While Leinster didn’t play over the weekend, the 34-10 win was enough to move Mike Blair’s side above the Irish contenders and into the top spot.

It was the first time the Scottish side were on the top of the log since the third round of the 2009 season and underlined the freedom that they have started playing with under Blair.

It was Cardiff’s first game in 77 days since their first choice players were stuck in South Africa and it showed, as Marcus Bradbury put on a show for the hosts, while Argentinean wingers Ramiro Moyano and Emiliano Boffelli both scored to set up a comprehensive 27-3 lead at the halftime break.

"I'm putting a layer on top of our game, giving the players more authority and giving them a bit more freedom," Blair told BBC Radio Scotland after the win.

"I've stressed a lot over the four or five months I've been in, what went before me is crucial to our games, and winning games.

"We are trying to develop within our attack the ability to play in a number of different ways. We don't want to straitjacket them to just play in a particular way, to just play blindside or just play wide. We are trying to give them the opportunity to play heads-up rugby.

"There were some real stand-out performances and a lot of that is hard work - the hard work the forwards are doing to generate that quick ball but also the work the guys are doing in training.

"There were scenarios within that game that were straight off the training pitch."

Munster overcame an early red card to Simon Zebo to rally and score an inspiring 18-13 win over Ulster in the Irish derby, a game that showed the closeness and character of the squad and doused some of the reaction from outside after their loss against Connacht.

After calls by the likes of former Ireland captain Keith Wood to sack Johann van Graan, despite the South African’s almost 80% winning record with the club, it all looked bad when Zebo was carded for the head clash and Munster were reduced early to 14 men.

But despite the setback, Munster were by far the stronger side, but never took all their opportunities, until right near the end when youngster Alex Kendellen went over to give them the victory.

Despite all the criticism, Van Graan was more than happy to say the noise hadn’t bothered them in what must have been a tough week, one which was compounded by losing captain Peter O’Mahony to an injury in the warm-up to the game.

“It's all about the people on the inside (of the camp),” Van Graan said afterwards.

"It is professional sport. There will always be noise but luckily we have a very good leadership group and a very good coaching team.

"I can understand when people get carried away or when people make statements and that is part and parcel of professional rugby.

"All we can do is focus on our process and inside the HPC (high performance centre) we are all pretty calm and pretty composed.

"It was a normal week for us.”

In the only other game of the weekend Glasgow Warriors leapfrogged Ospreys after a convincing 38-19 win over the Welsh side with Sione Tuipulotu starring for the Scottish side.

Glasgow’s Kyle Steyn said the win was a good workout for the side before they - and the other sides - head into European Cup action this coming weekend. Glasgow face Exeter, while Munster face Castres among several high-profile games.

"It’s obviously been a disrupted period for us these last couple of weeks, but there was a lot of emphasis on trying to build on what we did against Exeter in our last game before the lay-off,” said Steyn.

"The fact there wasn’t any fans there, as well, made it a bit different. But I think we did well to adapt, and it was a good win for us in the end.   

"We got some decent time with ball in hand, and also had to make some important defensive sets, so it was a good workout for us before Exeter."

Glasgow’s win put them fourth, two points ahead of Munster, who have a game in hand. Ulster stay third on the log.