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The regions picked up a bonus point home win and three losing bonus points after narrow away defeats to top Guinness PRO12 opponents in Ireland and Scotland this weekend.

Cardiff Blues secured a valuable bonus point win at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Friday evening thanks to a commanding performance with some excellent attacking rugby yielding five tries for the home support to savour.

Elsewhere in Round 9 of the Guinness PRO 12 the Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets all put in very encouraging performances and came extremely close to picking up more than their well-earned losing bonus points, which could prove vital in their end of season standings in the league table.

Cardiff Blues

The Blues dominated territory and possession throughout the game against Benetton Treviso and picked up two first half tries to show for their early endeavour. Lloyd Williams touched down after dummying his way passed the defence from a ruck near the visitor’s try line before Argentinian international Joaquin Tuculet skilfully wriggled over in the corner to score on his Blues debut.

But in spite of plenty of pressure from the home team Treviso defended resolutely, kicked well and grabbed a converted try and two penalties through fly half Joe Carlisle to lead 12-13 at half time. Gareth Davies kicked the Blues back into the lead with a penalty early in the second half and Richard Smith followed up with a try just over ten minutes later after a well worked backline move.

Kristian Dacey sealed a priceless bonus point for the Blues on 58 minutes after he latched onto a lovely inside ball from the impressive Lloyd Williams to score his third try of the season. Despite a spirited late comeback from Treviso the Blues secured the 36-25 win when replacement Rory Watts-Jones added a fifth Blues try after good work by the forwards.

Blues coach Mark Hammett and his squad will now look to back up their excellent result and continue to build their home form in the Guinness PRO12 when the Scarlets visit the BT Sports Cardiff Arms Park for a red hot Welsh derby clash on December 19.

Newport Gwent Dragons

In a very tight affair at the Scotstoun Stadium the Dragons earned a treasured losing bonus point from a very good performance as they were just edged out 19-15 by high-flying Glasgow Warriors yesterday.

A week after playing Munster the Dragons faced another tough test but they more than matched their hosts and were unlucky not to seal a brilliant win late on and return to Wales with more than one league point.

Dragons started the match very brightly and were rewarded for the attacking rugby they played early on as they passed the ball freely and showed great freedom to run from deep while also mixing up their play intelligently with some well executed and tactically astute kicks. This bold approach paid dividends as they won a string of penalties at the breakdown and Geraint Rhys Jones didn’t need asking twice to capitalise – his excellent kicking from the tee at close and long range put the Dragons into a three point lead at half time.

Geraint Rhys Jones continued his superb demonstration of goal kicking after the break, adding two more penalties to bring his tally to five while the Dragons continued to put pressure on the Warriors throughout the end to end second half battle.

Ultimately it took plenty of Glasgow elbow grease to land the killer blow, a series of scrums close to the Dragons’ try line eventually resulting in the penalty try that protected the Scots’ 100% home win record in the Guinness PRO12 this season.

Ospreys

Young Welsh fly half Sam Davies gave a mature performance as he and fellow in-form half back Martin Roberts pulled the strings in tandem from nine and ten for the Ospreys and their smooth set pieces and extremely physical approach rattled Leinster in Dublin on Saturday.

The excellent Davies kicked neatly to the corners and marshalled his team around the field as the Ospreys hammered their way around the park. They smashed their hosts at every opportunity in both defence and attack, making sure Leinster knew the young Ospreys squad hadn’t travelled to Ireland to stand off and admire them.

Leinster are reigning Guinness PRO12 champions for a reason though and four successful penalty kicks from Davies were cancelled out by three penalties apiece for Leinster’s Ian Madigan and Jimmy Goperth as the Irish side sneaked a late 18-12 win at the RDS Arena.

Ospreys gave Guinness PRO12 league debuts to highly promising Welsh youngsters Dafydd Howells (19) and Gareth Thomas (21) in the match. Along with the large number of other young Ospreys on show they will take great confidence from their highly competitive and combative performance away against experienced and successful opposition.

An illustration of the region’s commitment to young, home-grown Welsh talent, the average age of the 23 players in the Ospreys’ matchday squad for the game was just over 24 years old, with the team on the field at the final whistle averaging just 23 years old. The invaluable losing bonus point that these young guns earned against a much-fancied Leinster team will no doubt spur them on for their key home Guinness PRO12 fixtures against Ulster and Scarlets later this month.

Scarlets

The Scarlets were first out of the blocks against Connacht in Galway on Saturday evening as flying wing Harry Robinson latched on to a high kick that the home defence failed to deal with, pouncing on a bouncing ball to race clear for a try.

Steven Shingler was hot on his heels to the scoreboard and added a penalty soon after as the Scarlets ran the ball at their hosts at every opportunity, resolute in their desire to create tries and get a result against a Connacht team previously unbeaten at home in all competitions this season.

However, a piece of individual brilliance by Connacht replacement wing Matt Healy on 48 minutes turned the game on its head after he showed a supersonic turn of pace to collect his own long kick up-field to touch down. Connacht also knocked over three penalties and eventually emerged as 14-8 winners, with driving rain in the second half working in the home side’s favour as the Scarlets’ scorching threat out wide was dampened by wet conditions.

Even so, determined not to return from their trip over the Irish Sea without a token for their toil and creativity, Scarlets did grab the precious losing bonus point that was the very least they had targeted from their visit to the Sportsground.

They remain in seventh place in the Guinness PRO12 league table after the result, four points adrift of Connacht in sixth and just five points behind fourth-placed Leinster, who currently occupy the final play-off spot. After this narrow loss Scarlets will look for a fast return to winning form in the Guinness PRO12 later this month – they face the Blues in an electric west versus east Welsh derby in the capital where they will seek to rekindle their winning spark.