Sunday, November 24, 2013

Rabo Direct Pro 12 Americas Exports - Round 8 Wrap

Photo BBC: Tyler Ardron scored for the Ospreys in Round 8
The eighth round of the RaboDirect Pro 12 was played over the weekend despite Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales all involved in international test match rugby. The nature of the season is such that the IRB defined international window overlaps the club season which saw all four nations selecting players from the Pro 12 and thus decreasing the quality of the competition´s teams. A host of players from other nations were also missing but there were nonetheless a number of players from the Americas in action.

Glasgow 8-23 Dragons
A rare away victory for Welsh region the Newport-Gwent Dragons was the start of a poor weekend of results for Scottish rugby as the test team failed to put away a makeshift Australian team. Starting for the Dragons was Francisco Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro who has been getting regular starting time at tighthead prop for the Welsh region. Glasgow was without Gabriel Ascárate who played for Argentina and a host of players representing Scotland but DTH van der Merwe started at outside centre. The 27 year old play for Canada against Georgia, Romania or Portugal due to becoming a father.


Ulster 41-17 Edinburgh 
The poor weekend for Scottish rugby also saw the capital side´s team lose as Northern Irish side Ulster was far too strong in Belfast on Friday evening. Starting at loosehead prop for Ulster was the uncapped Callum Black who is from Washington, D.C and could very well play for the USA Eagles at Rugby World Cup 2015. Now aged 27 Black is qualified to represent Ireland based on his paternal grandfather who was from Belfast. Black played age grade level for Ireland but remains uncapped and the chances of him getting a call up appear weak which suggest the USA could indeed cap him in 2014. Two players from Buenos Aires started for Edinburgh with Tomás Leonardí playing in the back-row and Joaquín Domínquez started at outside centre.


Cardiff Blues 10-31 Munster
The Welsh capital´s team was very underwhelming on Saturday as the visiting Munster was able to dominate and return home with its name on the top of the table. No players from the Americas were involved.


Connacht 21-24 Scarlets
A close match in western Ireland went the way of the visiting Welsh region and sees the Scarlets improve after the team has dropped too many matches so far this season. No players from the Americas were involved.


Ospreys 30-20 Zebre
Many a player from both the Ospreys and Zebre were playing international rugby this past weekend for Wales and Italy. Canada´s two Ospreys players were not playing against Portugal though as, instead, both Tyler Ardron and Jeff Hassler started for the Welsh region. The two players are amongst the best Canadian products in quite some time and are certainties for Rugby World Cup 2015. Ardron scored a try as he played on the side of the scrum while Hassler was one of two wingers with a link to the Americas. The other starting wniger was former USA age grade representative Hanno Dirksen who turned down an opportunity of playing for the USA at Rugby World Cup 2011. He remains uncapped but should represent Wales in 2014. Zebre was captained by Gonzalo Garcia from Argentina while Agustín Cavalieri also started as did USA eligible prop Dave Ryan.


Benetton Treviso 20-21 Leinster
With Ireland also defeating New Zealand on Sunday the Leinster side that faced Benetton Treviso in Italy was never going to be strong. Credit, however, is due to the Italian side who was also missing countless players to international duty as Italy took on Argentina in Rome. In almost defeating the side commonly believed to be the best in the competition Italian depth in the Treviso squad is clearly there. Many players, though, are not Italian and cannot play for Italy. For of the players were from Argentina with Franco Sbaraglini and Ignacio Fernández Rouyet starting in the front-row and Pedro di Santo being a replacement prop. 33 year old fly half Alberto di Bernardo was also on the bench but with Tommasco Allan impressing and being just 20 there are questions over the future of the Argentine product in Italian colors. 


Standings 
1 Munster 31
2 Ospreys 27
3 Leinster 26
4 Glasgow 25
5 Ulster 25
6 Scarlets 20
7 Dragons 18
8 Cardiff 14
9 Edinburgh 12
10 Treviso 12
11 Zebre 8
12 Connacht 7

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