John Cooney claimed an 18-point haul as Ulster beat Munster 38-17 and the Scarlets edged a derby win over Cardiff Blues to go top of Pro14 Conference B on Friday.
Ulster followed up their 35-3 thumping of Connacht with another commanding performance at Kingspan, outscoring Munster by five tries to two to sit six points behind Conference A leaders Leinster in second place.
Scrum-half Cooney made a statement on a night in which he came up against Ireland’s first-choice scrum-half Conor Murray, while it proved to be a miserable first start of the season for fit-again Munster fly-half Joey Carbery.
Shane Daly’s try put Munster, beaten by champions Leinster last time out, in front but Cooney and Robert Baloucoune crossed at the other end, both scores converted by Cooney after he was also on target with a penalty.
Carbery’s penalty reduced the deficit to 17-10 at the break, but Ulster ran away with it in the second half to maintain their unbeaten home record in the competition this season, Matty Rea, Stuart McCloskey and Jacob Stockdale touching down in a bonus-point triumph.
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) January 3, 2020
Gareth Davies scored his 50th Scarlets try as the Welsh region won 16-14 at Cardiff Arms Park to replace Munster at the summit.
Davies reached the landmark in style in the first half with a stunning solo score and Leigh Halfpenny scored the other points for the visitors from the tee as tries from Owen Lane and Josh Adams proved to be in vain for the Blues.
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