Sunday, March 8, 2015

Guinness Pro 12: Americas Players Review - Round 17

Photo Guinness Pro 12
Seventeen rounds into the Guinness Pro 12 and the competition remains a five team race for four Semi Finals places. Ireland, Scotland and Wales are all in contention to have teams in the final four. Of the top four at present all have players from the Americas, the only World Rugby defined region yet to be allocated hosting rights to a Rugby World Cup. Argentina, Canada and the USA all had players involved in round 17 with players from two of these World Cup teams scoring tries for winning teams. 

Cardiff Blues 18-17 Connacht
The round got underway with a strong reminder of the importance of Argentina to global rugby as Los Pumas fullback Joaquín Tuculet scored a match winning try (as pictured above) to complete a home victory for the Cardiff Blues. Tuculet scored both of the Blues' tries while playing the match on the left wing. The result was not enough to improve the Welsh region's position due to Edinburgh and the Scarlets both winning their matches on Saturday. 

Glasgow Warriors 26-5 Zebre 
An impressive first half performance by the Glasgow Warriors at home on Friday evening was sufficient for the Scottish side to complete a home bonus poitn victory and move back to the top of the table. Heavily involved was Canadian international DTH van der Merwe who scored two tries. Argentine players Luciano Orquera, Gonzalo Garcia and Luciano Leibson were all on the bench for Zebre. Of them Orquera and Garcia are capped by Italy while Leibson could yet be capped by the Europeans.

Ospreys 26-12 Munster
Welsh region the Ospreys completed an important home win on Saturday and did so by preventing Irish province Munster from scoring a bonus point. The Ospreys therefore collected four points compared to Munster's zero. Starting in the second-row for the Ospreys was Canadian captain Tyler Ardron. Uncapped former USA junior Hanno Dirksen was involved as the team's starting left winger. Former Puma Eusebio Guiñazú featured for Munster starting at hooker. 

Scarlets 23-13 Leinster
A Welsh treble was completed with the Scarlets performing well against a strong Leinster side in Llanelli on Saturday. Scoring three tries to one and winning by more than seven the Welsh region replicated the accomplishment of the Ospreys as the Irish province was unable to score any competition points. 

Benetton Treviso 8-29 Edinburgh
A perfect weekend for Scottish sides against the Italians went some way to making up for Scotland's Six Nations defeat against Italy at Murrayfield last Saturday. The result puts Edinburgh now one win behind Connacht with an eye on qualifying for the 2015-2016 European Rugby Champions Cup. Uncapped Argentine prop Romulo Acosta was on the bench for the Italians.

Dragons 26-22 Ulster
An upset home win by the Newport-Gwent Dragons on Sunday completed the unthinkable: four from four for the Welsh regions and zero from four for the Irish provinces. The Dragons took control in the second half but were given a late scare when Ross Adair scored in the 79th minute. Uncapped USA prop Callum Black started for the Northern Irish province at loosehead prop.

#
Team
Pts
1
Glasgow
57
2
Munster
53
3
Ulster
52
4
Ospreys
51
5
Leinster
49
6
Connacht
43
7
Scarlets
40
8
Edinburgh
39
9
Cardiff Blues
30
10
Dragons
27
11
Treviso
18
12
Zebre
14

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