There was drama and intrigue at every turn in Round 20, as well as a raft of breath-taking scores that wowed crowds in Ireland, Scotland and South Africa.
Here are five of the best tries from the weekend’s action.
Jacob Stockdale – Ulster v Ospreys
Ulster’s 8-0 win over Ospreys was an archetypal war of attrition, with both sides barely conceding an inch – right up until Jacob Stockdale grabbed the only try of the game.
The 22-year-old, a try-scoring sensation at this year’s Six Nations, seized his moment in the final minute of the contest to ensure an Ulster victory.
With the Ospreys rolling the dice for the final time, winger Stockdale pounced upon a misplaced Dan Biggar, burst through an attempted tackle and raced away to dot down.
Duhan van der Merwe – Edinburgh Rugby v Scarlets
Duhan van der Merwe claimed served up one of the weekend’s most spectacular scores, whipping the BT Murrayfield faithful into a frenzy.
After Edinburgh Rugby shifted the ball from right to left, van der Merwe took up possession inside his own half but rather than seek to drive back inside, the South African winger instead opted to trust his own pace.
Slipping the attentions of two opponents, van der Merwe turned on the afterburners in some style and show away like an arrow to clinch the second of his team’s eight tries
Federico Ruzza – Leinster v Benetton Rugby
In Round 20, Benetton Rugby celebrated victory over Leinster for just the second time in their history, toppling the Conference B leaders 17-15 at the RDS Arena.
Midway through the second period, some ingenious play helped them on their way to a memorable comeback.
Tito Tebaldi booted the ball into the air and Jayden Hayward read the bounce perfectly to catch and offload perfectly – all while being tackled – to send Federico Ruzza over the line.
Marcello Violi – Zebre v Dragons
Zebre’s victory over the Dragons at the Stadio Tommaso Fattori was as dramatic as they come, with the hosts running out 34-32 winners.
Michael Bradley’s men laid out their intention to go toe-to-toe with their Welsh opponents from the off, producing a sweeping team move to open the scoring.
Displaying fast hands as they worked the ball from left to right, Zebre eventually engineered a break and Tommasso Castello and Mattia Bellini dovetailed beautifully to tee up Marcello Violi for the game’s first try.
Stuart Hogg – Glasgow Warriors v Connacht
Glasgow Warriors rubber-stamped a home semi-final in the Guinness PRO14 Final Series by defeating Connacht 35-22.
After being shocked as the visitors’ Finlay Bealham crashed over in just the second minute, the Scots hit back instantly – and in some style.
Following a slick team move, DTH van der Merwe broke free incisively and was almost spoiled for choice as he plotted which teammate to send over the line, eventually choosing to tee up Stuart Hogg.
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