Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Rabo Direct Pro 12 : Round 12 Wrap

Roberto Barbieri
Round twelve of the Celtic-Italian League, the Rabo Direct Pro 12 took place from Friday through Sunday and like Round ten it was all about derby´s with all matches between teams from the same union. Also, like Round ten, the round produced surprizes including the underperforming Ulster defeating their Irish powerhouse rivals, Munster in belfast on Friday. Italy´s Benetton Treviso produced a vastly different performance to that of last weekend as the inconsistency Italian club continues to beg the question of whether the team is the real deal or not. In defeating Aironi, Benetton Treviso are back to being no the verge of a place in the top four and are diong significantly better than the likes of Connacht, Edinburgh and the Newport-Gwent Dragons. Leinster, despite playing poorly on Sunday, continue to dominate this seasons competition and are already looking like certainties to finsh the regular season in first place.
Newport-Gwent Dragons 6-10 Scarlets
The Dragons continue to be significantly weaker than the three other Welsh regions and despite having a number of international players the team is not able to produce the goods. The main problem could well be flyhalf, Jason Tovey who would likely not be in the team if Japanese World Cup flyhalf, James Arlidge was still playing for the team. The Scarlets are now on the verge of the Top four.

Ulster 33-17 Munster
The Northern Irish side has done itself a huge favor with a bonus point victory and significant upset to rise the standings. Munster remain in the Semi Final frame bur can only be very disappointed at the result.

Benneton Treviso 37-14 Aironi
Benetton Treviso got revenge for their shock loss last weekend  by completing an impressive bonus point victory at home on Saturday. The win sees the team move back into seventh position, just ahead of Ulster. Toronto´s Robert Barbieri played in the backrow for Benetton Treviso as did Argentina´s Gonzalo Padro. There were also four Argentine players on the bench for Benetton Treviso with Diego VidalIgnacio Fernandez-Rouyet and Pedro di Santo all coming on in the 63rd minute. Former Bourgion flyhalf, Alberto di Bernardo came on in the 74th minute. All of Aironi´s points came from Argentine players with last weeks hero, Luciano Orquera kicking three first half penalties and Gabriel Pizarro scoring his teams only try in the final minute of play. Orquera and Puizarro formed a 10-12 combination for Aironi.

Connacht 13-13 Leinster
Leinster were unable to score a try against the traditional weak Irish province of Connacht. The teams two point win, however, came from Leinster already having had the game wrapped up as they led 12-3 after 50 minutes. Connacht hit back with two tries but it came to late for an upset to occur. Connacht appear to, like Aironi and the Newport-Gwent Dragons, have no chance of making it to the play-off´s

Glasgow Warriors 17-9 Edinburgh
The overachieving Glasgow Warriors are within sights of a rare Heineken Cup Quarter Finals appearance and remain on track to make the Rabo Direct Pro 12 Semi Finals as the second win in as many weeks over Edinburgh sees the Warriors overtake Munster to sit in third place on the table. Former Pumas winger, Federico Martín Aramburu did not feature for Glasgow nor did former Pumas secondrower, Esteban Lozada who was rested by Edinburgh.

Ospreys 17-12 Cardiff Blues
The Ospreys remain in second place after surviving a scare from Welsh rivals, the Cardiff Blues at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea on New Years Day. The five point victory included one try to Irish winger Tommy Bowe. The home side claimed its win thanks to Dan Biggar slotting two penalties in the last ten minutes after Scotland´s Dan Parks had put the Blues one point ahead. Canadian backrower, Chauncey O´Toole did not play for the Ospreys.

Rabo Direct Pro 12 Standings
1 Leinster 40

2 Ospreys 38
3 Glasgow Warriors 34
4 Munster 33 
5 Scarlets 30 
6 Cardiff Blues 30
7 Benetton Treviso 28 
8 Ulster 27
9 Edinburgh 21
10 Connacht 16
11 Newport-Gwent Dragons 13
12 Aironi 10
                                                           Ulster vs Munster

                                                        Connacht vs Leinster

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