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Published: 19:02 | 30/1/16

PRO12: Good day for Irish provinces

Wins for Connacht, Munster and Ulster

It was a good day for the Irish provinces in the Guinness PRO12 as Munster, Connacht and Ulster all recorded victories, with Pat Lam's side now up to second in the table following a bonus-point victory over Scarlets.

Connacht bagged a bonus point as they

eased to a 30-10 win over league leaders Scarlets at The Sportsground

in Galway.

An early Jack Carty penalty put Connacht ahead and they extended their lead when flanker Jake Heenan finished off a fine maul to cross for the opening try of the game on 21 minutes.

Carty was unable to convert and was off target again four minutes before the break after Heenan touched down for his and Connacht's second try of the game as they looked to turn the screw on the Welsh side.

But Scarlets hit back after the break.

First, Aled Thomas reduced the arrears with a penalty on 43 minutes, before DTH Van der Merwe crossed for a try immediately afterwards.

Thomas converted to leave just three points between the sides just five minutes into the second period, before Carty steadied the ship with his second penalty of the day shortly afterwards to make it 16-10.

Dennis Buckley added a third try for Pat Lam's side on 52 minutes, finishing off a fine fowards move, with Carty successfully converting to make it 23-10 and restore Connacht's grip on proceedings.

Substitute Rodney Ah You secured the bonus point with the home side's fourth try on 63 minutes, with Carty again on target with the conversion to make it 3010 and end any hopes of a Scarlets revival.

Gareth Owen crossed for a second try for the visitors seven minutes from the end, with Thomas converting to leave 13 points between the sides, but that was as good as it got for Scarlets who were well beaten in the end.

Munster got their PRO12 campaign back on track with a hard-fought 16-12 victory over a stubborn Zebre side in Parma.

Mark Chisholm crossed for an early try which Ian Keatley converted, but three Kelly Haimona penalties gave the home side a 9-7 lead midway through the first half.

Keatley restored Munster's advantage with his first penalty of the day shortly afterwards before Haimona slotted his fourth to leave the score 12-10 to the home side after half an hour.

Keatley landed another penalty on 36 minutes to give the visitors the narrowest of leads at 13-12 at the break.

The second half was a dour affair as the mist descended, with neither side giving any quarter.

A Keatley drop goal seven minutes from the end put a modicum of daylight between the sides, but he was wide with a penalty attempt shortly afterwards to keep Zebre within a try of victory.

But they couldn't respond and Munster held on for a much-needed win.

Ulster produced a four-try second-half salvo to take a bonus point as they hammered Treviso 32-6 at the Stade Comunale di Monigo.

The visitors were ahead courtesy of an Ian Humphreys penalty on ten minutes, before Jayden Hayward replied in kind for the home side on the half hour.

Humphreys restored Ulster's advantage on 37 minutes after Treviso were caught offside to give the Irish province a slender 6-3 lead at t half time.

Hayward brought the sides level again with his second penalty of the day on 47 minutes.

But Ulster were back in front five minutes later with the first try of the game as Sean Reidy finished off a good maul and drive close to the Treviso line.

Humphreys added the conversion to make it 13-6 to the visitors.

They were further ahead on 57 minutes as Darren Cave crashed through for a second try under the posts.

It was a simple conversion for Humphreys and suddenly Ulster were in full control at 20-6 with just over 20 minutes to play.

They had a third try on 62 minutes as Rory Scholes intercepted a loose pass in midfield and ran in from the half-way line to score under the posts.

Stuart Olding assumed the kicking duties and duly converted to make it 27-6.

They secured the bonus point with eight minutes remaining when Olding crossed in the corner.

He was unable to add the extras but the job was more than complete for Neil Doak's men.

Braam Steyn scored a consolation try for Treviso two minutes from the end which Hayward converted, but it was a comprehensive victory for the visitors.

By: Kieran O'Daly

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