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Wales’ four pro teams prepare for the next two rounds of European Rugby with a big boost after a clean sweep of victories this weekend in the Guinness PRO12.

It was a weekend to celebrate the best of Welsh pro rugby as all four teams sealed impressive wins with the Cardiff Blues kicking off with a big performance against league leaders Connacht on Friday evening.

Cardiff Blues battled hard to claim a crucial 20-16 victory at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park with a strong late defensive show to keep a confident Irish side at bay – securing their second league win of the season on home soil.

Tries from man-of-the-match Manoa Vosawai and winger Tom James fired the home side into the lead.

Cardiff Blues Head Coach Danny Wilson said: “I was pleased to see such a big effort from the players and to defeat the league leaders at home,” he said.

“We talked about improving our home record; this is only our third home league game and people do forget that.

“We need to build a home record and if we want to give ourselves a chance in this league over years to come we need to win at home.

“We stopped the best attack in the league and we defended for long periods really well. We had good line speed and when they went out the back to try and get around us we cut that off. We got caught once or twice, but we scrambled well too.

“I felt we had a good platform tonight and worked extremely hard. When we did have patches of attack we showed what we can do and the major work on was our contact area. We got turned over a bit too easy. But the important factor was getting the right performance to get a positive result – we got that.”

The Scarlets sit on top of the competition table as they kept up their winning ways in the Guinness PRO12 with eight wins from nine after a successful trip to Italy at the weekend.

With Ken Owens sidelined with a toe injury Scottish international John Barclay was handed the captaincy armband for the all-important clash against Treviso leading the side to a 20-22 victory on Saturday afternoon.

Speaking after the game Barclay was pleased with the victory but was also realistic that there’s a long way to go with the PRO12 season still in its infancy. He said: “It’s nice but you don’t get anything for being top of the table at this stage in the season. It’s a long season and we’ve only played nine league games.

“It’s nice now with two European games to sit there and look at it and think we’ve worked pretty damn hard to get there and we’ve played some scrappy games. I don’t think we’ve played our best rugby but we’re grinding out good wins. It’s pleasing but it’s still early days.

“There’s also not a great deal separating one to four, you get very little at the end of the season for saying we were top after nine games, we’ll keep our heads down. Teams will still expect to be able to beat us because we haven’t been top four for a couple of years.

“It’s up to us to keep plugging away and show them that it’s not just a fluke at the start of the season. At the end of the day we’ve come away with another win so we’re happy,” said Barclay.

With two wins out of two, on Sunday afternoon it was the turn of the Newport Gwent Dragons and Ospreys to help Welsh pro rugby keep a 100% winning record at the weekend.

The Ospreys put on a stunning performance in Italy with a superb bonus point win and a maximum five points with Head Coach Steve Tandy calling it “a really impressive performance”.

There was special praise for Ospreys skipper Justin Tipuric who “led from the front” while his back row partner Cracknell’s performance was described as “outstanding”.

Skipper Justin Tipuric scored two tries in a man of the match performance, one in each half, wingers Jeff Hassler and Eli Walker both crossed in the line in the first half, while Jonathan Spratt also grabbed a second half try to ensure a resounding win at a ground where the Ospreys have previously struggled.

Zebre went into the game looking for a fourth successive home win, with the Blues, Edinburgh and Worcester all defeated in Parma, and with the Ospreys looking to climb the table following a poor start to the season defeat simply wasn’t an option for the visitors today.

“When you reflect on what we’ve done, it’s a really impressive performance. In the context of everything I’d say it’s one of my most satisfying afternoon’s as Ospreys coach when you consider how difficult we’ve found Zebre here over the last couple of years. We’ve come here fully loaded and lost a must-win game, and only just scraped through last year, so hats off to the boys for how they delivered today,” said Steve Tandy.

“You had people making their debuts, young Olly starting in the PRO12 for the first time, Ma’afu coming off the bench, and we’ve been able to rest a few key guys up. We’ve had an indifferent week with some boys pulling out for one reason or another but in fairness to the group they’ve been really detailed in what they’ve done. It was a real test of character to come here, we’ve rested and rotated the squad, shown trust in those boys, and it paid off. I thought it was an impressive performance.

“It’s important for some of the young guys to see how they present themselves, how they still do their detail even being on the bench. They are there ready to be called upon if needed and it’s a lesson to everybody.

“Ultimately though, it was great today to see Sam Davies and Habbers’ really stepping up to the plate, I thought for Olly Cracknell, making his full debut, to put in the performance he did, it’s pretty outstanding.”

There’ll be no resting on any laurels at the Ospreys though as a busy period of fixtures continues with back to back European ties against Bordeaux before a mouthwatering Welsh derby at Parc y Scarlets, and Tandy issued a cautionary note, saying: “It’s about recovery now and getting ready for the next challenge, then the one after that, and then the one after that. We can’t look any further ahead than the next game.

“There’s a big period of games to come that can shape our season. We’ve got Bordeaux at the Liberty in six days time, and we’ve put ourselves in good shape in that competition so it’s important that we keep striving to get better every game.”

The Newport Gwent Dragons then sealed the winning weekend with a huge win over Munster at Rodney Parade.

Captain Rynard Landman led from the front as he delivered the decisive blow with a late try as Newport Gwent Dragons won 22-6. Munster’s Rory Scannell and Dragons’ Dorian Jones landed two penalties apiece in the opening period.

The hosts dominated the second half in which Jones added a drop-goal and penalty before Landman scored and Jones converted. Jason Tovey added a late penalty as Dragons rose to ninth in the table.

Dragons director of rugby Lyn Jones praised the strong team performance and said after the game: “We’re overjoyed with the victory, but more importantly for us it’s the standard of performance that we’re trying to create.

“Munster are no pushover, they have an error-free game and a new generation coming through. They’re a difficult team to play against, but I thought we were in control for long periods of that game and it was a deserved victory.”

NEXT GAMES – Our four teams are back in European Rugby action this weekend!

The Cardiff Blues face Montpellier in the Challenge Cup for another big Friday night of rugby at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park kick off 7.30pm.

Scarlets travel to Scotland to face Glasgow in the Champions Cup (Sat 12 Dec KO 1pm) – returning to the Parc on Saturday 19th December for the fourth round of the European Rugby Champions Cup clash against Glasgow Warriors, kick-off 7.45pm.

Next up for the Ospreys is the first leg of the European Rugby Champions Cup double header against Bordeaux Begles, starting at the Liberty Stadium this Saturday (12th Dec) at 5.15pm.

The Newport Gwent Dragons double-header in the European Challenge Cup starts against against Pau on Saturday afternoon at Rodney Parade kick off 2.30pm.