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PRO14 Rainbow Cup: Ian Madigan kicks Ulster to Edinburgh win as Sharks boost final hopes

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Ulster move off bottom of PRO14 Rainbow Cup table with victory over Edinburgh; Cardiff Blues claim bonus-point win over Zebre; the Sharks remain in contention for a final spot after their away win over the Lions set up a crucial final-round game against the Bulls

Ian Madigan was all smiles after kicking Ulster to victory

Ian Madigan was all smiles after kicking Ulster to victory

Ian Madigan was Ulster’s matchwinner at Murrayfield yet again, Cardiff Blues concluded their Rainbow Cup campaign with a big win over Zebre while the Sharks kept their final hopes alive with victory over the Lions…

Edinburgh 31-34 Ulster

Ian Madigan repeated his Murrayfield heroics as he nailed another last-minute kick to hand Ulster a dramatic victory over Edinburgh.

The fly-half broke the Scottish side’s hearts back in August as he booted his side into last year’s PRO14 final with a nerveless stoppage-time effort.

And he was required to do it all over again as Dan McFarland’s men climbed off the bottom of the Rainbow Cup table after a 10-try thriller.

Edinburgh were ahead early thanks to Duhan Van Der Merwe’s 32nd and final try for Edinburgh before the British and Irish Lion joins Worcester next season.

Blair Kinghorn added another for the capital club but Ulster stormed back with touchdowns from James Hume, Iain Henderson, Stuart McCloskey, Adam McBurney – who will join Edinburgh in a few weeks’ time – and Rob Lyttle.

However, Edinburgh came back themselves and thought they had won it when Eroni Sau’s controversial late try was allowed to stand by referee Ben Whitehouse after scores from Pierre Schoeman and Cammy Hutchison had fired the hosts back into contention.

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But when Kinghorn missed a chance to win it with his conversion, the Irishmen raced up field to win a penalty – with Madigan showing the Scotland international how it was done.

Cardiff Blues 37-12 Zebre

Cardiff Blues ended their Rainbow Cup campaign with a comprehensive bonus point victory over Zebre at the Arms Park.

Tries from Gwilym Bradley, James Botham, Dan Fish, and Harri Millard along with a penalty try pushed Dai Young’s side over the winning line, with Jarrod Evans adding 10 points with the boot.

Zebre scored two tries of their own courtesy of Pierre Bruno and Federico Mori, while Carlo Canna slotted over one conversion.

Lions 21-33 Sharks

Makazole Mapimpi shone on his Sharks return as they kept their Rainbow Cup final hopes alive with a bonus-point victory at Ellis Park.

Back in the starting line-up after a stint in Japan, Mapimpi crossed for the Sharks’ fourth try early in the second half to set up a South African decider with the Bulls in Durban next Saturday.

The Sharks led 19-14 at half-time thanks to two tries from Kerron van Vuuren, with Phepsi Buthelezi also dotting down.

Andre Warner and Ruben Schoeman scored first-half tries for the Lions and they responded to Mapimpi’s try with efforts from Willem Leon Massyn and Pieter Botha to boost their comeback hopes.

However, Sharks full-back Anthony Volmink made sure of victory with a 71st-minute try. They trail the Bulls by four points heading into next weekend’s final-round match.

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