Monday, May 6, 2013

Rabo Direct Pro 12 - Final Round Wrap

DTH van der Merwe i fine form ahead of vital international season for Canada
Scarlets 17-41 Treviso
The western Welsh rregion the Scarlets will play in the Semi Finals but is not doing itself any favors as it was hammered at home by Italian side Benetton Treviso on Friday. It was a result to indicate that Treviso has succeeded in becoming a permanent part of the Celtic-Italian League and has the potential to become the most competitive ever Italian side on the European stage. The teams win in Llanelli featured Canadian Robert Barbieri in the backrow and Argentina´s Ignacio Fernández Rouyet on the bench as a frontrow replacement. Both players are from the Americas but are capped by Italy. Baribieri was impressive in completing a great first try for the Italians which came froma  clean linebreak by secondrower Antonio Pavanello.

Ulster 37-13 Cardiff
Ulster made sure it would not only be hosting a Semi Final but would also finish the season at the top of the table. The Northern Irish province´s big win over the Cardiff Blues puts the side in good form heading into a home Semi Final against the Scarlets next Friday. USA prop Callum Black may well feature in the Semi Final after he started at loosehead prop on Friday against Cardiff.

Zebre 25-27 Munster
The season ended as it started for Zebre as the Italian sides debut season produced no wins in theither the Heineken Cup or the Rabo Direct Pro 12. History was almost made, however, in the final round match against an understrength Munster. It was the end of the season for Munster too due to its position in the league and it having been defeated by Clermont Auvergne in the Heineken Cup Semi Finals. The Italian side needs to invest in player recruitment if it is to do any better in the 2013-2014 season. Benetton Treviso was able to sign a host of leading Aironi players last season which harmed the establishment of Zebre. Starting for the home team on Saturday were USA prop Dave Ryan and Argentine-Italians Matias Aguero and Gonzalo Garcia

Connacht 3 -20 Glasgow 
An away win for the Glasgow Warriors was not enough to secure a home Semi Final due to Leinster having been able to also win and, unlike the Warriors, obtain a bonus point. The restul means Glasgow finish third in the competition and will face Leinster next weekend in the second Semi Final. Playing on thw wings for the Glasgow Warriors against Connacht were Canadian DTH van der Merwe and the USA´s Tommy Seymour. Both should be in action next month with van der Merwe set to featured for Canada against Ireland and play in the Pacific Nations Cup. Seymour is likely to make his test debut for Scotland in SOuth Africa. 

Edinburgh 31-24 Dragons
A match carrying no significance for either side saw the Scot´s end end the season on a high but both teams were, overall, far below par in finishing ahead of only Zebre. Welsh and British and Irish Lions supporters will have been happy with the performance of Dan Lydiate.

Leinster 37-19 Ospreys
A solid home bonus point win for Leinster in Dublin not only secured a home Semi Final for the Irish province but it also eliminated the Ospreys from the competition. The Swansea based side needed a win to remain in contention.

Pro 12 Standings
1 Ulster 81
2 Leinster 78
3 Glasgow 76
4 Scarlets 66
5 Ospreys 62
6 Munster 54
7 Treviso 50
8 Connacht 38
9 Cardiff 38
10 Edinburgh 36
11 Dragons 28
12 Zebre 10

Semi Finals
Friday May 10 Ulster v Scarlets, Ravenhill Stadium, Belfast
Saturday May 10 Leinster v Glasgow, RDS Stadium Dublin

Scarlets v Treviso

Ulster v Cardiff

Zebre v Munster

Connacht v Glasgow

Edinburgh v Dragons

Leinster v Ospreys

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