Sunday, January 6, 2013

RaboDirect Pro 12 - Round 13 Wrap

Ulster 47-15 Scarlets
The Northern Irish province recovered from its first League loss of the season by claiming an impressive bonus point victory in the top of the table RaboDirect Pro 12 clash on Friday. Both teams were represented by players from the Americas. The USA´s Callum Black was on Ulster´s bench while Los Pumas secondrower Tomás Vallejos Cinalli was a replacement for the Welsh region. Both players made an appearance in the secondhalf but Ulster had the game wrapped up before either player came on.

Glasgow Warriors 41-7 Benetton Treviso
A very good performance by the home side starts the year off nicely for Scottish rugby. The national team has only just had its coaching staff finalized for the upcoming Six Nations and will have greatly enjoyed the result in Glasgow on Friday. The Italian side played a man down for 74 minutes after the Fijian-Italian Manoa Vosawai was red carded in the 6th minute. He started in the backrow as did the Canadian-Italian Robert Barbieri. Two Argentine-Italians were on the bench - Alberto di Bernardo and Franco Sbaraglini. The games first try was scored by Canadian international DTH van der Merwe while the USA´s Tommy Seymour also scored for the Scottish side and uncapped Argentine prop Dario Germán Aráoz came off the bench in the 28th minute.

Edinburgh 16-31 Leinster
Any thoughts of a Scottish double on Friday were ended quickly as Leinster had few problems in winning away from home. The Irish province had firm control of the match at half time thanks to scoring two tries to zero in the first half. Leinster added two more after the break while Edinburgh´s only try came with full time approaching.

Ospreys 16-15 Zebre
The bottom of the table Zebre came close to defeating the defending champions on Friday and doing so away from Italy. The Welsh region was depleted but still had some contenders for the Six Nations including Dan Biggar and Adam Jones. Zebre fielded a number of non-Italians including Dave Ryan from the USA who played at tighthead prop and Gonzalo Garcia from Argentina who played at inside centre.

Connacht 30-11 Dragons
With all the talk going on in Wales about the failure of the regions to be competitive this result can only add to the WRU´s desire to limit the spending to fewer teams. The Dragons big loss at Galway will not be ignored. It also speaks wonders of the current state of Irish rugby as the teams based on provinces have proven to be very successful, even Connacht which is the lowest funded of the four.

Munster 6-17 Cardiff Blues
While the Dragons struggled against one Irish province the Cardiff Blues caused an upset against another in Saturday´s other match. The upset win sees big changes to the competition´s standings as Munster drop from the Top Four and the Glasgow Warriors move into third. Munster was missing quite a few key players but still had its USA born Irish international playing flyhalf. Ronan O´Gara kicked two goals in scoring all of Munster´s points. He played against Rhys Patchell who is looking more and more like playing for Wales in the Six Nations. The 19 year old has been selected ahead of Jason Toovey and Ceri Sweeney for the Blues and has been playing better than Dan Biggar and Rhys Priestland of the Ospreys and Scarlets. 

RaboDirect Pro 12 Standings
1 Ulster 52
2 Scarlets 38
3 Glasgow 41
4 Ospreys 39
5 Leinster 40
6 Munster 37
7 Cardiff 28
8 Treviso 27
9 Edinburgh 22
10 Connacht 20
11 Dragons 14
12 Zebre 5

Ulster v Scarlets

Edinburgh v Leinster


  1. "Patchell has been playing better than Dan Biggar and Rhys Priestland of the Ospreys and Scarlets"

    Have you seen Dan Biggar playing recently? Biggar has been on good form for a consistent period this year now and if you watch in the match against the Scarlets he controlled territory excellently. Also Patchell has had just a few games, and was outplayed by Matthew Morgan when he played the Ospreys. It's too early for him to start in internationals.

    However Priestland has been absolutely atrocious these past 8 or 10 months, and consistently so. You would struggle to find somebody with a worse tactical kicking game these last few months, his goal kicking has been about 40% and he isn't creating for the backline either. His brief form during the RWC has turned out to be an exception to the rule that he is crap. Baffling he was selected for Wales in November, and it cost Wales with his performances against Argentina (outplayed by Sanchez) and Samoa, and Australia where he kicked the ball back for them to score 90 seconds remaining.

    1. Biggar, I thought, was good leading up to the November Internationals. He was ok against Samoa before getting hurt while since then has not seemed to be as good as he was earlier in the season. Patchell´s ahead of Jason Toovey already at the Blues and while its early days but worth putting him in the Welsh squad and, depedning on training, the team.

    2. Biggar is for the moment the best Wales 10, and has never been given a decent run in the jersey which he now deserves.

      I disagree about not as good as he was earlier in the season, he was one of the best players against Toulouse and dominated them in the territorial kicking which gave the Ospreys good territory throughout the match. (Much helped by the fact Doussain has a kicking range of about 30 metres though). He didn't do badly in the last couple of matches either, I thought he was decent against the Scarlets.

      Patchell I don't think is ready for Wales. People were saying similar things about Biggar when he was Patchell's age and he was rushed into the Wales team a bit too early. I would have Hook on the bench, Patchell perhaps the third fly half, but I just want to leave him complete a season with the Blues first, he can go on tour of Japan if he keeps his form up.

      However I would much prefer Patchell to Priestland though. Hopefully Priestland is not in the squad for at least all of 2013 after his dismal form ever since the Ireland 6 Nations game.

    3. J. Davies agrees with you. I´m sure Patchell will be 10 for the tour of Japan.