2017/18 Guinness PRO14 season review – October

Charlie Peat
06 July 2018

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We’re counting down the days before the start of the Guinness PRO14 season but while we wait – here’s a look back at a remarkable 2017/18 season.

One month in and the two conferences were starting to take shape with Toyota Cheetahs now finding their feet and the Glasgow Warriors impressing.

In our second month-by-month review of the last campaign, we focus in on a dramatic October.

Warriors stun Cheetahs

The Warriors were flying when they headed to the southern hemisphere for the first time to take on Toyota Cheetahs.

The Cheetahs had enjoyed home comforts heading into this fixture, downing Leinster and Zebre in the earlier rounds but the unbeaten Warriors presented an entirely new challenge.

The hosts made the ideal start when Sergeal Petersen and Rosko Specman crossed in the first half to put the Scottish side’s winning start to the test.

But Dave Rennie’s team showed their class as Callum Gibbins got the comeback underway with his second of the evening in Bloemfontein.

Henry Pyrgos then dotted down with 11 minutes to go before a wonderful Rob Hearly try in the 76th minute, after a fine kick from Finn Russell, snatched victory for the Warriors and a sixth straight triumph.

Leinster prevail on derby day

Two old rivals went head-to-head in October as Leinster entertained Munster at Aviva Stadium as the blues clinched the bragging rights.

And it was all down to a fine double from Rory O’Loughlin who crossed the whitewash twice in the first half to put the home side 14-7 in front at the break.

Jonathan Sexton kicked three second-half penalties to keep Leinster ticking over as they looked to avenge last season’s 29-17 defeat.

Keith Earls scored two late tries for Munster but it was Leo Cullen’s men who clinched a 23-17 win in Dublin.

Fine Farrell sinks Munster

Things wouldn’t get any better for Munster in October as they followed up their defeat at Leinster with a second loss against Irish provincial rivals Connacht.

Connacht came into the contest off the back of four straight defeats but were inspired by a late solo effort from Tom Farrell to down their visitors.

Simon Zebo looked to have given Munster the ideal start when Rory Scannell’s fine carry and offload found the Irish international who powered over.

Tiernan O’Halloran responded for the home side on 22 minutes as Connacht went in 13-10 down at the interval.

In a tightly-fought contest, a red card for Andrew Conway in the 61st minute proved to be the difference as five minutes later, Farrell was over following a rampaging run down the wing.

Scarlets keep up home run

Parc y Scarlets has been turned into a fortress by Scarlets in recent seasons and victory over Cardiff Blues in late October extended their unbeaten run at the ground.

First-half tries from Hadleigh Parkes and Ryan Elias were cancelled out by scores from Willis Halaholo and Lloyd Williams, on his 150th appearance for the Blues.

Scarlets turned the screw with 20 minutes to spare as first Jonathan Evans and then Steff Evans crossed to seal a hard-fought bonus point victory.

The 30-17 win ensured Scarlets had won every league game at home since the opening weekend of the 2016/17 season.

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