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Irish rugby teams set the tone as all four provinces stake wins

By Michael Sadlier

It turned out to be quite a weekend for the Irish provinces as all four managed to experience the considerable uplift of that winning feeling.

Leinster racked up the most high profile victory as they scored six tries in their 42-12 thumping of the Scarlets at the RDS which more than made up for the disappointment of the narrow defeat they experienced at Glasgow on opening day.

Rob Kearney marked his return to the Leinster side with two tries while Ian Madigan did likewise and converted all six for a personal haul of 22 points. Tadhg Furlong and Dominic Ryan also crossed the Welsh line.

Despite Leinster's rather large total, Connacht are also worthy of considerable mention after they somehow snatched victory from what had seemed inevitable defeat courtesy of former Ulster player Willie Faloon's 80th minute score as Pat Lam's men shaded the issue at Edinburgh by only 14-13.

It was the western province's second win on the bounce and Faloon's score was added to Darragh Leader's three penalties.

Which neatly leads to Munster and coach Anthony Foley put the horrors of his first game in charge when his side beat Treviso 21-10 over in Italy.

Ian Keatley kicked 11 valuable points from three penalties and the conversion of CJ Stander's score – his third try of the campaign – with the visitors' remaining points coming off Simon Zebo's touchdown.

Elsewhere, leaders the Ospreys triumphed 17-15 at the Dragons and, yesterday, Cardiff Blues hosted Glasgow and were well beaten to the tune of 33-12 with the Warriors now rising to second in the table.

Underage sides deliver some mixed messages

It was a mixed weekend for Ulster age related teams against Leinster opposition as the current U19 title holders lost 40-13, the U20s kept up their challenge with a 15-10 success while the Schools side are still in the title chase following a commendable draw, 17-17.

Meanwhile, the U18 team had en even more difficult time and they were well beaten 61-3.

"We missed far too many tackles early and then we were in a catch up situation in that by forcing the pace and taking chances we made mistakes" commented U19 Manager Clive Bowles.

"Despite this setback I'm still confident we can still overcome Munster on Saturday," he added.

The under 20 side, having already defeated Connacht 27-7, now travel to Munster in an attempt to lift the title.

It was tough going at the Kingspan Stadium, 15-10, but Ulster's final try warranted the victory. A second half penalty by Robert Lyttle gave Ulster Schools a share of the points at St Mary's.

In the other game Ulster Youth lost to Leinster 61-3.

"We started well but it was not a good performance," commented Manager Liam Eastwood.


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