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Guinness PRO14 Friday night wrap

Charlie Talbot-Smith
25 November 2017

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The Guinness PRO14 returned in style on Friday night with four action-packed games to review.

Ulster left it late to come from behind and beat Benetton Rugby, the Toyota Cheetahs proved too strong for Edinburgh in Bloemfontein, the Cardiff Blues held off Connacht and Leinster romped past the Dragons.

  • Andrew Trimble’s last-gasp score denied Benetton a famous win at the Kingspan as Ulster triumphed 23-22
  • Robert Barbieri’s try looked to have set Benetton on course for victory before Trimble’s late score was converted by Christian Lealiifano
  • Makazole Mapimpi was again on the scoresheet as the Cheetahs ran in five tries at home against Edinburgh to win 33-13
  • Richard Cockerill’s side return empty-handed from their first trip to the Free State, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne scoring all of their points in the loss
  • Isa Nacewa crossed twice for Leinster while Jordan Larmour continued his rapid rise in a 54-10 win over the Dragons
  • Bernard Jackman’s side led 10-0 early on but shipped eight tries in total at the RDS as Leinster go second in Conference B
  • Owen Lane crossed on debut as Cardiff Blues hold on for a 36-30 win over Connacht
  • The men from Galway see their five-match winning streak come to an end but claim two losing bonus points in defeat

What they said

Leinster director of rugby Leo Cullen: 

“It was pleasing to get back to winning ways.

“We were a little bit slow out of the blocks defensively and they caused us a lot of problems.

“But we showed good composure, stuck to the processes and I thought the lads were pretty clinical in attack and took the opportunities when they came.”

Cardiff Blues boss Danny Wilson:

“First and foremost, doing the double over Connacht in a Championship that is very tight, with us and them very close to each other, is a big achievement for us.

“In the past two years we haven’t been able to do the double over them, so I’m really pleased from that point of view.

“They’re sat around where we are in the Championship, so to do the double over them could be really important, in terms of trying to make that European qualification spot, which we are now in that position.

“In terms of our attack, the tries we scored, and some of our defensive shifts under a lot of pressure, I’m really proud of our performance.”

Ulster head coach Jono Gibbes:

“The game was 80 minutes wasn’t it?” Gibbes laughed. “We needed all 80 to get ourselves in a position to win the game.

“We didn’t get it all our own way in that 80 minutes but we stayed tough enough and showed some good resilience in some key moments, and when it arrived at the end it happened we were able to get the job done.

“We came away with four points and that during international periods when it’s unglamorous but hard and important.”

Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill said:

“It was our first visit to the Southern Hemisphere so we’re breaking new ground.

“We know the Cheetahs are a good side. We got a bit outmuscled in the later stages and we were little a bit inacurrate in the first half to concede two pretty soft tries.

“It was good to come back, and the game was in the balance, but I think the bench for Cheetahs made big difference – we just ran out of a little bit of steam.

“I was pleased with the effort the players put in and I’m pleased with the battle we showed, but in the end we just weren’t good enough.”

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Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 for adults and €5 for children, and can be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie

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