Tuesday 17 October 2017

Five moments of magic from the Irish provinces over the weekend

Munster's Ian Keatley, right, celebrates with team-mate JJ Hanrahan after kicking a drop goal to win the match with the last kick of the game.
Munster's Ian Keatley, right, celebrates with team-mate JJ Hanrahan after kicking a drop goal to win the match with the last kick of the game.
Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

Three wins out of four and a losing bonus point at Welford Road for Ulster meant it was a relatively good start to the new season for the Irish provinces. These were some of the best moments from the weekend's action.

1) JJ Hanrahan shows his class

Trailing by two points with six minutes remaining and camped in their own half, Munster substitute JJ Hanrahan produced a sublime kick to bring play up to Sale's 22.

It was an amazing touch, especially considering that there was a gale force wind at his back. Munster won it back and the rest is history.

Hanrahan.jpg
Munster supporters jump in for a 'selfie' with JJ Hanrahan after the game. European Rugby Champions Cup 2014/15, Pool 1, Round 1, Sale Sharks v Munster, AJ Bell Stadium, Sale, Greater Manchester, England. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

2) Ian Keatley does his best ROG impression

With the game clock in the red, Keatley showed his mettle by landing that late drop kick to send the brilliant travelling support into raptures. He had earlier opted to pass when in position because Chris Cussiter was closing him down too fast.

An exhibition of maturity and guts.

3) Gopperth puts the perfect weight on priceless grubber

Leinster were struggling at 13-3 down in the first half of their encounter with Wasps. Playing a captain's role, Jamie Heaslip burst a hole in the Premiership side's defence.

When the ball was spread to the right, Jimmy Gopperth took advantage of poor positioning from Wasps flyer Christian Wade to play a delightful grubber that Darragh Fanning was on hand to dot down.

Gopperth.jpg
Darragh Fanning, Leinster, goes over for his side's first try. European Rugby Champions Cup 2014/15, Pool 2, Round 1, Leinster v Wasps. RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

4) Tommy Bowe finishes off delightful move to earn bonus

A losing bonus point was all that Ulster could bring away from Welford Road but they did show all their attacking prowess with a stirring Tommy Bowe try in the 55th minute, linking beautifully with Jared Payne to kick-start Ulster's comeback.

The Ulster back line has the potential to wreak havoc and will need more of the same this weekend when European powerhouse Toulon visit Ravenhill.

Bowe.jpg
Tommy Bowe, Ulster, scores his side's first try of the game despite the tackle by Julian Salvi, Leicester Tigers. European Rugby Champions Cup 2014/15, Pool 3, Round 1, Leicester Tigers v Ulster, Welford Road, Leicester, England. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

5) Robbie Henshaw dazzles as Connacht overwhelm La Rochelle

Picking up a brace of tries out of Connacht's seven, Henshaw added to his burgeoning reputation with another outstanding display.

Connacht will be under a lot more pressure when they visit Sandy Park this weekend.

Henshaw.jpg
Robbie Henshaw, Connacht, with support from team-mate John Muldoon, is tackled by Arthur Cestaro, centre, and Nicolas Djebaili, La Rochelles.

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