Sunday, January 5, 2014

Rabo Direct Pro 12 Americas Exports - Round 12 Wrap

Photo RaboDirect Pro 12: Luciano Orquera kicks for Zebre
Round twelve of the Pro 12 was all about local derbies as all the fixtures involved teams from the same nation. It was a round that produced some upset results both at the top and bottom of the table and, as always, it was a round in which players from North and South American featured as the last region to be allocated a Rugby World Cup continues to be a significant player in professional European rugby. 

Cardiff 21-13 Dragons
With the Welsh rugby Civil War now having passed the point of no return the match between the Blues and Dragons was viewed as possibly being the final time they will face-off in the Celtic-Italian league. With the WRU and the Regions having been unable to come to an agreement the union now has to somehow find away to convince the regions to not jump ship to a competition in which it has no jurisdiction. The 21-13 result of the fixture sees Cardiff move ahead of Benetton Treviso but remain in a lowly ninth place in the standings. Former Puma tighthead prop Francisco Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro got more game time for the Dragons from the bench. 

Glasgow v Edinburgh
The all-Scottish clash was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. As such the Glasgow Warriors now two postponed matches in the RaboDirect Pro 12 which will have to be rescheduled. With Glasgow´s home match against Benetton Treviso in December also having been postponed questions may need to be asked of the suitability of Scotstoun Stadium for professional rugby.

Ulster 29-19 Munster
An impressive performance from Ulster at Ravenhill sees the northern Irish side move back into the Top Four albeit despite Glasgow having two games in hand. In failing to pick up any points Munster is now within reach of both Leinster and the Ospreys. USA eligible prop Callum Black, who was born in the USA, was on the bench for Ulster. He remains uncapped and may well represent the USA in 2014.

Ospreys 17-12 Scarlets
The abysmal season that has seen the Llanelli based Welsh region, the Scarlets continue to drop down in the standings continued on Friday as the Swansea based Ospreys made it two wins from two matches against its neighboring region. The five point win sees the Ospreys hold on to third place in the competition but it came at grave concern as the fixture failed to attract a strong crowd. Starting for the Ospreys were Canadian international Jeff Hassler and Tyler Ardron. Hassler played left wing while Ardron played blindside flanker.

Zebre 14-12 Treviso
A home win for Zebre sees the Parma based side move off from the bottom of the standings. It means Benetton Treviso´s opportunity to move up as high as sixth was not taken as the side is instead in tenth position, nonetheless with a game in hand. The win was Zebre´s second of the season and first at home. Paramount to the win was Argentina´s Luciano Orquera who kicked three penalties. The Italian international was joined by another Argentine player in the form of Gonzalo Garcia. They formed a 10-12 combination while Matias Aguero also started for Zebre. Treviso had Argentine players capped by Italy in the form of replacements Ignacio Fernández Rouyet and Franco Sbaraglini while the Canadian-Italian Robert Barbieri started in the back-row.

Connacht 8-16  Leinster
Connacht is unlikely to have a list of players selected to represent Ireland in the Six Nations but the province has, nonetheless, been able to compete well in the RaboDirect Pro 12 without getting the results. With Zebre winning and Connacht missing out on a bonus point the western Irish province returns to he bottom of the table while Leinster remain one point ahead of the Ospreys and just three behind leaders, Munster.

1 Munster 43
2 Leinster 40
3 Ospreys 39
4 Ulster 37
5 Glasgow 33 **
6 Dragons 24
7 Scarlets 23
8 Edinburgh 22 *
9 Cardiff 22
10 Treviso 19 *
11 Zebre 14
12 Connacht 12

** Two game´s in hand
* One game in hand

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