Tuesday, January 1, 2013

RaboDirect Pro 12 - Round 12 Wrap

Ospreys 32-3 Scarlets
The round actually started on Wednesday with the Ospreys hosting the Scarlets in a Welsh derby in a midweek match which was played on Boxing Day. The match was far from being a good one however as the Swansea based side won easily. Argentina´s Tomás Vallejos Cinalli did not feature for the Scarlets. The Ospreys would go on to play again on Monday against the Dragons who also played on Wednesday but in a Round 11 match. 

Benetton Treviso 26-18 Zebre
The all-Italian battle went the way of Treviso as the home side won the match thanks to kicking more goals. Both sides scored two tries each but Kris Burton´s boot was the difference. Benetton Treviso move ahead of the Cardiff Blues to sit in seventh place in the standings while Zebre are all but certain to finish bottom of the table taking over from Aironi. The match featured a number of players from the Americas with Toronto´s Italian international Robert Barbieri starting in the backrow for Treviso and Argentina´s Alberto di Bernardo coming on in the 58th minute in the backline. A second Argentine-Italian flyhalf, Luciano Orquera started in the position for Zebre and scored his sides first penalty. He formed a 10-12 combination with Gonzalo Garcia who is also from Argentina. Matias Aguero started in the frontrow while the Argentine-Italian was joined by the USA´s Dave Ryan in the secondhalf.

Edinburgh 17-21 Glasgow Warrriors
The all-Scottish match went the way of the visitors as Glasgow backed-up its win last weekend with another to continue its strong season in the Pro 12. While the Glasgow Warriors have been poor in the Heineken Cup the club is firmly in the Top Four of the Rabo Direct Pro 12. Edinburgh, in contrast has been poor in both competitions and of the bottom four Edinburgh is clearly the one that stands out. While having Connacht, the Dragons and Zebre in 10th-12th place Edinburgh´s place is far lower than it should be given the high number of test players and that it is the stronghold of Scottish rugby. Canada´s DTH van der Merwe started for Glasgow on the left wing while Argentina´s Dario German Araoz was a frontrow substitute.

Munster 24-10 Ulster
Ulster lost for the first time this season and did so in a match which was missing a host of first choice players from both sides. The Irish tradition of giving preference to the Heineken Cup and resting star players often in the Rabo Direct Pro 12 was certainly evident on Saturday evening in Munster. A number of key players were in training camp with the Irish test squad and this enabled Munster to hand Ulster its first loss of the RaboDirect Pro 12 season. The match featured two players from the USA with Califonian born Ronan O´Gara on the bench for Munster and Callum Black starting for Ulster in the frontrow.

Leinster 17-0 Connacht
The other two Irish provinces faced off in Dublin and like Munster and Ulster the Leinster team was a shadow of the full strength lineup. It was nevertheless a better tean than Connacht with the Galway based team continuing to be a feeder side that is operated in a development capacity unlike the three other Irish teams. The 17-0 result sees Leinster stay in touch with the Top Four while Connacht will not be featuring in the play-off´s.

Dragons 3-14 Ospreys
The final match of the round was a special fixture played on Monday in Newport. Neither team was at full strength but the Osperys had enough fire power to win the contest by scoring two tries to zero. In failing to score a bonus point the Ospreys are outside of the top four by one point, tied for fifth position with Leinster.

RaboDirect Pro 12 Standings
1 Ulster 47
2 Scarlets 38
3 Munster 37
4 Glasgow 36
5 Ospreys 35
6 Leinster 35
7 Treviso 27
8 Cardiff 24
9 Edinburgh 22
10 Connacht 16
11 Dragons 14
12 Zebre 5

Ospreys v Scarlets

Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors

Munster v Ulster

Leinster v Connacht

Dragons v Ospreys

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