Irish Provinces Review after Week Fourteen of Guinness Pro 12

Last weekend saw the return of the Pro 12 and all four Irish Provinces were in action. Ulster started the weekend with a comfortable win over Treviso. Munster overcame Cardiff Blues in Cork, while both Connacht and Leinster lost. This is the Irish Provinces Review after Week Fourteen of Guinness Pro 12 action.


A crowd of over 15,000 at the Kingspan Stadium saw Ulster score six tries against Treviso in a game that they were comfortable in from the first whistle. It was a great night for Ulster winger Craig Gilroy as he put in a man of the match performance scoring two tries on his 100 Ulster appearance.

Michael Allen, Stuart McCloskey, Andrew Warwick as well as penalty try added to Gilroy’s tries as they home side moved ahead of Leinster into fourth in the table. Ruan Pienaar added 13 points from the boot to leave the final score 43-3.

Ulster have added to their squad this week with the signing of Samoan out half Mike Stanley on a short term deal until the end of the season. Stanley will provide cover for Ian Humphreys as Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding are on the long term injury list Ulster travel to Edinburgh this Friday in their next Pro 12 game.


Munster briefly went to the top of the Pro 12 table after a 33-16 win over Cardiff Blues in Cork last Saturday. This was the first game in the new Irish Independent Park stadium and nearly 7,000 fans witnessed Denis Hurley, Jack O’Donoghue and Ronan O’Mahony’s tries seal Munster’s win.

O’Donoghue was making his first Pro 12 start for Munster and was mightily impressive throughout the game. The home side were made to work extremely hard by a plucky Cardiff Blues outfit.  Anthony Foley’s team face Welsh opposition again this weekend as they take on the Scarlets on Saturday afternoon

Some sad news coming out of Munster is that hooker Damien Varley has been forced to retire due to a persistent foot injury. He played over 100 times for Munster and earned three caps for Ireland. Varley will be a major loss to the squad and will be very difficult to replace. He played his final game for the province last October in their Pro 12 win over Leinster at the Aviva Stadium.


Leinster suffered a shock defeat to the Dragons at the RDS last Sunday. Despite missing a huge number of International players, Leinster were expected to have enough to overcome a Dragons side who have struggled this season.

It was the first time Leinster have lost to this opposition in six years and the defeat has dented their chances of a home semi-final in the competition. Dave Kearney scored their only try of the game with Jimmy Gopperth adding three penalties but it was not enough as they lost by two points.

Next up for Matt O’Connor’s men is home tie on Friday evening against bottom of the table Zebre. The full five points are a must in this game to maintain their title challenge but Zebre are capable of frustrating any team if they are mentally switched on. However, Leinster should win this game with plenty to spare.


Connacht were second best to the Scarlets for the full 80 minutes of this game as they lost by 32-14. Niyi Adeolokun’s second half try put a bit of gloss on the scoreline but in truth the Scarlets could and possibly should have won by a lot more.

This defeat puts Connacht further away from fifth placed Leinster and they now have face a major three way battle with Edinburgh and the Scarlets for the coveted sixth position in the table. Connacht and the Scarlets have 33 points while Edinburgh sit on 32.

Pat Lam’s side will hope to get back to winning ways with a trip to Rodney Parade where they face off against the Dragons. The Dragons will be full of confidence after their sensational win against Leinster and Connacht have a big chance of becoming their latest victims.

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