The Guinness PRO14 returned with a bang after the European break in round seven.
There was derby drama in Wales and Ireland, Glasgow Warriors staying perfect and the Cheetahs picking up their first-ever away victory.
And our three best plays come at the Sportsground in Galway where Connacht downed Munster, in Glasgow where Dave Rennie’s side downed the Kings and in Italy where the Cheetahs sprinted to the win.
Bundee Aki – Connacht v Munster
Simon Zebo’s early score had put Munster on top in Galway and Kieran Keane’s Connacht side were staring down the barrel of another loss to Irish provincial opponents.
But they rolled up their sleeves and got to work and it was the irrepressible Bundee Aki who did the damage.
In the week of his first Ireland call-up his carrying and soft hands were both on display and the way he created their first score for Tiernan O’Halloran was sublime.
A no-look pop pass flat to the gainline released man of the match Jarrad Butler and the flanker then had the simple task of putting O’Halloran over.
Sam Johnson – Glasgow Warriors v Southern Kings
After a disappointing European fortnight for the Warriors stalled their momentum, they needed to a jumpstart against the kings on Friday night at Scotstoun.
And it was centre Sam Johnson who provided the spark inside the first minute of their clash against their South African opponents.
The Australian born centre collected a loose ball in midfield and showed great footwork to step first out and then in to break clear.
And the 24-year-old also had the presence of mind to produce an inventive chest pass to the onrushing Stuart Hogg and the British & Irish Lion did the rest to coast over for the game’s opening try.
Makazole Mapimpi – Zebre v Cheetahs
The Cheetahs came into round seven still awaiting their first victory on the road in the Guinness PRO14.
And it looked like the wait would continue at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi as Zebre led approaching the hour mark.
But then a moment of magic from turnover ball brought the Cheetahs back into it.
A box kick was charged down but when the ball was spread left there still appeared to be little on for Francois Venter.
But the Springbok centre put in a perfect chip over the top and let the pace of Makazole Mapimpi do the rest.
The winger burst clear to grab the bouncing ball and dot down his seventh score of the season and pave the way for a maiden away win.
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