Heroes of the weekend: Byrne baby Byrne

Bradley West
23 December 2019

Share this article

It may be the season of goodwill but there was no quarter given as the Guinness PRO14 returned with a host of thrillingly close encounters.

On a weekend of derby grudge matches the Dragons squeezed past Scarlets dramatically in the dying minutes while Glasgow Warriors also left it late to prevail over Edinburgh in the 1872 Cup.

Elsewhere, Cardiff Blues claimed their first win in Swansea since 2005 as they overcame Ospreys and there were wins too for Benetton Rugby and Munster, while Leinster continued their unbeaten streak.

As ever, a number of individuals stood out this weekend.

Here are six of the best:

Byrne baby Byrne

Fans looking for a Friday night try-fest were rewarded as Leinster overcame Ulster in a 14-try thriller at the RDS Arena.

But, in a game of several stellar tries, it was Harry Byrne who stood out in particular.

The 20-year-old, standing in for none other than Johnny Sexton, was a similarly talismanic figure for his side, slotting 14 points from the tee.

Not only that but he pulled the strings in the midfield with 26 passes, including a sensational kick out wide to set up Robbie Henshaw for their bonus point try.

Davies late-show just the ticket

Sam Davies lived every young rugby fan’s dream on Saturday as he delivered an eleventh hour drop goal to seal derby day glory for the Dragons.

That finale was a fitting end to a brilliant showing from Davies as, in total, he notched up 17 points while also registering ten passes and making 16 metres.

Power the name of the game for Fagerson

Yes, George Turner’s try ultimately sealed the bragging rights for Glasgow against local rivals Edinburgh but it was Zander Fagerson whose star shone brightest.

The Scottish international prop was a dominating figure for the hosts, manhandling the scrums and proving a brick wall in defence.

With 12 tackles made too, Fagerson had his influence felt across the board and was a crucial factor in Glasgow’s win.

Shane delivers the pain

On an historic day for Cardiff, Shane Lewis-Hughes delivered a performance well beyond his years.

The 22-year-old flanker was the main man in a game where only one try was scored as his defensive showing kept Cardiff’s Welsh rivals at bay.

Having delivered an impressive 13 tackles, as well as chipping in with a crucial turnover, Lewis-Hughes had many admirers at the Liberty Stadium.

Keatley’s kicking masterclass

In the all-Italian contest, the experience of Ian Keatley told.

It may have been a low scoring contest short on quality moments but Keatley’s eight points from the boot proved crucial in a professional showing for the 32-year-old.

So often performances like that of Keatley’s can go under the radar but if it wasn’t for him Benetton would not have secured their third win of the Guinness PRO14 campaign.

Hanrahan at the heart of things

Munster remain top of Conference B and they have their fly-half JJ Hanrahan to thank for that.

The 27-year-old Irishman scored 14 of his side’s 19 points as they overcame Connacht and he also dictated matters in open play with 20 pinpoint passes.

Share this article