Toulouse 14 – 16 Connacht
Toulouse started the game at a frantic pace and seemed certain of scoring an early try. However this never materialised and it was Connacht who took the lead courtesy of a penalty and a drop goal by Dan Parks to give them a six point cushion approaching half time. However Toulouse would have a big say before the break as Jean-Pascal Barraque gave Toulouse an unlikely one point lead with a brilliant try.
Parks opened the second half account for Connacht when he slotted over an early penalty to restore their lead. A great move down the wing with some good offloading resulted in Kieran Marion crossing over as Connacht extended their lead. Parks slotted over the conversion to make the score 16-7. Connacht managed to turn over a lot of possession and should have scored another try but it was called back due to a knock on. Thierry Dusautoir gave the French side some hope when he crossed over for their second try of the game, Lionel Beauxis added the conversion. Toulouse searched for a late winner but lost possession in the process as Connacht recorded a remarkable victory by 16 points to 14.
Munster 36 – 8 Perpignan
Munster tore Perpignan apart at the weekend, cruising to a 36-8 victory.
Munster dominated the first half and exploited gaps and weaknesses in the French sides defence. Tries by Sean Dougall, David Kilcoyne and Keith Earls providing the crucial scores that gave Munster the platform they needed to claim victory in this match. Munster pressure was evident on the scoreboard as they led by 22 points to zero at Half time.
The second half was mostly job done for Munster as they wrapped up the game by collecting the bonus point when sheer pressure from the Munster maul resulted in the referee awarding a penalty try. A James Coughlan try added more embarrassment for the French outfit although a late try gave them some respectability on the scoreboard when Joffrey Michel added a consolation.
Ulster 48 – 0 Treviso
Ulster trounced Treviso in Ravenhill at the weekend. Ulster’s ability of offloading in the ball was superb. Early tries by Paddy Jackson and Luke Marshall gave them the lead they needed to push on and press home their advantage. They soon followed this when John Afoa added Ulster’s third try of the evening. The Ulstermen led by 22 points to zero at the break.
Treviso dominated the early stages of the second half but failed to breach the Ulster defence. Ulster weathered that storm and further tries from Dan Tuohy, Sean Doyle, Andrew Trimble and a second try from Marshall ensured they got a winning bonus point. Ulster win comprehensively 48-0.
Leinster 40 – 7 Northampton Saints
Leinster expressed their dominance over Northampton, who had no answer to the onslaught they received at the weekend. Leinster won comfortably by 40 points to 7.
Within minutes of the game starting Leinster were on the scoreboard thanks to Luke Fitzgerald who played exceptionally well. Fitzgerald added a second try which would be soon followed by tries from Jamie Heaslip and Eoin Reddan giving the 2012 European Champions a 26-0 half time lead.
Leinster remained in control of the game in the second half when Brian O’Driscoll intercepted a pass to give him a try. He was the main orchestrator and involved in most of the other tries. Northampton Saints got a mere consolation try when Lee Dickson scored their only try of the game. Some good passing and offloading resulted in Luke Fitzgerald sealed his hat trick of tries to give Leinster the upper hand in the return fixture and a bonus point. Leinster win by 40 – 7.
Image courtesy of Irish Examiner