Two brilliant wins by Ulster and Connacht last night. Over to you Leinster and Munster.
On a weekend when some were talking about the potential for all four Irish provinces to lose in this round of games, gameweek 3 of the Heineken Cup has started out in magnificent fashion for Irish rugby.
First up were Connacht, who welcomed French giants Biarritz to the Sportsground. As we saw last year against Harlequins, the Galway venue can cause some big names to stumble and so it proved again last night as Eric Elwood’s men won 22-14 in a thrilling 80 minutes of action.
Biarritz were poor and if Dimitri Yachvili had brought his kicking boots, the French side may have taken more advantage of some ill-disciplined play by the home side. He didn’t, they didn’t and in the end, the Irish side deserved the win.
Dan Parks kicked 17 points and a very early Fetu’u Vainikolo try was enough to claim the win, a famous one savoured by Elwood.
“My initial reaction was sheer delight,” he said post-game according to today’s Irish Times. “I felt that something special was going to happen. It was a nice night. We had a shaky first half but I had the feeling if we took our opportunities and moved them around the park we could win.”
Meanwhile, over in Northampton, Ulster continued their amazing unbeaten run by thumping the Saints 25-6 at Franklin’s Gardens. For a team that once struggled on the road, Ulster are now battle hardened and a serious, serious contender to win the Heineken Cup.
Tries by Andrew Trimble, Tommy Bowe, Dan Tuohy and Jared Payne did the trick, and nabbed the bonus point, keeping Ulster on track to fly out of the Pool.
You can see Trimble’s try above. Can Munster and Leinster follow suit?