Thursday, March 31, 2011

Magners League - Round 18

Round 18 of the Magners League was played over the past weekend with two matches a piece taking place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Glasgow Warriors played host to Ulster in a match with nothing on offer for the home side but everything to play for for the visitors as Ulster are in the top four. It was a highly emotional match with Ulster getting a close 22-19 win that sees them hold onto third place. Former Argentina international fullback Bernardo Stortoni and winger Federico Martín Aramburu both played the full 80 minutes for the Warriors and they were joined by the Canadian international duo of Daniel van der Merwe who started on the right wing and Kevin Tkachuk was on the bench for Glasgow. Friday´s other match saw leaders Munster knock over the fifth placed Cardiff Blues in Cardiff in a close 16-15 victory. USA born Irish international flyhalf Ronan O´Gara scored 11 points for Munster.

History was made on Saturday in Viadana as Italian side Aironi won its first ever Magners League match in a 25-13 victory over Irish province Connacht. The victory has been long in the making as Aironi have come close on several occassions. The Italians had three Argentina players in actrion with Gabriel Pizarro in the starting lineup and Italian international scrumhalf Pablo Canavosio and Argentina international centre Horacio San Martín both coming off the bench. Also on Saturday Scottish side Edinburgh returned to winning ways in defeating Welsh side the Ospreys at Murrayfield. The 23-16 victory sees Edinburgh move ahead of Benetton Treviso on the ladder and the Ospreys are now in a joined three-way tie for second place with Irish sides Leinster and Ulster. Argentina international secondrower Esteban Lozada featured for Edinburgh as he continues to recieve quality game time as the countdown to New Zealand 2011 continues.

Llanelli played host to Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso on Sunday and the Weslh side managed to win the match in what was a game that could have gone either way but with the Scarlets having the better of play through the middle stages of the contest they were able to pull off a 22-16 victory. There were three Argentina players in the starting line up for the Italian side in Ignacio Fernández Rouyet, Gonzalo García and Gonzalo PadroDiego Vidal also played as a secondhalf repalcement. The rounds final match took place at Rodney Parade in Wales as the Newport Gwent Dragons hosted Irish powerhouses Leinster. The battle to be the starting Irish international flyhalf at New Zealand 2011 continued with Jonathan Sexton kicking 16 points for Leinster in the sides 26-16 victory. USA international scrumhalf Mike Petri and Canadian international utility back matt Evans did not feature for the Dragons.

Magners League Ladder

1 Munster 67

2 Leinster 55
3 Ulster 55
4 Ospreys 55
5 Cardiff Blues 50
6 Scarlets 50
7 Connacht 34
8 Newport 34
9 Edinburgh 33 
10 Benetton. Treviso 30
11 Glasgow 28
12 Aironi 10

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