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Saturday’s United Rugby Championship round-up

Glasgow Warriors and Ospreys opened a bumper day of URC action with victories in Italy; Still to come: Edinburgh saw off the Blue Bulls and Leinster were big winners against Scarlets; Still to come: Cardiff and Munster secured narrow wins in the late games

We round up all of the action on a bumper day of games in the United Rugby Championship, which saw six matches taking place…

Zebre 6-17 Glasgow Warriors

Glasgow made it three URC wins on the bounce with a 17-6 victory over Zebre Parma in Italy.

Having lost their season opener at Ulster, the Warriors have now chalked up consecutive wins against the Sharks, Lions and Zebre ahead of next weekend’s home clash with Leinster – their final match before the international break.

First-half tries from Lewis Bean and Sione Tuipulotu put the visitors in control, while a Duncan Weir penalty was all either side could muster after the break.

Zebre – limited to six points from the boot of Carlo Canna – did show some threatening glimpses but have now not won a game in any competition since February and their record against Glasgow stands at 18 defeats and no victories.

Benetton 26-29 Ospreys

Ospreys survived a stunning Benetton fightback to emerge with a victory from their URC match in Treviso.

Having initially failed to build on a dominant start and fallen 26-7 behind, Benetton produced second-half tries from Rhyno Smith, Monty Ioane and Tommaso Menoncello to pull level.

However, the Ospreys, whose challenge was hampered by the loss of Luke Morgan and debutant Alex Cuthbert to the sin-bin, snatched victory late on thanks to a Stephen Myler penalty.

The visitors had looked almost out of sight after Max Nagy and Ethan Roots touched down before half-time and Rhys Webb crossed twice after the break.

Benetton, who had taken an early lead through Gianmarco Lucchesi, battled admirably but fell just short of a famous comeback victory.

Edinburgh 17-10 Bulls

Edinburgh held on against a late Bulls rally to pick up their second win of the URC at the DAM Health Stadium.

The Scottish side snatched a seventh-minute lead when the first slick passage of play in the match led to Damien Hoyland setting up an unconverted Henry Immelman try with a well-weighted grubber.

The Bulls pulled three points back thanks to a penalty from Chris Smith, but Jaco Van Der Walt was on the money with three penalties in quick succession to make it 14-3 to the hosts at the break.

However, the Edinburgh number 10 then picked up a painful-looking shoulder injury whilst making a tackle during the last play of the first half and had to be replaced by James Johnstone, with James Lang moving inwards from centre to the stand-off slot.

With 10 minutes to go, Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee muscled in for the try and Morne Steyn’s conversion made it 14-10, which was just a bit too close for comfort for the hosts. But they showed good composure and earned a ruck penalty which Mark Bennett slotted over to seal the win.

Leinster 50-15 Scarlets

Leinster’s forwards hogged all seven tries for themselves in a runaway victory in the Saturday evening clash with the Scarlets in Dublin.

Two slick scores from Johnny McNicholl and debutant Tomas Lezana kept Scarlets in the contest at 29-15, but Leinster powered home with closing tries from replacements Cian Healy and two from Dan Sheehan.

A late penalty try had given the hosts a 22-8 half-time lead, and Caelan Doris claimed the bonus point to add to earlier efforts from Ronan Kelleher and the excellent Andrew Porter.

Ross Byrne added three conversions from the hosts, with Jonny Sexton and Ciaran Frawley kicking one apiece along with Sexton kicking an early penalty. Scarlets pair Sam Costelow and Dan Jones kicked a penalty and conversion respectively too.

Cardiff 23-17 Sharks

Rhys Priestland steered Cardiff to a hard-fought 23-17 victory as his side survived a second-half onslaught from the Sharks.

The hosts led 17-0 at one stage but were hanging on grimly at the death and 13 points from the boot of the impressive Priestland proved just enough.

Cardiff’s tries came from Matthew Morgan and Willis Halaholo, with Priestland kicking two conversions and three penalties

Thomas Du Toit and Marnus Potgieter scored tries for the Sharks, while Curwin Bosch converted one and Boeta Chamberlain added a penalty and a conversion.

Munster 20-18 Connacht

Diarmuid Barron’s 78th-minute try proved decisive as Munster edged out Connacht in a rip-roaring win at Thomond Park.

The all-important conversion was added by Joey Carbery, who just a few minutes earlier had been charged down by player of the match Jack Carty for the concession of seven points.

The first interprovincial clash of the season was a typically bruising affair, with Connacht fly-half Carty kicking two penalties inside the first nine minutes before Chris Cloete’s late try sent Munster in at the break with a 7-6 lead.

Two Carbery penalties sandwiched an unconverted effort from Connacht No. 8 Paul Boyle, but despite Carty’s 70th-minute heroics, the Munster forwards had the final say.

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