Five of the best Guinness PRO14 hat-tricks

Paul Eddison
09 October 2019

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In honour of Ronan Kelleher’s stunning treble for Leinster against Ospreys last weekend, it seems the perfect time to run through five of the best Guinness PRO14 hat-tricks.

Niko Matawalu, Glasgow Warriors

There is nothing better than scoring a hat-trick, particularly for a hooker, but we have picked out a mix of the most spectacular and the most important, starting with another hooker.

Sam Parry – Ospreys v Zebre 2016/17

Long before Ronan Kelleher was grabbing the limelight, Sam Parry was showing the way for hookers with a hat-trick in an early-season victory over Zebre.

The Welshman became the first forward, let alone hooker, to score a treble for the Ospreys, doing so in a 59-5 success. There was no great complexity to the tries, all three coming from rolling mauls with Parry the beneficiary on each occasion.

Tommy Seymour – Glasgow Warriors v Leinster 2016/17

When we said earlier that there is nothing better than scoring a hat-trick, we might have been overselling it slightly. After all, Tommy Seymour scored four tries in a single game against Leinster three seasons ago.

Seymour had opened the scoring with a try down the left before picking off a Joey Carbery pass to go under the posts for his second. That one was crucial, with Leinster ten points to the good at the time.

Two minutes later he had another, the most spectacular of the lot as he pounced on a loose ball on the floor before dancing out of a number of tackles and racing to the line with a host of Leinster defenders trailing in his wake. And he completed a perfect day with try number four eight minutes from time, powering through tackles after taking an inside ball off a scrum.

Dean Budd – Ulster v Benetton 2012/13

There was a time before Kieran Crowley’s arrival at Benetton when the Treviso side struggled to get anything from trips to Ireland. In 2013 however, they came away with three points from Belfast, with Dean Budd the main reason.

The man who has gone on to captain Italy at the World Cup in Japan, had gone over for a first shortly before half-time. The second came from a chargedown just after the hour, and then with time running out, he completed his treble to secure a brilliant 29-29 draw.

Johnny McNicholl – Leinster v Scarlets 2017/18

Johnny McNicholl might not have come away with silverware as the Scarlets reached a second successive Guinness PRO14 final in 2018, but it was not for lack of trying. The full-back had a brilliant day at the Aviva Stadium as the Scarlets bid to retain their title against Leinster.

The Irish team proved too strong on the day, but McNicholl grabbed a hat-trick in a losing cause. His first was an opportunistic finish, going over after Gareth Davies had been stopped just short, before Leinster took control of the game. McNicholl added two more in the second half, including one on full-time after a break by Scott Williams. And while it was not enough for the win, any hat-trick in a major final is worth some recognition.

Nikola Matawalu – Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 2018/19

There were a few other options to include in this list, another try-scoring hooker in Hame Faiva of Benetton, the hat-trick king Tim Visser and even Leone Nakarawa managed one a few years back. Instead we will go for another Warriors Fijian, Nikola Matawalu, one of the most entertaining players in the league.

Last year against the Ospreys he came off the bench to score a remarkable hat-trick. The first came from a beautiful offload by DTH van der Merwe, before Nick Grigg’s burst and Matawalu’s support line made the second. And he rounded off his hat-trick by collecting Brandon Thomson’s clever cross-kick in a 29-20 success.

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