Sunday, February 9, 2014

Rabo Direct Pro 12 Americas Exports - Round 13 Wrap

Photo Ulster Rugby: C Black

While the impressive wins by England, France and Ireland on Saturday and Sunday were making headlines there was also a round of the Rabo Direct Pro 12 being played. The thirteenth round of the 2013-2014 season was played from Friday through Sunday with five matches taking place. One match had to be called off and will be rescheduled for a later date. There were no upset results in round thirteen in what was another round featuring a host of players from the Americas - the last IRB defined region to be allocated a Rugby World Cup. Despite the competition still having nine rounds of regular season matches there are, realistically, only five teams in the running to qualify for the Semi Finals.

Ulster 10-7 Ospreys
The round began in Belfast on Friday evening with a top four match between Ulster and the Ospreys. Both teams were missing a number of players to international duty but both, nevertheless, had North Americans involved. Uncapped Callum Black from the USA was on the Ulster bench while Canadian winger Jeff Hassler started for the Ospreys as did Canada´s captain during last the European tour of last November, Tyler Ardron. Both players are expected to be starting for Canada in its Rugby World Cup 2015 opening fixture in Wales against Ireland.

Treviso 33-41 Scarlets
Benetton Treviso is one of the hardest hit teams during the Six Nations championship. With Italy having just two teams in the Rabo Direct Pro 12 the countries teams are hit harder than those with more such as Ireland and Wales. Treviso, though, adapted and played some quality rugby against a team missing far fewer players to Six Nations duty. Argentine players capped by Italy including Alberto di Bernardo, Franco Sbaraglini, Ignacio Fernández Rouyet and Pedro di Santo were all involved. Another capped by Italy was Canadian Robert Barbieri who scored a try from the bench. 

Munster 54-13 Cardiff Blues
The poor Welsh performance against Ireland on Saturday at the Aviva Stadium was matches in Limerick on the same afternoon as Munster humiliated the Cardiff Blues. The crisis in Welsh rugby is increasingly unlikely to have any general winners but with the teams failing to impress and them wanting to play in the Aviva Premiership it will take a miracle to break the deadlock.

Dragons v Edinburgh
The match was postponed. Rodney Parade in Newport was in no condition to host a professional rugby fixture due to it being water logged. Neither the Newport-Gwent Dragons nor Edinburgh is likely to qualify for the play-offs. As such none of Francisco Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Tomás Leonardí or Joaquín Domínguez played this weekend.

Glasgow 8-6 Connacht
Irish province Connacht is the side least effected by ther Six Nations and it, therefore, had an ideal opportunity of winning a Rabo Direct Pro 12 fixture in Scotland. Instead the Glasgow Warriors won a close match by scoring the only try in the first half. Earlier in the week Pumas centre Gabriel Ascárate was confirmed as having ended his season early. He is back in Argentina recovering from a neck injury and is now not likely to be considered for international duty in June and possibly also not in the Rugby Championship. His replacement at the Warriors could well be USA Sevens player Folau Niua whom has been linked to a move to Scotland.

Zebre 8-31 Leinster
A bonus point win for Leinster in Italy ensured that the Irish province would remain ahead of the Glasgow Warriors in the standings. Involved for Zebre was uncapped USA eligible prop Dave Ryan and Argentine-Italian Matias Aguero. By virtue of collecting no competition points Zebre is now just one point ahead of the bottom of the table Connacht.

1 Munster 48
2 Ulster 41
3 Ospreys 40
4 Leinster 40
5 Glasgow 37
6 Scarlets 28
7 Dragons 24
8 Edinburgh 22
9 Cardiff 22
10 Treviso 19
11 Zebre 14
12 Connacht 13

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