ALL THINGS IRELAND: LEINSTER & ULSTER WIN BIG AS UNLUCKY CONNACHT LOSE OUT
IRELAND BEAT NEW ZEALAND FOR THE 1ST TIME 40-29 IN HISTORIC WIN IN CHICAGO...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

LEINSTER & ULSTER WIN BIG AS UNLUCKY CONNACHT LOSE OUT

Aironi 20-46 Ulster

Ulster's Heineken Cup ambitions remain alive and kicking after a bonus point victory over Aironi in Monza moved them to the top of Pool 4.
Brian McLaughlin's men scored six tries on their way to a well-merited win which puts them in pole position ahead of next month's crunch clashes with Leicester Tigers (home) and Clermont Auvergne (away).
Andrew Trimble, Tom Court, Craig Gilroy and replacements Robbie Diack and Adam Macklin were all on the mark for the visitors, while a first half penalty try added to Italian woes.




Gloucester 23-19 Connacht

Connacht 'fronted up magnificently', in the words of Eric Elwood, and were just minutes away from an historic first Heineken Cup victory when Jonny May struck for the match-winning try for Gloucester.

 Jonny May's 75th-minute try kept alive Gloucester's faint Heineken Cup hopes and extended Connacht's frustrating run of defeats to 10 matches.

Niall O'Connor looked to have earned the westerners their first win of the competition when his 72nd minute penalty put the visitors 19-16 up, but replacement centre May then sailed past two defenders for the decisive score.


Tiernan O'Halloran, who had another impressive outing, and Tim Taylor had earlier traded first half tries, while O'Connor kicked four penalties and Taylor and Freddie Burns combined for three for the hosts.
May's late intervention was a bitter blow for Eric Elwood's supremely committed side, who were unlucky to lose after being the better team for much of the match against an out-of-sorts Gloucester.






Leinster 52-27 Bath

Leinster hold a six-point lead at the top of Heineken Cup Pool 3 after dispatching Bath with great aplomb at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday night.



Three first half tries - two of them scored while Leo Cullen was in the sin-bin - saw Leinster regain their ruthless streak amid a festive atmosphere at the home of Irish rugby.


A crowd of 46,365, the second largest ever for a Heineken Cup pool match, watched on as Rob Kearney, Luke Fitzgerald and Jonathan Sexton all crossed the visitors' whitewash to give Joe Schmidt's charges a 24-6 half-time lead.
Fitzgerald darted over just 30 seconds into the second half to chalk up the bonus point, and there were further tries for Eoin Reddan and replacements Rhys Ruddock and Ian Madigan.
The hosts thrived in broken play, efficiently putting away the sort of chances they failed to convert at the Recreation Ground just six days ago.



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