Sunday, May 10, 2015

Guinness Pro 12: Americas Exports - Round 21

The penultimate round of the Guinness Pro 12 confirmed that Leinster will be joining the Ospreys, Glasgow Warriors, Munster and Ulster in the 2015-2016 European Rugby Champions Cup. The Celtic-Italian League has four evenly matches top four sides with three of which on 70 competition points and the fourth on 69. They are to contest the Semi Finals and do so with players from the Americas. Indeed all four have players on their books who are in contention for Rugby World Cup 2015 places for one of Argentina, Canada or the USA. The Americas is the last remaining World Rugby defined region  yet to be allocated hosting right to a Rugby World Cup.  

Leinster 10-0 Treviso
Irish province Leinster secured qualification for the 2015-2016 European Rugby Champions Cup with a narrow victory over Italian city side Treviso in a low scoring match on Friday. The result sees Treviso remaining three points ahead of Zebre and therefore on course to qualify for Europe next season. Uncapped Argentine prop Romulo Acosta was on the bench for Treviso. 

Ospreys 21-10 Glasgow Warriors
Welsh region the Ospreys went top of the table with an eleven point win over previous leaders the Glasgow Warriors. The home fixture on Friday saw the return from injury of Canadian winger Jeff Hassler. He started on the right wing while Tommy Seymour of Tennessee did so for Glasgow. Both are certainties for the Rugby World Cup but Seymour will be playing for Scotland. Set to captain Canada is Tyler Ardron who started in the second-row for the Ospreys. 

Dragons 19-5 Edinburgh
When the Newport-Gwent Dragons and Edinburgh met recently in the Semi Finals stage of the European Challenge Cup it was the Scottish side who played the much better rugby. On Saturday, however, the Dragons were in control and secured four competition points. Missing fro Edinburgh were Argentine players Tomás Leonardí and Joaquín Domínguez.

Zebre 10-40 Connacht
Italian side Zebre is ending another season of Guinness Pro 12 rugby in unimpressive fashion. The Parma based side has been unable to perform at the required level to compete for titles. Connacht is still in contention for a place in next season's European Rugby Champions Cup. Argentine players Luciano Orquera, Gonzalo Garcia and Matías Aguero all started for Zebre. The trio are all capped by Italy. 

Ulster 23-23 Munster
Ulster is to host the Guinness Pro 12 Final but the team could not be involved in the match itself. In Saturday's all-Irish match-up Ulster completed a late comeback to secure a draw. Starting for the home side was Callum Black who is uncapped and is U.S. born. Speculation suggests he could play for the USA Eagles in the World Cup. Former Puma Eusebio Guiñazú (pictured above) is chasing a return to test duty after having been left out in 2014 by Daniel Hourcade. He started at hooker v Ulster this weekend. 

Scarlets 16-6 Cardiff Blues
The Western Welsh region, the Scarlets moved into the upper half of the competition standings with a ten point win over the struggling Cardiff Blues in Sunday's only Guinness Pro 12 fixture. With one round remaining the Scarlets sit on 53 competition points, or four more than Connacht and five more than Edinburgh. With Scarlets facing Zebre away in the final round the Llanellui based side has a strong chance of qualifying for Europe next season. Involved in the match was Puma Joaquín Tuculet who played left wing for the Cardiff Blues.

#
Team
Pts
1
Ospreys
70
2
Glasgow
70
3
Munster
70
4
Ulster
69
5
Leinster
57
6
Scarlets
53
7
Connacht
49
8
Edinburgh
48
9
Dragons
41
10
Cardiff
30
11
Treviso
18
12
Zebre
15

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