DEFEATED DOBSON PRAISES 'SUBLIME' PRIESTLAND
Cardiff ended the DHL Stormers’ 15-match unbeaten run in the BKT United Rugby Championship as Wales fly-half contender Rhys Priestland kicked 20 points in a 30-24 victory at the Arms Park.
Priestland was named Man of the Match for the way he ran the show against the league champions as he staked a strong case to wear the No 10 jersey in the opening autumn international against New Zealand.
Switching from full-back, where he had previously lined up this season, the versatile veteran landed seven shots at goal and also set up tries for wings Theo Cabango and Jason Harries with pin-point cross kicks.
It was a master-class display that won warm plaudits from gracious DHL Stormers head coach John Dobson.
“I thought he was absolutely sublime, just superb,” he said.
“That was right up there in terms of a tactical kicking display from a 10, no question. He was magnificent.”
Cardiff director of rugby Dai Young echoed Dobson in praising the 35-year-old Priestland, who won the last of his 52 caps against Australia just under 12 months ago.
“I thought he had a great game at 10. It was a real good performance,” said the former Wales and Lions prop.
“He controlled the game really well and showed what a quality operator he is. With his kicking game, he put us out of danger on a lot of occasions and also put pressure on them. He was also really accurate taking the points, which is hugely important. I thought he was excellent.”
As for the DHL Stormers, it was their first defeat in the league since they lost to Connacht out in Galway way back in February. They did have the consolation of picking up two losing bonus points, having scored four tries, three of them through lineout drives.
But having also been denied victory in last week’s draw with the Ospreys, the title holders will be hungry to return to winning ways when they take on the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg next Saturday.
LEINSTER ROLL ON
Table-topping Leinster made it six wins out of six in the league as they defeated a spirited young Munster side 27-13 in front of a 46,000 crowd at the Aviva Stadium.
They surprisingly found themselves behind early in the second half when No 8 Gavin Coombes crossed for the visitors.
But they pulled away in the final quarter, ending up with four tries to secure the maximum haul, which sees them go seven points clear of second-placed Ulster.
One of their touchdowns came from scrum-half Luke McGrath, who was named Man of the Match.
Giving his verdict on the contest, McGrath said: “It’s always an unbelievable battle against Munster. It was a very tough match, unbelievably physical, and we are delighted to get the win. I thought our pack were brilliant and really set the platform for us.”
EDINBURGH’S HAPPY AWAY DAY
Edinburgh claimed their first away win in the BKT URC since March with a 38-19 bonus point victory over Zebre out in Parma.
They ran in six tries in all, with hooker Adam McBurney touching down twice as they built a 31-0 lead.
Zebre Parma played for close on an hour with just 14 men following a red card for flanker MJ Pelser, but showed real fight after the break scoring three tries of their own.
The Man of the Match award went to Fijian No 8 Viliame Mata who marked his 31st birthday and 100th appearance for Edinburgh with a real barnstorming carrying display.
Commenting on the game, his coach Mike Blair said: “It was very stop start, but we are really pleased to come away with five points.”
REST OF THE ACTION
Friday night’s BKT United Rugby Championship games saw bonus point victories for Connacht, who beat the Scarlets 36-14 in Galway, and the Vodacom Bulls, 44-22 victors over Benetton out in Treviso.
Irish international winger Mack Hansen crossed twice for Connacht, while the Vodacom Bulls posted five tries after the break to turn around a 9-3 half-time deficit.
Both games that were due to be played in South Africa over the weekend – Emirates Lions v Glasgow and Cell C Sharks v Ulster - were postponed due to gastroenteritis infections within the visiting camps. The matches will be rescheduled for later dates.