Sunday, April 20, 2014

Rabo Direct Pro 12: Americas Exports Round 20 Wrap


Photo Welsh Rugby Pics
Córdoba´s Luciano Orquera saw
Zebre defeat Edinburgh
With two rounds remaining the Rabo Direct Pro 12 is far from being decided. The top two is clear with Leinster and Munster all but certain to be hosting Semi Finals. Ulster and Glasgow are likely to be the visitors with the Ospreys being the only other side in contention. The competition though now has added interest due to clubs playing for places in the new European competition which is to allocate slots on merit rather than  nationality. Teams ranked as low as last place now have everything to play for in the final two rounds. Involved were players from Argentina, Canada and the USA. The region of the Americas is the only IRB defined continent to never have been allocated a Rugby World Cup.

Leinster 62-7 Benetton Treviso
Top of the table Leinster hosted and humiliated Italian side Benetton Treviso in the opening fixture of the round. With Leinster not being involved in the Semi Finals of the Heineken Cup it is likely to finish the regular season at the top of the table and therefore host a Semi Final and, if successful, also host the final. Involved in the match for the Italians were players from Canada and Argentina capped by Italy. Robert Barbieri started at the back of the scrum while Ignacio Fernández Royet and Pedro di Santo were front-row reserves.

Glasgow Warriors 27-9 Ulster
A three tries to zero home victory sees the Glasgow Warriors edge closer to a place in the Semi Finals. The Scottish side is the only non-Irish province in the top four and is the table remains unchanged the side will face Leinster in the Semi Finals. Involved for Glasgow in the win was USA born and raised Scottish international Tommy Seymour who was a try scorer. 

Zebre 26-13 Edinburgh
A home win for bottom of the table Zebre over Scottish side Edinburgh places the pressure firmly on Benetton Treviso. With the top Italian side securing a place in the new European competition there is not room for both sides. With two rounds remaining Treviso holds a four point lead. Neither of Edinburgh´s Pumas were involved in the match. There were, nonetheless, players from Argentina with the Italian capped Luciano Orquera and Gonzalo Garcia forming a 10-12 combination. Matias Aguero started in the front-row while the USA eligible Dave Ryan was on the bench.

Connacht 23-32 Munster
The Irish derby played in Galway on Saturday was closer than normal due to Munster not fielding its strongest side. Missing were a number of players likely to be starting against Toulon in the second Heineken Cup Semi Final to be played in Marseilles next Sunday.

Cardiff Blues 17-13 Scarlets
In an effort to turn the two Welsh derbies into an economic success the matches were played as a double-header on Sunday afternoon at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. The match between the Blues and the Scarlets was far from ideal for marketing as one player from each side was red carded. The Scarlets scored two tries to one but the winning Welsh region was the Cardiff Blues.

Dragons 10-20 Ospreys
In the other half of the double-header authorities were again not able to showcase the best of Welsh rugby as neither side was able to score any points in the first half. The Newport-Gwent Dragons scored the first points of the match with a try in the 46th minute but it was the Swansea based region that came out on top to maintain pressure on Ulster and the Glasgow Warriors. Canadian winger Jeff Hassler started the match whlie back-rower Tyler Ardron featured from the bench. Former USA junior Hanno Dirksen started the match too. He is likely to make his debyut for Wales this year. 

1
Leinster
74
2
Munster
68
3
Ulster
65
4
Glasgow Warriors
64
5
Ospreys
60
6
Scarlets 
46
7
Cardiff Blues
37
8
Edinburgh
35
9
Connacht
34
10
Dragons
31
11
Benetton Treviso
29
12
Zebre
25

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