It was a hectic weekend for Navy Blue Sports' client Joy Neville. The former Grand Slam winner was Assistant Referee on Friday evening for the Ulster Ospreys Pro14 clash. On Saturday, she reffed the AIL match between Trinity & Terenure & on Sunday evening Joy was named Sports Person of the Year at the People of the Year Awards.
A huge congratulations to Joy on an amazing achievement from all at Navy Blue Sports.
For several teams in the Pro14, it's crunch time as the regular season draws to a close. Several teams are fighting for a place in the Finals series or for a spot in next season's Champions Cup.
Munster, already qualified for the Finals series, kicked off the weekend's proceedings as they took on their nearest Conference A rivals the Cheetahs for the first time in Bloemfontein. Andrew Conway & Darren Sweetnam both played the full 80 minutes & Dan Goggin was another starter & saw 60 minutes of game-time. Brian Scott started and played 44 minutes & Conor Oliver saw out the last few minutes coming on as a replacement for O'Donoghue.
In a close fought & entertaining match, a monster 66th minute penalty kick from Conor Murray from inside his own half saw Munster take the win 17-19.
Glasgow, having secured a place in the Finals series several weeks ago, were looking to confirm a home semi-final as they welcomed Connacht to Scotstoun. Darragh Leader, Matt Healy & Eoghan Masterson all started for Connacht, who got off to a bright start with an early try. However, Glasgow dominated the rest of the half & despite a gutsy second half performance from the Westerners, Glasgow confirmed their home semi-final with a 35-22 win.
Ulster are one of the teams battling for a Champions Cup spot & as previously mentioned, they took on the Ospreys on Friday evening. The Northerners took an early lead with a seven minute penalty & the score remained 3-0 until the very end of the match. Nick Timoney came off the bench on 66 minutes to bolster the Ulster pack & a breakaway try from Stockdale in the 80th minute secured Ulster's win, keeping their hopes of a Champions Cup play-off place alive. In what must be the lowest scoring match in the Pro12/14 in a long time, Ulster will be satisfied with their 8-0 win.
Leinster took on hugely improved & competitive Benetton Treviso on Saturday evening in the RDS. Fergus McFadden, Noel Reid, Jordi Murphy, Andrew Porter & Ross Molony all started for Leinster. In a tight first half, Leinster went in 12-5 up. But in the second half, Treviso showed why they were at a record-breaking ten wins out of 19 matches this season putting the home team under tremendous pressure. Despite James Tracy coming on with 30 minutes to go, Leinster were unable to hold on to their lead & the Italians ran out deserved 15-17 winners.
Over in the Aviva Premiership, Marty Moore's Wasps took on Worcester on Saturday with Marty coming on for the final quarter. Wasps' four try bonus point 30-15 win saw them jump from fifth to third place in the Premiership.
Danny Kenny once again captained London Scottish in their match against Richmond in the Greene King IPA Championship. In an extremely tight game, London Scottish ran out winners 29-30.
In other Championship news, Peter Lydon came off the bench for the final 15 minutes in Ealing Trailfinders' 54-36 win over Hartpury RFC & Jerry Sexton continued his scoring form with two tries in the Jersey Red's 50-29 victory over Nottingham.
In the Top14, Dave Ryan started for Agen as they battled relegation & with a 22-33 win over Pau, it looks likely that they will continue to play in the Top14 next season.
Finally, after eight months out of the game through injury, it was great to see Tom Daly back on the pitch. Tom played the first half for Lansdowne in their 10-19 win over Buccaneers in the Aviva Stadium.