitive rugby.

Munster head coach Tony McGahan

"We’d have taken any result at the beginning. It was their first game of the Magners League and we knew they would come fired up.

"They’re very indicative of Italian rugby. When they have their heads up and the ball in their hands, their body language is strong and they can play with the best of anyone. So we really needed to make sure we controlled field position and controlled the ball.

"We had some inaccurate kicking which took the momentum away in the first half but in the second we knuckled down to the task and showed some good pace to do what we were trying to do. Subsequently we were able to get a few tries."

Aironi Rugby: director of rugby Franco Bernini

"Even though we lost, we have to take the positives from the weekend and build for what is going to be a huge season for us. In the first half we really performed and looked dangerous, going into half time level on points. 

"However, in the second half our discipline, a problem we have been working on since last season, let us down and we lost a player to the sin bin and during that time Munster capitalised, scoring two tries which won them the game.

"We didn’t let our heads go down and we stayed in the game, which gives us confidence and mental strength for the season."