Sunday, May 6, 2012

Rabo Direct Pro 12 - Round 22 Wrap

Final match in Glasgow for Puma Federico Martín Aramburu

The final round of the regular season in the Celtic-Italian League was played over the weekend and has confirmed its top four with two Irish sides, a Welsh and a Scottish to compete in the Semi Finals next weekend. Top of the table Leinster will take on the Glasgow Warriors on Sunday while the Ospreys will host Munster one day earlier. The top three was already confirmed and all eyes were on Glasgow to see if the Warriors could claim the final spot or not. It ahs been a big season for Scottish rugby with both sides making the play-off´s of a major competition as Edinburgh were a Semi Finalist in the Heineken Cup. Glasgow´ place in the Semi Final´s raises questions, hoewver, as many teams have not taken the Rabo Direct Pro 12 all that seriously. Edinburgh´ great performance in the European tournament are testiment to this as the same team finished second from bottom in the Rabo Direct Pro 12. The team that eliminated Edinburgh, Ulster, was demolished by Munster, the same side who Ulster had defeated with a great win in Limerick in this seasons Heineken Cup Quarter Finals. Ulster fielded many second string players.

The competition lacks the same pressure as the English and French championships due in large part to the competition having no relegation. Many teams prioritize the Heineken Cup to the extent that the Rabo Direct Pro 12 has, at times, been used for nothing more than training. The competition organizers ought to do something to change this or the competition will never reach the levels that is should. The Semi Finals of the Pro 12 will be played at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea and the Royal Dublin Society in Dublin. Neither stadium has a notably large capacity. In contrast, the much larger Aviva Stadium hosted the Heineken Cup Semi Final between Ulster and Edinburgh last weekend. It attracted a strong crowd yet was an a away match for both sides.  

The competition will change next year with Aironi being replaced by another Italian side. The identity of the new team is yet to be confirmed but it has been speculated that it will be based in Rome. Airno will now be cease to exist. Perhaps a major shake up is needed to attract stronger crowds and for the competion to be the comercia, succes that it really should be. Otherwise either or both of Scottish and Welsh teams may well be better off joining the Aviva Premiership.

Edinburgh 44-21 Benetton Treviso
Treviso had three Argentine players with Ignacio Fernández Rouyet and Franco Sbaraglini startnig and Gonzalo Padro coming on from the bench. Canadian, Roberto Barbieri started in the backrow. Neither of the Scot´s Argentine players, Esteban Lozada and Ulises Gamboa featured. Both players are to now leave Scotland.

Munster 36-8 Ulster
The USA´s Callum Black was on the bench for Ulster. He played the final 25 minutes.  

Newport-Gwent Dragons 18-22 Leinster
No players from the Americas were involved.

Scarlets 29-20 Cardiff Blues
No players from the Americas were involved.

Glasgow Warriors 23-3 Connacht
Argentine winger Federico Martín Aramburu captained Glasgow, playing on the right wing. He is set to retire after this season. He was joiend by Canadian, DTH van der Merwe who played on the other wing and was a try scorer.

Aironi 11-18 Ospreys
Three Argentine players featured for the home team with Gabirel Pizarro and Matías Aguero starting while Luciano Orquera was a 63rd minute replacement. USA Junior international, Hanno Dirksen was a try scorer for the Welsh region. Canada´s Chauncey O´Toole did not feature for the Ospreys.

Final Standings
1 Leinster 81
2 Ospreys 71
3 Munster 67
4 Glasgow 65
5 Scarlets 62
6 Ulster 56
7 Cardiff 50
8 Connacht 37
9 Treviso 36
10 Dragons 36
11 Edinburgh 32
12 Aironi 22

* Semi Finalists

Dragons vs Leinster

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