Saturday, January 3, 2015

Guinness Pro 12: Americas Players Review - Round 12

Photo A Pleno Rugby
A round of upsets in the Guinness Pro 12 sees the play-offs pictures and European qualification altered.  Losing in round 12 were the top four Ospreys, Glasgow, Munster and Ulster heading into the round. Further down there were also changes as bottom of the table Benetton Treviso traded places with Zebre. Involved were players from the Americas, the only region yet to be allocated hosting rights to a Rugby World Cup. England and Wales are to have a third and a fourth opportunity respectively this year while Argentina is interested in hosting in 2023. 

Dragons 9-11 Cardiff Blues
Having conquered Cardiff on Boxing Day the Newport Gwent Dragons were looking to make it a double in the reverse fixture played in Newport on New Years Day. The Cardiff Blues, though, completed an unconvincing win to collect four competition points. Starting for the winning Welsh region were Pumas Lucas González Amorosino and Joaquín Tuculet. 

Connacht 24-16 Munster
Also played on New Years Day was an Irish derby in a sold out Galway. The western Irish province impressed by leading for the majority of the match and in winning put a lot of pressure on lower placed sides to win as the qualifying picture for the European Rugby Champions Cup shapes up. Former Argentine international hooker Eusebio Guiñazú was a replacement for Munster.

Edinburgh 20-8 Glasgow Warriors
Scotland's capital city side completed an upset victory over the in-form Glasgow Warriors in a derby fixture on Friday. The outcome sees Edinburgh staying above the Cardiff Blues but remaining two wins behind Connacht. Edinburgh's Argentine players Joaquín Domínguez and Tomás Leonardí were not involved nor was Canadian DTH van der Merwe. Tommy Seymour who is a Scottish international from the USA was a starting winger for Glasgow.

Benetton Treviso 17-15 Zebre
The all-Italian derby on Saturday afternoon sees Benetton Treviso moving up from the bottom of the table to trade places with Zebre. Although the two Italian sides occupy the bottom two places in the competition there is still a long time to go for both to rise above the Dragons and others before the season's end.

Leinster 24-11 Ulster
Saturday's Irish derby saw Jamie Heaslip leave early with a potentially serious injury. The eastern Irish province was nonetheless able to win and overtake Ulster to now sit in fourth position. Starting for Ulster was the uncapped Callum Black who is from the USA and could, indeed, play for the Eagles at the World Cup this year.

Scarlets 22-10 Ospreys
A home win in Llanelli in the final match of the round means the Scarlets stay in touch with Connacht as the Welsh region seeks to qualify for next season's European Rugby Champions Cup. Despite losing the Ospreys hold onto the top spot. Starting for the Ospreys was Hanno Dirksen a former USA junior who turned down selection for Rugby World Cup 2011. He is aiming to represent Wales at this year's World Cup. Also starting was Canadian captain Tyler Ardron who played in the back-row.

#
Team
Pts
1
Ospreys
40
2
Glasgow Warriors
39
3
Munster
37
4
Leinster
36
5
Ulster
35
6
Connacht
32
7
Scarlets
28
8
Edinburgh
24
9
Cardiff Blues
22
10
Dragons
17
11
Benetton Treviso
12
12
Zebre
10

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