Sunday, April 21, 2013

Rabo Direct Pro 12 - Round 21 Wrap

Photo: BBC
DTH van der Merwe scores for Glasgow in the final minute v Ospreys
Dragons 30-24 Munster
A result that can be called nothing other than shocking took place on  Friday in Newport as the Dragons picked up a major scalp in defeating Irish province Munster to open Round 21 of the Rabo Direct Pro 12. With Munster set to play in the Heineken Cup Semi Final next Saturday against Clermont Auvergne in Montpellier the side that faced the Newport-Gwent Dragons was very much made up of reserves. It saw Munster´s chance of making the Semi Finals of the RaboDirect Pro 12 end but will mean fresh legs take the field against the high flying Clermont Auvergne.

Benetton Treviso 30-10 Edinburgh
When Italy was added to the Celtic League to form the RaboDirect Pro 12 in place of the former Magners League there were plenty of people questioning the chances of Italy having a competitive team. After three years Benetton Treviso has proven itself to be a respected team. At home it is a tough side for anybody while on the road it has also picked up some important results. On Friday it hosted Scottish side Edinburgh and took the Scot´s to the cleaners. The three tries to one win featured fifteen points from the boot of Argentina´s Alberto di Bernardo who has been used a lot ahead of Italian international Kris Burton and may well make his test debut for Italy this year. di Bernardo was one of two Argentine players in the team.The other being prop Ignacio Fernández-Rouyet who was a replacement.

Glasgow 35-17 Ospreys
One of the biggest results of the season sees the Glasgow Warriors firmly move towards a place in the Semi Finals while the Ospreys are now on the verge of being eliminated. The Scottish side was far too strong scoring five tries to two and having the game wrapped up at half time. Leading 22-3 the Warriors had reason to lose focus and the team did as the Ospreys fought back to 22-17 before the Scottish side powered home with two late tries, one of which was scored by Canadian DTH van der Merwe

Connacht 18-34 Ulster
The fourth match played on Friday was alsmot a massive upset after Connacht had led Ulster in the first quarter. But, in the end, Ulster powered to victory scoring five tries to two. On the bench for Ulster was USA prop Callum Black. The man from Washingon D.C. remains uncapped and should he play nfor his homeland then his chances of being released by Ulster are extremely high. 

Scarlets 24-6 Cardiff Blues
With the Ospreys having lost against Glasgow the Scarlets had a huge opportunity to put one foot into the Semi Finals door. The Western Welsh rugby region succeeded as a tight first half was turned into an even contest that was all about the Scarlets after the interval. The Scarlets are now likely to go on to face Ulster in the Semi Finals and with the top two sies being Irish the final looks set to again take place in Ireland.

Zebre 22-41 Leinster
With the collapse of Aironi and the birth of Zebre there was hope that attendances and results could be better than there were during the two years of Aironi. So far the attendances are low and the onfield results are less than impressive. Zebre is winless so far in the Rabo Direct Pro 12. After 21 rounds it is safe to say that Zebre´s first season in the Celtic-Italian League will be history making for all the wrong reasons. The win in Parma was a good one for Leinster. It increases the chances of the Dublin based side hosting the Glasgow Warriors in a Semi Final. Zebre fielded two Argentine players capped by Italy - Matias Aguero and Luciano Orquera. The heavy defeat may well be compounded by suspension to Italian international Mauro Bergamasco who tackled Brian O´ Driscoll late and did so in a dangerous manner. It probably means his season is over and he will not be able to play for Italy in South Africa in June.

RaboDirect Pro 12 Standings
1 Ulster 76
2 Leinster 73
3 Glasgow 72
4 Scarlets 66
5 Ospreys 62
6 Munster 50
7 Treviso 43
8 Cardiff 38
9 Connacht 36
10 Edinburgh 32
11 Dragons 27
12 Zebre 9

Treviso v Edinburgh

Glasgow v Ospreys

Connacht v Ulster

Scarlets v Cardiff

Zebre v Leinster 

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