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Published: 17:00 | 28/2/16

PRO12 round-up: Ulster lose, wins for Munster and Leinster

Leinster remain second in table

A sensational final ten minutes from the Cardiff Blues dented Ulster’s Pro12 top four hopes as the province fell to a 23-13 defeat in Wales.

After a tense opening 40 minutes, in which Paddy Jackson outscored Rhys Patchell by two penalties to one as Ulster went in 6-3 up at the break, the game kicked into like in the second period.

Craig Gilroy looked to have put the visitors on course for victory when he crossed to finish a sensational move after 47 minutes.

Ulster continued to attack as they looked to kill the game off, but they were unable to find another score and they were made pay in the final 15 minutes.

Rhys Patchell reduced the deficit to four with a penalty, before the fly half benefitted from a brilliant line from Lee-Lo and crossed to put the hosts in front.

And the Blues wrapped up the victory in the dying Minutes when Aled Summerhill grabbed their second try in quick succession to condemn Ulster to their second straight Pro12 defeat.

Leinster closed the gap to Connacht at the top of the table to just one point with a routine four-try, 27-10, win over Zebre in Italy.

Leo Cullen’s men, who have now won 10 of their last 11 matches, led 12-3 at the break after Luke McGrath and Dominic Ryan crossed and Isa Nacewa added a conversion.

And it was more of the same for Cullen’s men after the interval as they widened the gap through a Nacewa penalty, before the third try arrived courtesy of Adam Byrne.

The muddy conditions made it difficult for the visitors as Zebre continued to battle and the home side were rewarded for their effort seven minutes from time when Federico Ruzza crossed.

However, this was just a blip for Leinster and they wrapped up maximum points in the dying minutes when Jordi Murphy emerged from the base of maul to seal an impressive 17-point win for his side.

In Italy, Ian Keatley held his nerve to kick the winning penalty five minutes from time as Munster kept their top four hopes alive with a hard fought 16-13 win against Benetton Treviso.

Munster started well and took the lead after 13 minutes. A driving maul looked to have been held up, but the province recycled the ball and worked it to Gerhard van den Heever to cross in the corner.

The lead didn’t last long, though, as the hosts hit-back ten minutes later when Robert Barbieri powered over to level. Jayden Hayward then added the extras to send Treviso in 7-5 up at the break.

The second half started much like the first finished with Treviso on top and they extended their lead through a Hayward penalty on 52 minutes.

Munster regrouped and levelled six minutes later when Francis Saili chased down Andrew Conway’s kick and raced over. Again though, Keatley missed the conversion.

Hayward and Keatley then traded penalties, before Keatley showed nerves of steel to kick his side in front with five minutes left and the Anthony Foley's men held on to secure a crucial win.

More to follow....

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