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Week 2: the reaction round up

Guinness PRO12 Editor

13 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.

Edinburgh 13 Munster 16

Munster made it two wins from two as they left for home with a precious triumph in the Scottish capital.

The 2009 champions have rarely won at Murrayfield but, despite the closeness of the scoreline, Tony McGahans’ men were the better side throughout Friday night’s encounter.

Edinburgh threatened to steal the points thanks to yet another try from last season’s top scorer Tim Visser but Munster hit back trough Donncha O’Callaghan as they jumped to the head of the Magners League standings.

Edinburgh head coach Rob Moffat

"It was a poor performance by us. It was amazing really that we were still in the game, and then ahead when Tim Visser scored the try, but you don't win games not looking after the ball.

"Credit to Munster. They played well, were effective, basically keeping the ball and dominating territory and field position, and we were well off the pace.

"Our ball-carriers were not aggressive enough and the players clearing out were not aggressive enough and that's where it started. It must have been half an hour into the game before we put two or three phases together.

"But we defended well and scrambled well, with guys working very hard to get back, and so hung in there, which was a positive aspect of the game for us. But when Tim got his try you're thinking 'right, come on, let's kick on', but we still contrived to give away possession and never put Munster under pressure at all.

"The top teams do the basics well and you can't build your game unless you've got that. We were probably trying to do B before A tonight."

Munster captain Denis Leamy

"We dominated the first half and deserved to be further ahead, but we didn't turn our possession into points.

"The Edinburgh defence was very good and we never really threatened their line, but when we went behind we stepped up again and worked very hard, got back up the pitch and into their faces and got the win.

"We rolled up our sleeves and got back into the game and when the subs came on they helped to revive us a bit in the last quarter.

"We have struggled at times in the past few years here so we're delighted to come across and just about scrape a win."

Ospreys 32 Benetton Treviso 16

The Ospreys bounced back from defeat in Ulster with a bonus-point win over Week 1’s heroes Benetton Treviso at the Liberty Stadium.

Treviso arrived in Swansea full of confidence following the previous week’s victory over the Scarlets but the reigning Magners League Champions had a try-scoring bonus wrapped up by the early stages of the second half.

Ospreys director of coaching Scott Johnson

"I was really glad that we came out after half-time and got the early tries, it took the pressure off us. We were getting frustrated in the first half, so it was a nice sign at the start of the second half that we could switch back on and get the job done.

"I love the fact that we have the Italian sides in the Magners League. I think it's a wonderful addition to the tournament, they can make massive strides at this level and internationally because of their introduction to this competition. I love the fact that in the Magners League we have differences. We have four countries now playing in it, and I think if you look at the French, you look at the English, they haven't got those different philosophies, and that's what I love about the Magners League.

"It all bodes well for the future, and I think Benetton Treviso will get a lot more than the one win in the season, so we're quite glad that we've got it tonight and we'll take the points while we can."

Benetton Treviso head coach Franco Smith

"We deserve respect – the Ospreys have a very strong squad but we confronted them without fear and played our own game. 

"I am very proud of this squad. It is never pleasing to lose but I am happy enough with our performance.

"The Ospreys came into the game on the back of a defeat out in Belfast and it was their first game at home after being crowned champions. This meant a lot to them as they went into the game. 

"The fact they had their four points returned before the game would have given them extra confidence."


Nikki Walker scored one of five tries for the Ospreys

Scarlets 35 Connacht 33

Sean Lamont turned a second successive defeat into a maximum-points victory for the Scarlets deep into injury time in West Wales.

A thrilling encounter at the Parc-y-Scarlets looked to be ending with Connacht cementing their place at the top of the table after the visitors had overturned a 20-13 half-time deficit to lead 33-30 with just moments remaining.

But Scotland star Lamont spoilt the Irishmen’s party right at the death, denying Connacht their first away win since April 2008.

Scarlets centre and double try scorer Jon Davies

"It's encouraging that we created a lot of chances but the errors were really costly. I bombed a couple of chances, which is disappointing, but overall I think the boys are looking in good shape and it's a pretty exciting the style of rugby that we are trying to play.

"We'll be tough and clinical in training this week and work hard to make sure these errors don't creep in again.

"But the main thing was getting the result. It was a tough game and last year we lost so many games like that by a few points and didn't finish them off.

"It wasn't in the fashion we wanted to get a win in but you have to take care of the result first. I really think we showed we can play some pretty good rugby in parts – that's got to be encouraging moving forward.

"It's helped get our season back on track and at the end of the season you look at how many wins you get."

Connacht director of rugby Eric Elwood

"We are absolutely gutted. To think you would lose a game after that amount of effort and endeavour in the seventh minute of injury-time.

"But the game is about doing the simple things well. We had four or five opportunities to clear our lines and if you kick loose ball at the Scarlets they are going to come back at you and punish you.

"We plucked defeat from the jaws of victory. Two more yellow cards made it four in our opening two games and you can’t afford that sort of ill discipline.

"We hadn’t won away from home for more than two years and I thought this was going to be it. Now we have to get the guys up for a trip to Glasgow this weekend, but this performance proved we can play good rugby."


A Fionn Carr hat-trick nearly led to an away win for Connacht

Leinster 34 Cardiff Blues 23

Last season’s runner’s up put their Grand Final defeat to the Ospreys and a Week-1 reverse in Glasgow behind them as they did what no other side had managed since mid March.

Leinster ended the Blues’ 11-match unbeaten run thanks to two tries in the final 10 minutes at the RDS.

The Dubliners lost star fly-half Jonathan Sexton just before kick-off but it was his replacement Ian Madigan who claimed the final score to ensure Leinster got back to winning ways as the Blues left with nothing.

Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt

"It's just very much a relief to get through. And the icing on the cake was that it was young Madigan, who wasn't due to start, who finished it off and managed to snaffle a bonus point at the end. That was fantastic.

"It was difficult for Ian to come on and play so late into the build up but I thought he did well and credit to him for stepping into the breach.

"I’m really pleased to get the win and I felt that the guys coming off the bench gave us that little bit extra.

"The bonus point was a bit fortuitous at the end but I’m delighted to be on the blue side of a win, for the first time. If you had offered me a bonus point before the game I would have scrambled over hot coals for it!

"I thought that we showed nous and a lot of character out there and it was overall a really good effort.”

Cardiff Blues head coach Dai Young

"We knew it’s a tough place to come and, after 20 minutes, we weren’t in a very good position.

"But, going into half-time, we knew, if we could keep the ball, get a bit of field position and a platform, we could cause them problems. We certainly did that and it was a massive disappointment we didn’t win after taking the lead.

"We have got to look at our defence because their last try was all too easy. Even if they had a penalty we would have come away with a bonus point.

"We had a tough time at the scrum with two young props in Tom Davies and Scott Andrews, but they have got to learn. They will get better with this experience. We wouldn’t be talking about them if we had come away with a win."


Skipper Shane Jennings scored in Leinster's home win

Aironi Rugby 15 Ulster 22

Aironi Rugby’s first home game in the Magners League ending with a narrow defeat against a confident Ulster outfit.

Robbie Diack’s converted try just after the hour-mark proved to be the difference between the two sides in a tight-fought encounter that showed just how hard the newcomers will be to beat on their own patch.

Ulster head coach Brian McLaughlin

"We are very happy to have the win. It was hard fought though, and we made heavy work of it.

"We made a lot of errors and our set piece was just not clinical enough, so while the result is pleasing, the performance was less so.

"However, away wins are hard to come by and I'm very pleased and a little relieved to have taken the points away from this trip. Over the past couple of weeks, Aironi have shown that they are more the capable of competing in the Magners League.

"We're not getting ahead of ourselves, it's a very long season but, from a results point of view, it's hard not to be happy with two wins from two."


Robbie Diack was Ulster's match winner in Italy

Newport Gwent Dragons 23 Glasgow Warriors 11

The Dragons made amends for their 40-point thrashing in Galway last week as they saw off the challenge of last season’s semi-finalists Glasgow Warriors at Rodney Parade.

The Welsh region enjoyed a superb home record during the last Magners League campaign and they continued in that vein thanks to a strong first-half showing that produced two converted tries.

Glasgow improved upon their disappointing first-half display with a more effective second 40 minutes but they never looked like overturning a 23-3 interval deficit.

Dragons head coach Paul Turner

"It was a difficult week, one of the most difficult of my coaching career. We spent most of it beating each other up and we were pretty fired up after the lambasting.

"But we came out of it and guys like Gavin Thomas and Wayne Evans, who played though half-fit, Robin Sowden-Taylor, who only joined in the summer, Scott Morgan and Luke Charteris, stepped up.

"We still made far too many errors and probably a better team would have put us away. But we played some good stuff at times. I am really pleased with our players and it gives us something to hang our coat on.

"Winning breeds confidence and then other players join the party. We will get better."

Glasgow Warriors head coach Sean Lineen

"It was an appalling first half. We got bullied up front and there was no direction.

"We were too slow to clear the ball and no one really wanted the ball. We knew the first 20 minutes would be really important but there was no spark there.

"It was a huge disappointment. We didn't compete strongly enough in the first half and left ourselves too much to do after the Dragons scored two tries.

"There was some improvement in the second half but we still made too many mistakes at key moments.

"There are no excuses, absolutely none. The lads are better than that, a lot better than that. There were a lot of youngsters out there and they didn’t front up.

"We brought a few guys on and there was a bit more venom up front, but any time we got momentum, something would happen."