Sunday, September 28, 2014

Guinness Pro 12: Americas Players Review - Round 4


Photo: Scottish Rugby
Four rounds into the Guinness Pro 12 season the competition is proving to be less predictable than in prevous seasons. With qualification for Europe now being based on merit and not nationality teams who have tended to perform poorly have much more to play for than previously. Those fielding weakened teams are running the risk of missing out on future qualification which has seen Irish powerhouses Leinster and Munster both currently sittting outside of the top four. Involved in the competition over the weekend were players from North and South America. With the Americas being the only continental region yet to be allocated hosting rights to a Rugby World Cup the involvement of players in elite level competition is of vast importance. 


Glasgow Warriors 39-21 Connacht
A top four battle saw the Glasgow Warriors complete a bonus point win at home on Friday. The five tries to three performance featured a try to Canadian DTH van der Merwe. Also featuring in the match was Tommy Seymour from Tennessee who was on the bench. The North American is capped by Scotland. van der Merwe has played in two Rugby World Cups for Canada. 

Edinburgh 20-20 Scarlets
A draw in the Scottish capital sees Edinburgh continnue to underperform. Having been humiliated by the Ospreys last weekend the home match against the Scarlets was a chance at redemption. Involved for Edinburgh was former Puma Tomás Leonardí who started in the back-row. Despite being vastly experienced Leonardí has been left out of the Pumas since June 2013 with Daniel Hourcade prefering PladAR players as reinforcements to the big name back-rowers based in England and France. 

Leinster 37-23 Cardiff Blues
The capital city battle between the Irish and Welsh sides saw the Irish province delivering its best performance of the season thus far. Having had a competitive first half the former home of Felipe Contepomi ran in three second half tries to finish stronger than the Blues who crossed twice. 

Zebre 13-6 Ulster
A prime opportunity for Ulster to win on the road was missed and with it the Northern Irish province is a bonus point win behind the top two. Uster, though, had to play one man down for seventy minutes after tighthead prop Declan Fitzpatrick was red carded. Playing loosehead for Ulster was Callum Black, an uncapped prop from the USA. Matias Aquero from Argentina started against Fitzpatrick while Luciano Orquera and Gonzalo Garcia were both replacements. All three are capped by Italy and Luciano Leibson, who was on the bench, could join them. 

Munster 14-19 Ospreys
The Ospreys did what their Welsh neighbors could not day earlier by winning in Ireland. The five point victory featured just one try and it was scord by Canadian Jeff Hassler. Aloso involved for the ospreys was Hanno Dirksen, a former USA junior player. Dirksen remains uncapped with Wales looking to have his services for Rugby World Cup 2015. He turned down playing for the USA in 2011. Canadian captain Tyler Ardron missed the match with an ankle injury. 

Dragons 33-15 Benetton Treviso
Welsh region the Newport-Gwent Dragons won for the first time this season and, in doing so Benetton Treviso are now the only team yet to win a match. In quick time Treviso is a staggering eighteen points behind competition leaders, the Ospreys and Glasgow. 

1
Ospreys
18
2
Glasgow Warriors
18
3
Ulster
13
4
Connacht
12
5
Leinster
12
6
Munster
11
7
Scarlets
10
8
Dragons
7
9
Edinburgh
7
10
Cardiff Blues
5
11
Zebre
4
12
Benetton Treviso
0

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