Ulster Go Top After Massive Defeat Of Edinburgh


The Covid concerns that forced the cancellation of Leinster’s game against Scarlets at the weekend mean that the Guinness Pro14 log tables after Round eight have a different look to what we have become used to.

Scarlets’ home game on Sunday was postponed because the Welsh regional team had coronavirus cases within the camp and is the latest of several PRO14 games to have been called off so far this season. It means that Leinster is still on 35 log points from seven games, a perfect record, but they have been usurped on top of the Conference A log by Ulster.

The men from Belfast responded to the carrot of being able to make a rare appearance at the summit with a convincing performance against Edinburgh at Murrayfield that further confirmed their status as a team that is on a sharp upward performance curve.

It was Ulster that ended the Edinburgh dream in last year’s competition by coming from behind to win the semi-final, but this rematch of that playoff game was never that close. Indeed, Edinburgh came back at Ulster for a while, otherwise, Ulster might have won by more than the eventual 29-point margin.

John Andrew scored a hat-trick and the visitors were always fairly comfortable as they shot into a 19-0 lead after 25 minutes before Ulster scored either side of halftime to cut the Ulster advantage to 19-14. The challenge just motivated Ulster to lift a gear, however, and that they did as they powered away in the latter part of the second half.

The bonus-point win means they move to 38 points, three ahead of Leinster, but of course, Leinster have a game in hand.

The race for the top position in Conference B is not nearly as close as in Conference A, with Munster taking their chance to open more space on Scarlets when they did what was expected of them in their home match against the Italian team, Zebre. Springbok centre Damian de Allende scored one of the seven Munster tries in a big win that opens up a 16-point lead for them on the second-placed team. Both they and Scarlets have played seven games, with Munster having had their recent scheduled game in Treviso against Benetton postponed a couple of weeks back.

Although the leadership board has changed in Conference A, the same three teams still have a zero in the loss column - Ulster, Leinster and Munster.

Covid interventions have caused some imbalance in the number of games the teams have played. For instance, while the good Dragons win over Benetton in Treviso at the weekend was only their second positive result of the season, the sixth-placed team have only played five games, three less than the table-topping Ulster.

One team that will be really pleased to be back on the winning column will be Glasgow Warriors, who have gone through a bit of a bleak time since the departure of new Wallaby coach, New Zealander Dave Rennie. Their win over Cardiff Blues in Newport was only their second success in seven starts so far in this campaign.

Weekend GuinnessPRO14 results

Edinburgh 14 Ulster 43
Benetton 19 Dragons 26
Cardiff Blues 10 Glasgow Warriors 19
Munster 52 Zebre 3