Sunday, February 23, 2014

Rabo Direct Pro 12 Americas Exports - Round 15 Wrap

Photo Western Wheel:
Jeff Hassler featured on Sunday
The future of the Rabo Direct Pro 12 remains undetermined. The civil war between the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and the regions is yet to be resolved with the regions wanting to join the Aviva Premiership and Italy´s future involved also clouded as the lack of a resolution to the Welsh crisis combined with the competition lacking a sponsor for next season has the Italians far from happy. Attendances in the competition have tended to be low and this was the case even more so this weekend due to teams all missing players to international duty. There were, nonetheless, international players involved with the Americas having a contingent of players involved in the Celtic-Italian league.  

Cardiff Blues 22-34 Leinster
With Wales hosting France in the Six Nations on Friday the Rabo Direct Pro 12 fixture between the Cardiff  Blues and Leinster was moved to Thursday. Leinster returned home with a bonus point victory while the Cardiff Blues failed to earn any competition points.

Scarlets 25-21 Edinburgh
Neither Welsh region the Scarlets nor Scottish side Edinburgh have been impressive this season in the Rabo Direct Pro 12 or the Heineken Cup and, unless form is to significantly change, neither will be involved in the play-offs. Similar to the match between the Cardiff Blues and Leinster the team representing the nation with greater depth won the fixture. Former Puma Tomás Leonardí was involved for Edinburgh as a back-row replacement.

Treviso 12-14 Ulster
Italian side Benetton Treviso gained a bonus point on Sunday to slighly help its standing in the competition. Ulster was expected to win big due to the squad having much more notable depth in comparison to the Italian side who was drained of players for Six Nations duty. Both teams had players from the Americas. Uncapped USA eligible prop Callum Black was on the Ulster bench. He could become a USA Eagles in 2014. Argentine players Ignacio Fernández Rouyet, Franco Sbaraglini and Alberto di Bernardo took the field for Benetton Treviso.

Dragons 24-23 Glasgow
A highly competitive fixture in Newport on Sunday saw the Glasgow Warriors miss out on a prime opportunity to collect four points for an away victory. With the Dragons having far fewer players involved in the Welsh test side than Glasgow does in the Scottish side the home side was advantaged and, ultimately, won as a result. In addition to missing players to the Six Nations the Glasgow Warriors club is also missing a notable number to injury such as Canadian DTH van der Merwe and Argentine Gabriel Ascárate who returned to Tucumán recently to recover from a neck injury. USA international centre Folau Niua was on the bench for the Scottish side.

Ospreys 11-25 Munster
Similar to the Glasgow Warriors a top performing side was unable to impress this round due to it lacking players of note to replace the test players involved in the Six Nations. All three of Leinster, Munster and Ulster have much greater resources at their disposal which has seen the Irish provinces be the success story in the Celtic League and the stonrest performers in the Heineken Cup from the competition. Involved in the matches for the Welsh side were two Canadians. Jeff Hassler started on the right wing while Tyler Ardron started in the back-row. Former USA junior representative Hanno Dirksen, who played for the USA v Munster in a non-international, was also involved. The future Welsh international was on the bench.

Zebre 19-27 Connacht
Western Irish province Connacht completed a perfect Irish weekend in the Rabo Direct Pro 12. The match played in Parma on Sunday saw the Irish province join Leinster, Munster and Ulster as winners. In winning Connacht move ahead of Benetton Treviso which sees the two Italian sides occupy the bottom places in the standings. Treviso, though, does have one match in hand. Despite Zebre being regularly criticized it is notable that the side has won two league matches this season while the Worcester Warriors have not won a single match in the Aviva Premiership.

1 Munster 57
2 Leinster 55
3 Ulster 45
4 Ospreys 45
5 Glasgow 42
6 Scarlets 32
7 Dragons 28
8 Edinburgh 24
9 Cardiff 23
10 Connacht 22
11 Treviso 20
12 Zebre 14

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