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Guinness PRO14 Friday night wrap

Rich Dore
02 December 2017

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The big guns returned from international duty in the Guinness PRO14 last night as Round Ten kicked off in style.

Gavin Henson

Perhaps inspired by a fantastic autumn for the national side, there were wins for both Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby, whilst Ulster Rugby and Dragons played out a cracker.

  • Christian Lealiifano’s late try looked to have stolen the win for Ulster away at Dragons, but the Australian fly-half missed the conversion which would’ve sealed the result – leaving the score at 32-32.
  • The game at Rodney Parade was full of enterprising play as ten tries were shared in all, including doubles for Dragon Ashton Hewitt and Ulsterman Craig Gilroy.
  • Ulster’s three points means they’re second in Conference B as it stands – Les Kiss will have been happy to welcome back Stuart McCloskey, Sean Reidy and Rory Best from Ireland duty, with Iain Henderson and Jacob Stockdale also due back next week.
  • The Warriors winning machine rumbles on as Dave Rennie’s men made it ten from ten with a 40-16 win over Cardiff Blues at Scotstoun.
  • Macauley Cook’s early try gave the Blues a surprise lead, but Glasgow soon clicked into gear and scored six tries in all – with Niko Matawalu, Leonardo Sarto and the returning Alex Dunbar all on the scoresheet.
  • The Southern Kings and Edinburgh shared a try-fest, with nine five-pointers scored in a 48-21 win for Richard Cockerill’s men.
  • Edinburgh started strongly but the South Africans roared back with a try for Harlon Klaasen and 11 points from the boot of Kurt Coleman.
  • The Scottish side also had a strong finish in store and a hat-trick from replacement Sam Hidalgo-Clyne plus a score for Dougie Fife put them out of sight.

What they said

Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill commented:

“We started very well, but they are a dangerous team, and if you give them opportunities by being inaccurate, then they will take them.

“Kings stayed with us, but with the internationals back in and the bench being strong, we played with good tempo and a good attitude.

“We felt last week against the Cheetahs that the score didn’t reflect how good we played, so I’m pleased tonight.”

Dragons head coach Bernard Jackman was full of praise for Gavin Henson:

“Gavin was great tonight. He showed even with kicking the conversion from the touchline, that doesn’t happen by accident, he practices pretty hard at it and I thought he was more confrontational and aggressive.

“Gavin is a great professional, on and off the field he has been a really good influence. He coaches a lot of the players and is the ultimate pro.

“Tonight he played a part in helping us get three points and nearly winning the game.”

Glasgow Warriors head coach Dave Rennie is still looking for improvements:

“It was foot-on-the-throat stuff – a couple of late tries, and it was probably more of an indication of the dominance we had.

“We lacked a little bit of urgency, and maybe, with Cardiff’s red card, at the back of some of the guys’ minds they thought it might come a bit easier.”

Cardiff Blues head coach Danny Wilson said:

“We can build on that platform of effort. We have had a good run of results, six of the last eight in the league and Europe.

“We go back into Europe next week and if our effort and commitment is to that level week in, week out then we will pick up more wins than losses.”

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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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