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Leinster hold a four-point advantage over the Vodacom Bulls following victory over Zebre Parma in Italy after the completion of round 12 in the 2023/24 Vodacom United Rugby Championship.

The South Africans kept the pressure on ahead of a heavyweight meeting in Round 13 with a win over the Dragons.

Glasgow Warriors are hot on the heels of the Bulls as they edged past Cardiff at Scotstoun, with Munster holding the final home-field advantage in the play-off race as they came out on top against Ospreys in Swansea.

DHL Stormers moved aboved Edinburgh after beating their Scottish rivals and the Emirates Lions moved into the play-off places after a victory over Connacht.

Ulster remain in the top eight but lost ground after going down to defeat against the Hollywoodbets Sharks.

Benetton slipped up against Scarlets as they sit in 10th place just a point outside of the play-offs in what is proving to be a competitive battle for the end-of-season spots.

Here, we take a closer look at all the action from Round 12.

Glasgow Warriors 17-13 Cardiff

Glasgow overturned a 13-0 half-time deficit to claim a hard-fought home victory.

The Welsh side arrived at Scotstoun as underdogs after winning just three of their previous 11 matches but – with the aid of a strong wind behind them – they bossed the scoreboard in the first half, with Ben Thomas’ try the highlight.

However, Glasgow took full advantage of the turnaround, with Max Williamson and Lucio Sordoni both scoring their first tries for the club.

Tinus de Beer kicked two penalties and a conversion for Cardiff while Duncan Weir converted both of Glasgow’s tries and added a penalty too.

Franco Smith (Glasgow Warriors)

“We’re a good team, we play with our hearts on our sleeve. I felt we were a little bit shellshocked in the first half and it was about focusing our energy and enthusiasm into certain areas.

“I’m excited we could problem solve, happy with the win, but there’s a lot of work to do. Blending the other internationals in is always a challenge. Hopefully we can build from this in the week coming.

“We work hard every week but we were challenged physically by Cardiff. They were very well prepared for us, they were eager. I’m glad in the serious conditions we could still get it done, especially to come back from 13-0 down at half-time.

“It was really tough. We still did a good job. We had opportunities we didn’t convert from the set-piece. It could have made a difference if we’d scored some points in the first half, taken the pressure off the second half.”

Tinus de Beer (Cardiff)

“We came here with a job to do and that was to stop them physically. We knew when they get going they are a tough team to beat. So I think the first half was probably one of our best in terms of keeping them out and system-wise as well.

“Credit to the forwards, they’ve worked hard and we were 13 points up at half-time. Looking back at the second half, against the wind, you only had to see how Glasgow played in the first half. It’s extremely difficult to play against the wind like that.

“So that cost us and just making silly little errors in our own half, which ultimately contributed to them winning the game.

“It was a massive effort from the boys, though. There wasn’t one point where we were completely out of it. We stuck right in it for the full 80 so I am massively proud of the team. The first time a team has taken a losing bonus point from Glasgow this season.”

Ospreys 17-27 Munster

Munster wing Sean O’Brien scored two tries to put a huge dent in Ospreys’ hopes of an end-of-season play-off spot.

Shane Daly and RG Snyman were also on the try-scoring sheet for the Irish side, with Joey Carbery converting two and adding a penalty.

Keelan Giles, Sam Parry and Alex Cuthbert scored tries for Ospreys, one of which Owen Williams converted.

Toby Booth (Ospreys)

“The overriding feeling is frustration to start like we did. We knew we had to play a little bit differently because physically they pose a big problem.

“When you play against physically bigger people sometimes you have to be smart and we paid a little bit of a price for that.

“At one point they had 100% entry conversion because they have scored two interceptions and two on breaks that we have made poor reads on. From that point of view, it is going to make the game really challenging.

“We also spilled the ball on their line three or four times. If we weren’t creating opportunities, I would be disappointed. It’s no secret, if you want to be an attack-based team the hardest bit is the last five metres.”

Hollywoodbets Sharks 22-12 Ulster

The Sharks ended a five-game losing streak with victory in Durban.

It was the Sharks’ first league win since November as they climbed off the URC basement thanks to tries from Phepsi Buthelezi, Eduan Keyter and Bongi Mbonambi.

Siya Masuku landed two conversions and a penalty as the temperature nudged 30 degrees at Kings Park while Harry Sheridan and Kieran Treadwell claimed touchdowns for Ulster, with John Cooney kicking one conversion.

But even a losing bonus point eluded interim head coach Richie Murphy in his first game at the helm following Dan McFarland’s departure, with Ulster temporarily going down to 13 players during the final quarter after captain Iain Henderson and James Hume were yellow-carded.

Richie Murphy (Ulster)

“I’m very proud of the guys. Although we’ve only been together for three training sessions, and a 24-hour travel day in the middle of that, I can see how hard they’re working.

“The wind was strong, and it was quite humid, a tough assignment and that might account for some of the knock-ons and where people have the ball but it squirted out.

“The ball was very slippery and wet through sweat. That accounts for some of the errors.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t get the result we wanted. We were working off about 30 per cent possession and I think that makes it very difficult and even with the possession we did have, we probably didn’t look after it well enough.”

Scarlets 16-13 Benetton

Replacement hooker Eduan Swart scored a last-minute try to rejuvenate Scarlets’ season with only their third win of their league campaign.

Moments before, Steff Evans had been held up over the line but Swart made no mistake when his team-mates shunted him over from a driving maul.

Sam Costelow converted to add to his three penalties.

Onisi Ratave scored Benetton’s try, with Jacob Umaga succeeding with two penalties and a conversion.

Dwayne Peel (Scarlets)

“I am pleased for the boys because they have been on the wrong end of those losses and they put a lot of hard work in. It was big for us to get that win at the end.

“I thought it was deserved. As the game went on we applied a lot of pressure. We created and we were bold with the ball when we needed to be.

“There are six league games to go, so there’s a lot of rugby still to be played and a lot of points to be won. We can still build up some momentum going into the back-end of the season.

“For us, it’s about climbing the league as much as we can. I also want us to play with a bit of endeavour and we did that at times out there.”

DHL Stormers 43-21 Edinburgh

Suleiman Hartzenberg scored a hat-trick of tries as the Stormers returned to winning ways.

Leolin Zas and Evan Roos touched down twice, with Manie Libbok kicking three conversions and Jurie Matthee one, as the Stormers secured a bonus point before half-time.

Edinburgh posted tries by Jake Henry, Bill Mata and replacement hooker Paddy Harrison, all converted by Ben Healy.

John Dobson (DHL Stormers)

“It felt like a bit of our spark was back. It felt like that a lot more, the way we want to play and our intensity, which is what Salmaan (Moerat) asked from the team before the game.

“What’s frustrating is how many tries we left out after two weeks ago in Pretoria. It was probably double that. But that’s not a technical thing. It’s not like something is wrong with our shape.

“I would rather have this than not being able to create those opportunities.”

Sean Everitt (Edinburgh)

“We knew the first week here was going to be tough.

“It’s quite a long flight when you go via Doha to get to Cape Town. It’s a massive adjustment for us, even though the guys are welcoming the South African sunshine. But we’re not going to use that as an excuse.

“We conceded four set-piece tries and that is disappointing because that’s bread and butter stuff. A bonus point would have been vital considering how tight the league is.”

Connacht 14-38 Emirates Lions

The Lions overcame the early dismissal of Asenathi Ntlabakanye to give their play-off hopes a boost with a first win in Ireland.

Francke Horn and JC Pretorius crossed to give the Lions a 12-7 half-time as they reacted impressively to Ntlabakanye’s sending-off for a 16th-minute high tackle.

Despite Cian Prendergast’s try, Connacht were struggling and Edwill van der Merwe’s 48th-minute intercept score raised real hopes of the Lions’ first away win since beating the Scarlets in November.

JJ Hanrahan doubled Connacht’s try tally, pulling it back to 19-14 with his second conversion, but Erich Cronje, Horn and replacement Morne van den Berg turned it into a runaway six-try victory, with Jordan Hendrikse finishing with four conversions.

Dragons 10-31 Vodacom Bulls

The Bulls moved into second place with victory at Rodney Parade.

The hosts competed strongly throughout but Bulls always had the additional power and that touch of class to ensure a bonus-point victory that leaves them four points behind Leinster.

Kurt-Lee Arendse, Mpilo Gumede, Embrose Papier and Johan Grobbelaar scored the South African side’s tries, with Chris Smith converting all four and adding a penalty.

The Dragons responded with a Corey Baldwin try that was converted by Will Reed, and a Cai Evans penalty, but it was not enough to prevent a 10th defeat in 12 league outings this season.

Dai Flanagan (Dragons)

“I felt we deserved more. There are some big decisions that didn’t go our way.

“At 17-3 we could have made it 17-10 with a decision that goes against us and we score on the next play off a kick through. It could have been a different game in that last 10 minutes.

“You could sense the boys were deflated. They had worked extremely hard with no reward.”

Zebre Parma 7-31 Leinster

Leaders Leinster continued their relentless play-off push by winning in Parma.

It promises to be a heavyweight encounter against the Bulls in Dublin on Friday, with many of Leinster’s sizeable Ireland international contingent potentially returning following their Six Nations success.

First-half tries by Rob Russell and Andrew Osborne sent Leinster on their way to a 10th win from 12 URC starts this season.

Luke McGrath and captain Scott Penny added touchdowns during the third quarter to secure a bonus point, while Russell crossed for his second try near the end and Ross Byrne kicked three conversions.

Zebre claimed a well-worked try from Jacopo Trulla that Geronimo Prisciantelli converted but, despite plenty of hard graft, they had no real answer to Leinster’s attacking flair.

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