Leinster ultimately withstood a spirited Zebre to win 40-24 and go 22 points clear at the top of Pro14 Conference B, while Glasgow Warriors fended off Cardiff Blues and Connacht earned a crucial victory over the Cheetahs.
Zebre, rooted to the bottom of Conference A, clearly had not read the script, though, and Francois Brummer, Jamie Elliott and Gabriele Di Giulio each scored to bring the score to within two by the break.
Brummer had a second after Scott Fardy had extended Leinster’s lead, but the Italian side were stretched in the closing stages as Conor O’Brien and Deegan ensured a comfortable margin of victory.
Glasgow are just two points off Conference A leaders Munster after a thrilling 38-34 success in the Welsh capital as Aled Summerhill’s hat-trick proved in vain for the Blues.
In a match where the teams split 10 tries, the Warriors saw a 21-point lead chipped away at by Summerhill and Owen Lane scores either side of the break.
Connacht left it late to secure a potentially big 25-17 win over South African outfit the Cheetahs to go third in Conference A.
Benetton Treviso boosted their play-off push and simultaneously dented the Scarlets’ chances with a 25-19 victory.
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