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Weekend Review: Star Performers

Weekend Review: Star Performers

Jacob Stockdale crossed during Ireland's Grand Slam-clinching win at Twickenham in 2018. ©Inpho

Inpho

Record-breaking Ireland winger Jacob Stockdale scored a late try to help Ulster to an 8-0 win over Ospreys to keep them in the hunt for a PRO14 Final Series place.

Record-breaking Ireland winger Jacob Stockdale scored a late try to help Ulster to an 8-0 win over Ospreys to keep them in the hunt for a PRO14 Final Series place.

Stockdale raised the bar for the number of tries scored by an individual in a single NatWest 6 Nations campaign with seven scores, breaking the previous best of six tries, held jointly by Wales’ Shane Williams and England’s Will Greenwood and Chris Ashton.

The Ulster man helped Ireland to a Grand Slam win in this year’s Championship and his late try on Friday night kept alive his club’s feint hopes of overtaking Edinburgh in Conference B of the PRO14.

Elsewhere, Stockdale’s Ireland teammate Conor Murray produced an enormous penalty to rescue the win for Munster in Bloemfontein against the Toyota Cheetahs.
 


Scottish internationals impress for Warriors
Two-time Player of the Championship Stuart Hogg scored after just three minutes as Glasgow Warriors raced to victory over Connacht Rugby and sealed top spot in Conference A of the PRO14.

Hogg started all five NatWest 6 Nations games as Scotland finished third in the standings and was on form for his club this weekend.

Scotland teammate Fraser Brown also scored in their 35-22 win.

Canna holds his nerve to down Dragons
Italy half-back Carlo Canna converted his own try to give Zebre Rugby a late win over Dragons in the PRO14.

Canna came on as a substitute in four of Italy’s five 2018 NatWest 6 Nations games, but played a starring role from the start against Dragons, scoring 16 points to seal the win.
 


Meanwhile, fellow Italian internationals Tommaso Allan and Federico Ruzza both bagged tries as Benetton Rugby claimed a famous win away at Leinster, winning 17-15, as they remain in the hunt of securing a Champions Cup spot.

Simmonds hat-trick gives Exeter Chiefs home semi-final
Sam Simmonds, England’s back row forward, shot to prominence during this year’s Championship, scoring two tries from four appearances in his first taste of NatWest 6 Nations action.

The Exeter man scored a hat-trick of tries against London Irish as the defending Premiership champions booked a home semi-final with two games to spare.
 


His England teammate Owen Farrell scored a try of his own as Saracens cruised past Bath Rugby, winning 41-6, and Welsh wing Liam Williams was also on the scoresheet.

Bastareaud try keeps Toulon in the hunt
Mathieu Bastareaud bagged a try in Toulon’s win over league leaders Montpellier in the Top 14, to keep his side in with a chance of earning a home semi-final.

The imposing centre inspired France to a hard-fought 22-16 win over England in this year’s NatWest 6 Nations and then replaced the injured Guilhem Guirado as captain for their narrow defeat to Wales on the final weekend.  

Elsewhere Gael Fickou, who made three appearances and scored one try during France’s 2018 NatWest 6 Nations campaign, was on the scoresheet for Toulouse as they leapfrogged Racing 92 into second position in the Top 14 with a 42-27 win.