Sunday, December 1, 2013

Rabo Direct Pro 12 Americas Exports - Round 9 Wrap

Photo Evening Times: Canadian DTH van der Merwe scored for Glasgow on Friday
With the completion of the November International window the Rabo Direct Pro 12 returned to have a full round of six league matches. Not all players were back though as Wales hosted Australia in an international match on Saturday and in doing so prevented the leading Welsh players from representing their regions. It weakened all four of the Welsh sides and, as such, none of them were able to win a match. The round featured a number of players from North and South America as the last region to be allocated a Rugby World Cup continues to be a significant asset to the global game.

Ospreys 16-28 Glasgow
There is reason to believe that Canada has a better backline than Italy at this point in time and with the teams set to face-off in Pool D of Rugby World Cup 2015 it is entirely possible that Canada could win the fixture. Neither Italy nor Canada had complete backlines. Italy has good mid-field options and depth at scrumhalf and, arguably, fullback but its wingers are far from being game breakers. Canada, in contrast, has some young developing flyhalf and multiple wingers of note who can also play in the centres. Both DTH van der Merwe and Jeff Hassler would make the Italian starting lineup. They both scored tries in the Ospreys v Glasgow match on Friday. Also involved were Tyler Ardon who played in the back-row and players lost to the USA - Hanno Dirksen and Tommy Seymour who were wingers.

Edinburgh 43-10 Connacht
Friday was a very good night for Scottish rugby in terms of results as both the Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh won their matches. As a result of the win the Scottish capital side moves to within one point of the Scarlets while Connacht remains bottom of the table.

Dragons 14-18 Munster
The Newport-Gwent Dragons held a half tmie lead of Irish powerhouses Munster and scored the only try of the match but with Ian Keatley on target Munster took the lead in the final ten minutes to complete the victory. Former Puma Francisco Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro again started the match for the Dragons at tighthead prop.

Benetton Treviso 26-26 Cardiff Blues
A secondhalf comeback almost turned into a dream result for Benetton Treviso as the Italians overturned a 20-9 halftime deficit to finish the match at 26 all. Treviso appeared set for victory only for Gareth Davies to land a 76th minute penalty which snatched a draw. Canadian Robert Barbieri and Argentine Ignacio Fernández-Rouyet were both on the bench for Treviso. Both players are Italian internationals.

Zebre 11-19 Ulster
A closer than expected match in Italy saw the Northern Irish province returning home with four competition points and a place in the top four. Zebre remain second from bottom and in a two-way fight with Connacht to avoid the wooded spoon. Zebre fielded Argentine players Gonzalo Garcia, Matias Aguero and Luciano Orquera all of whomare capped by Italy. USA eligible Dave Ryan started in the front-row while Callum Black was on the Ulster bench. With Tommaso Allan having difficulties with his long range goalkicking and Italy having lost Gonzalo Canale to injury there is a real possibility that Garcia will be the starting 12 in the Six Nations.

Leinster 36-19 Scarlets
With Leinster being too strong for the Scarlets a gulf has appeared in the RaboDirect Pro12. There is now a highly visible gap between the top five and the bottom seven. The seven points between the Ospreys and Scarlets accounts to two league wins and with those lower than the Scarlets being weaker sides it suggests that there are five teams now in contention for the Semi Finals - those above the Scarlets. The Irish province dominated the first half in Leinster to hold a 22-0 lead which rendered the match over before the interval.

1 Munster 35
2 Leinster 31
3 Glasgow 29 
4 Ulster 29
5 Ospreys 27
6 Scarlets 20
7 Dragons 19
8 Edinburgh 17
9 Cardiff 16
10 Treviso 14
11 Zebre 8
12 Connacht 7

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