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Leinster slip up as Munster snatch top spot in Pro12

By Iain Strachan

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An emphatic victory over Connacht on the final day of the regular season, combined with Leinster’s loss to Ulster, saw Munster claim top spot in the Pro12, with Scarlets and Ospreys joining them in the semi-finals.


Tries from Roger Wilson and captain Andrew Trimble in the first and second half respectively helped Ulster to down try-less Leinster 17-13 at Kingspan Stadium, providing Ruan Pienaar with a winning send-off and leaving Leo Cullen’s side, beaten finalists last season, to settle for second place in the table.

Although Ulster gained a measure of revenge for their semi-final loss to Leinster last season, they missed a chance to snatch a spot in the top four by failing to earn a bonus point.

There was no slip-up from Munster, who thrashed last season’s champions Connacht 50-14, with Keith Earls, Jack O’Donoghue and Andrew Conway all crossing in the first half at Thomond Park.

The onslaught continued after the break, Conway notching again as James Cronin, Francis Saili and Conor Oliver claimed a try apiece.

Munster’s semi-final will be against Ospreys, who finished fourth behind Scarlets after losing their all-Welsh clash 40-17.

There were tries from Will Boyde, Rob Evans, Aaron Shingler, Johnny McNicholl and Gareth Davies in Llanelli for hosts Scarlets, who tackle Leinster in the last four.

Glasgow Warriors finished sixth, one place behind Ulster, despite suffering a 29-18 loss at home to local rivals Edinburgh, while Cardiff Blues edged Newport Gwent Dragons 26-24, Willis Halaholo running the show as the Pro12 returned to Caerphilly for the first time since 2002.

Treviso signed off on their season with a morale-boosting 19-3 win over bottom side Zebre, securing the right to represent Italy in the Champions Cup as a consequence.


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Leinster slip up as Munster snatch top spot in Pro12