Thursday, April 21, 2011

Magners League Round 20

Round 20 of the 2010-2011 Magners League took place in Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales over the past weekend and produced some surprizing results including upsets and featured a number of players from Argentina as well as Canada. Three matches took place on Friday and three on Saturday. With only two further rounds of the regular season to go round 20 could well be remembered as being defining.

An all-Wales clash took place in Newport as the Newport-Gwent Dragons hosted the Ospreys. The Dragons cannot make the final four but can certainly try to complicate things for other sides nd this is just what happened as they defeated the Ospreys 32-28. The form of a number of players in the Dragons team should be attracting the national coaching staff and names such as Brew and Toovey could well be on the list for New Zealand 2011. Latter that day Irish province Connacht hosted the Cardiff Blues and went down badly as the Welsh side notched up an impressive 26-12 victory which sees the Blues pile the pressure on the Ospreys as well as Ulster for a place in the semi finals. The other matchf from Friday saw Scottish side Edinburgh hosting bottom of the table Aironi with the home side securing a 32-15 victory which sees the Scots move to within one point of Connacht. Former Argentina international secondrower, Esteban Lozada started for Edinburgh while three Argentina players featurd for the Italians with Pablo Canavosio and Leonardo Gamboa both starting and Gabriel Pizarro coming on as a second half replacement.

An all-Irish encoutner took place in Dublin as two Heineken Cup Quarter Finalists wentr head to head with Leinster hosting and defeating Ulster 34-26 on Saturday. The result gives Leinster second spot while Ulster are now a mere single point ahead of the fourth placed Ospreys. The win will not do anything to challenge the top of the table Munster however as Munster´s dominance continues after the Irish province scored a 13-6 away victory over the Scarlets in Llanelli. The win sees Munster well in front on the ladder, sitting on 75 points with Leinster on 61. The Scarlets, who had been in the Top four for most of the season are now all but out of contention as the Welsh side is six points behind the Ospreys.

The Italian city of Treviso played host to an important match between Benetton Treviso and the Glasgow Warriors, two teams looking to avoid finishing second from bottom on the table. In a tense encounter, the Italians managed to pull off a 19-16 victory following a drop goal to South Africa´s Willem De Waal. Benetton Treviso had two Argentina players in the starting XV in the form of Gonzalo García and Ignacio Fernández Rouyet while Diego Vidal came off the bench to play the final 13 minutes. Former Argentina international centre, Federico Martín Aramburu played the full match for the Warriors and was joined by Canadian international winger Daniel van der Merwe who played left wing and Canadian international prop, Kevin Tkachuk who was on the bench. The result sees Benetton Treviso sit in eighth place and Glasgow ninth and raises questions of the state of professional rugby in Scotland.

Magners League Table

1 Munster 75 
2 Leinster 61 
3 Ulster 59 
4 Ospreys 58 
5 Cardiff Blues 56 
6 Scarlets 52 
7 Newport Gwent Dragons 44 
8 Connacht 39 
9 Edinburgh 38 
10 Benetton Treviso 34 
11 Glasgow 32 
12 Aironi 11

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