Guinness PRO14 season review – November

Daniel Barnes
12 July 2018

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As the third month of the 2017-18 season got under way, Glasgow Warriors were on a roll.

Dave Rennie’s troops had totted up seven Guinness PRO14 triumphs in a row, dispatching the likes of Munster and the Toyota Cheetahs along the way as they rolled out the red carpet for Conference B high-flyers Leinster at the beginning of Round Eight.

As high-profile clashes go, this one did not disappoint, with Glasgow running out 31-21 winners.

Leinster twice took the lead in a contest that began at breakneck speed but two tries apiece from George Horne and Nick Grigg inspired the Warriors to victory.

Elsewhere, Rassie Erasmus watched Munster turn on the style in his final match as director of rugby as they put the Dragons to the sword, running in seven tries in a 49-6 win at Irish Independent Park, while in South Africa, Ulster and the Southern Kings served up a bona fide cracker.

No less than 12 tries were scored at Wolfson Park as the Irish visitors triumphed 43-36.

Blair Kinghorn served up two assists as Edinburgh Rugby dispatched Ospreys 37-10 while Dan Jones scored a try and booted 11 points as the Scarlets bested Benetton Rugby 20-8.

Inpho

Having recently shattered a four-match losing streak, Connacht made it back-to-back wins by besting the Cheetahs 23-15 at the Sportsground while five different try-scorers went over as Cardiff Blues beat Zebre 37-8, claiming their fourth victory in five games.

Round Nine

Just two rounds of Guinness PRO14 action took place in November, with clubs made to do without their big-name stars during Round Nine as Wales, South Africa, Ireland and Scotland completed their autumn international campaigns.

That didn’t mean that supporters were left short-changed however, with an average of seven tries scored across a raft of pulsating encounters.

The big winners of the round were Leinster, who bounced back from their defeat at the hands of Glasgow last time out with a thumping 54-10 win over the Dragons at the RDS Arena.

Deputising for Jonathan Sexton, Ross Byrne kicked five successful conversions as six different scorers crossed the whitewash – meanwhile, the Dragons’ Dan Babos became the first player born in this millennium to play in the Guinness PRO14 and the sixth-youngest to make his debut in the Championship.

Elsewhere, Glasgow continued to shine and they made it nine from nine with a clinical 47-9 win away to the Ospreys.

Adam Hastings, deputising for Finn Russell, kicked six conversions and also grabbed the first try of the game – his father, former Scotland full-back Gavin, doubtless enjoyed that.

The Cheetahs took their tally at the Free State Stadium to 21 points from a possible 25 by defeating Edinburgh Rugby 33-13, Makazole Mapimpi – the Championship’s top try-scorer at the time – going over late on for his ninth of the season.

Ulster edged out Benetton by just a single point at the Kingspan, with Andrew Trimble’s last-gasp try, converted by Christian Lealiifano, sealing a dramatic 23-22 success.

Munster and Scarlets both won on the road – at the Kings and Zebre respectively – the former getting off to a positive start under new boss Johann van Graan.

Owen Lane also enjoyed a dream debut for Cardiff Blues, the young winger, who had yet to celebrate his 20th birthday, going over for his team’s third try of the game as they defeated Connacht 36-30.

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