RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011The focus returns once again to the PRO12 after two weeks of European competition, with Irish Provinces topping three of the six European Cup Pools.


Ulster are the stand-out performers so far (in the Heineken Cup), the only team with a 100 per cent winning record still left in the competition, garnering 18 pool points in the process.

Munster and Leinster, both also past winners of the trophy, top their respective pools, whilst Cardiff Blues, the top placed Welsh Region, are only two points shy of their pool leaders, reigning champions Toulon.

The Irish provinces are faring well in the PRO12 as well, with three of the four play-Off places taken up by them, Munster pulling out a four point lead at the top of the table as the half-way point of the season approaches.

They are in action at Musgrave Park on Saturday evening when they face Scarlets, the Welsh region having won at this venue last time they visited.

The round starts off on Friday night with the remaining three teams currently in the play-Off zone – Leinster, Glasgow Warriors and Ulster – all in action.

Second placed Leinster travel to Murrayfield buoyed by the fact they have won their last five contests with Edinburgh, whilst in Glasgow, Treviso are the visitors.

Having led in the early part of the season Warriors now reside in third place in the table, level on points with Ulster and need a win to keep their season on track.

The remaining top-four team, Ulster, will be looking to maintain their near perfect record against Italian teams when Zebre run out at Ravenhill.


We look at all the weekend’s matches:

Friday 20 December

Cardiff Blues v Ospreys
(Cardiff Arms Park – Kick-off: 19.05; 19.05 GMT)

Cardiff Blues only defeat in their last five games in all tournaments was 10-31 at home to Munster in the PRO12 on November 23.

The Blues have not beaten a fellow Welsh Region, excepting the Dragons, since Ospreys visited the Cardiff City Stadium on New Year’s Eve 2010.

Ospreys have won just two of their last five PRO12 encounters, at home to both Dragons and Zebre. Ospreys have been defeated in their last four away games in all competitions since they visited Connacht in the PRO12, on September 28.

Ospreys have won their last nine PRO12 fixtures against fellow Welsh Regions since losing 20-21 to the Dragons at Rodney Parade on 6th January 2012.

The Blues have already defeated Ospreys this season in the Anglo-Welsh Cup at Liberty Stadium, but in the PRO12 have not won against their rivals since 31st December 2010.


Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Richard Smith, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Gareth Davies, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Rory Watts-Jones, 6 Andries Pretorius, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Macauley Cook, 3 Benoit Bourrust, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Sam Hobbs (captain).
Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 James Down, 20 Josh Navidi, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gavin Evans, 23 Chris Czekaj.

Ospreys: 15 Sam Davies, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Tom Isaacs, 12 Ben John, 11 Aisea Natoga, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tom Habberfield, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Sam Lewis, 5 James King, 4 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 3 Adam Jones, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Ryan Bevington.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Dwyer, 17 Marc Thomas, 18 Dan Suter, 19 Morgan Allen, 20 Tyler Ardron, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Ashley Beck, 23 Jeff Hassler.

Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Rhys Thomas (Wales), Sean Brickell (Wales)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)

Final Score: Cardiff Blues 19/22 Ospreys


Edinburgh v Leinster
(Murrayfield – Kick-off: 19.35; 19.35 GMT)


Edinburgh: 15 Jack Cuthbert, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Ben Atiga, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Greig Tonks, 9 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 8 Dave Denton, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 Ollie Atkins, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Al Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Aleki Lutui, 17 Wicus Blaauw, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Sean Cox, 20 Mike Coman, 21 Grayson Hart, 22 Tony Fenner, 23 Sam Beard.

Leinster: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Darragh Fanning, 13 Brian O’Driscoll, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jordi Murphy, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Tom Denton, 4 Leo Cullen (captain), 3 Martin Moore, 2 Aaron Dundon, 1 Michael Bent.
Replacments: 16 James Tracy, 17 Jack O’Connell, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Quinn Roux, 20 Dominic Ryan, 21 John Cooney, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Brendan Macken.

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Andrew Mcmenemy (Scotland), Adrian Graves (Scotland)
TMO: Iain Ramage (Scotland)

Final Score: Edinburgh 11/6 Leinster


Glasgow Warriors v Treviso
(Scotstoun Stadium – Kick-off: 19.35; 19.35 GMT)

Glasgow Warriors have slipped to two defeats in their last four PRO12 fixtures, dropping them from top of the table to third.

The Warriors won ten successive home games at Scotstoun between December 2012 and October 2013, however since then they have lost their last three matches at the venue in all tournaments.

The Scotsmen have been victorious in their last eight contests with Italian opponents since Treviso won 15-13 at Firhill on 23rd September 2011.

Benetton Treviso are winless in their last four PRO12 encounters since beating Connacht 23-3 at Stadio Monigo in Round Five, although they did draw 26-all at home to Cardiff Blues last time out.

The Italians have won only one away game in any competition in 2013: 41-17 at the Scarlets in the PRO12 in Round 22 last season.

Treviso’s most recent victory in Scotland came against Edinburgh at Murrayfield in October 2012.

Glasgow have won their last three matches against Treviso since the Italians victory at Firhill in September 2011


Glasgow Warriors: 15. Sean Maitland,  14. Tommy Seymour,  13. Byron McGuigan,  12. Alex Dunbar,  11. Niko Matawalu,  10. Duncan Weir,  9. Chris Cusiter (Captain),  1. Gordon Reid,  2. Pat MacArthur,  3. Jon Welsh,  4. Tim Swinson,  5. Tom Ryder,  6. Josh Strauss,  7. Tyrone Holmes,  8. Ryan Wilson

Replacements: 16. Dougie Hall,  17. Jerry Yanuyanutawa,  18. Moray Low,  19. Leone Nakarawa,  20. James Eddie,  21. Chris Fusaro,  22. Henry Pyrgos,  23. Finn Russell

Treviso: TBC

Referee: Claudio Blessano (Italy)
Assistant referees: David Changleng (Scotland), Bob Nevins (Scotland)

Game postponed


Ulster v Zebre
(Ravenhill – Kick-off: 19.05; 19.05 GMT)

Ulster’s only loss in their last eleven fixtures in all tournaments was 9-17 at the Scarlets in the PRO12 on November 2.

The Ulstermen have lost just once at home since early February: 12-13 to Glasgow Warriors in Round Two of the PRO12.

Ulster have met Italian opposition on 24 previous occasions in all competitions and lost only once: 12-23 at home to Treviso in the PRO12 in October 2011.

Zebre are winless in their last ten contests in all tournaments since beating Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park in Round Three of the PRO12, although they did draw 16-all with Scarlets in Parma on October 25.

The two sides have met on three previous occasions with Ulster victorious in each instance, including a 19-11 win in Parma.


Ulster: 15 Ricky Andrew, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Michael Allen, 10 James McKinney, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Robbie Diack, 7 Sean Doyle, 6 Mike McComish, 5 Lewis Stevenson, 4 Johann Muller (captain), 3 Ricky Lutton, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Callum Black.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Tom Court, 18 Adam Macklin, 19 Neil McComb, 20 Conor Joyce, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 Peter Nelson, 23 David McIlwaine.

Zebre: 15 Dion Berryman, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Tommaso Iannone, 12 Roberto Quartaroli, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Gugliemo Palazzani, 8 Nicola Cattina, 7 Filippo Ferrarini, 6 Filippo Cristiano, 5 Marco Bortolami (captain), 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Andrea de Marchi, 2 Andrea Manici, 1 Dario Chistolini.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D’apice, 17 Matias Aaguero, 18 Luca Redofini, 19 Michael van Vuren, 20 Emiliano Caffini, 21 Alberto Chillon, 22 Kameli Ratuvou, 23 Brendon Leonard.

Referee: Neil Hennessy (Wales)
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher (Ireland), Dermot Blake (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

Final Score: Ulster 13/6 Zebre


Saturday 21 December

Connacht v Newport Gwent Dragons
(The Sportsground – Kick-off: 17.00; 17.00 GMT)

Connacht’s only two victories in their last dozen matches in all tournaments have both been away from home in the European Cup, at Zebre and at Toulouse.

Connacht’s only victory in the PRO12 since April was 25-16 at home to Zebre in Round One this season. Connacht have lost all three games they have played against Welsh opponents this season.

Newport Gwent Dragons only victory in their last four PRO12 fixtures was 23-8 away at Glasgow in Round Eight, this represents their only victory on the road since they beat Zebre in Parma in February.

The Welshmen have lost their last three matches against Irish opponents and have won just once away from home at an Irish Province since 2004: 16-14 over Ulster at Ravenhill in September 2008.

Each side won its respective home game when the two teams met last season, whilst Dragons only previous victory in ten previous visits to the Sportsground came on 1st May 2004.


Connacht: 15. Robbie Henshaw,  14. Gavin Duffy,  13. Eoin Griffin,  12. Dave McSharry,  11. Matt Healy,  10. Dan Parks,  9. Kieran Marmion,  1. Brett Wilkinson,  2. Jason Harris-Wright,  3. Nathan White,  4. Mick Kearney,  5. Craig Clarke (captain),  6. John Muldoon,  7. Jake Heenan,  8. Eoin McKeon
Replacements:  16. Dave Heffernan,  17. Denis Buckley,  18. Rodney Ah You,  19. Andrew Browne,  20. George Naoupu,  21. Paul O’Donohoe,  22. Jack Carty,  23. Fionn Carr

Newport Gwent Dragons: 15 Daniel Evans, 14 Will Harries, 13 Pat Leach, 12 Ross Wardle, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Richie Rees, 1 Owen Evans, 2 Sam Parry, 3 Francisco Chaparro, 4 Andrew Coombs (c), 5 Cory Hill, 6 Lewis Evans, 7 Nic Cudd, 8 Toby Faletau.

Replacements 16 T.Rhys Thomas, 17 Hugh Gustafson, 18 Dan Way, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 Ieuan Jones, 21 Wayne Evans, 22 Steffan Jones, 23 Ashley Smith.

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Gary Conway (Ireland), Paul Hancock (Ireland)

Final Score: Connacht 14/11 Dragons


Munster v Scarlets
(Musgrave Park – Kick-off: 19.15; 19.15 GMT)

Munster have won their last seven matches in all tournaments since their 23-29 defeat to Edinburgh at Murrayfield in the European Cup on October 12.

The Munstermen top the PRO12 table courtesy of suffering only one reversal so far this season: 19-29 at Treviso in Round Three.

Munster have won all four matches they have played against Welsh Regions this season.

Scarlets only win in their last five matches in all tournaments was 24-21 at Connacht in Round Eight of the PRO12.

That victory in Galway represents the Welshmen’s only success on the road in any competition since November 2012.

Munster won fourteen successive games against the Scarlets between April 2007 and December 2011, but since then are winless in their last three fixtures against the Welshmen. Scarlets won 13-6 when they visited Musgrave Park last season.


Munster: 15 Denis Hurley; 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Ivan Dineen, 11 Andrew Conway; 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 Cathal Sheridan; 1 Dave Kilcoyne, 2 Duncan Casey, 3 BJ Botha; 4 Ian Nagle, 5 Billy Holland (Capt.); 6 Dave O’Callaghan, 7 Tommy O’Donnell, 8 CJ Stander.
Replacements: 16 Damien Varley, 17 Alan Cotter, 18 John Ryan, 19 Donncha O’Callaghan, 20 Barry O’Mahony, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 Johnny Holland, 23 Ronan O’Mahony.

Scarlets: 15 Gareth Owen, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Gareth Maule, 12 Adam Warren, 11 Kristian Phillips, 10 Aled Thomas, 9 Rhodri Williams, 1 Rob Evans, 2 Ken Owens, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 4 Jake Ball, 5 Richard Kelly, 6 Josh Turnbull, 7 John Barclay, 8 Rob McCusker (captain)

Replacements: 16 Emyr Phillips, 17 Shaun Hopkins, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Johan Snyman, 20 Dan Thomas, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Mike Poole

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: David Wilkinson (Ireland), Michael Black (Ireland)
TMO: Dermot Moloney (Ireland)

Final Score: Munster 16/10 Scarlets


Table after 9 Rounds

Pos   Team   P W D L PF PA Diff TF TA TB LB Pts
1 No change Munster Rugby Munster Rugby 9 8 0 1 212 133 79 20 8 3 0 35
2 Up Leinster Rugby Leinster Rugby 9 6 1 2 222 170 52 22 15 3 2 31
3 Up Glasgow Warriors Glasgow Warriors 9 7 0 2 149 126 23 14 6 0 1 29
4 Up Ulster Rugby Ulster Rugby 9 6 0 3 196 126 70 19 10 3 2 29
5 Down Ospreys Ospreys 9 5 1 3 244 179 65 23 14 3 2 27
6 No change Scarlets Scarlets 9 4 1 4 171 183 -12 15 18 0 2 20
7 No change Newport Gwent Dragons Newport Gwent Dragons 9 4 0 5 163 159 4 12 13 0 3 19
8 Up Edinburgh Rugby Edinburgh Rugby 9 4 0 5 175 229 -54 16 26 1 0 17
9 Down Cardiff Blues Cardiff Blues 9 3 1 5 184 217 -33 12 21 0 2 16
10 No change Benetton Treviso Benetton Treviso 9 2 1 6 166 188 -22 13 20 0 4 14
11 No change Zebre Zebre 9 1 1 7 161 237 -76 15 21 0 2 8
12 No change Connacht Rugby Connacht Rugby 9 1 0 8 127 223 -96 11 20 0 3 7

47 Responses to RaboDirect PRO12: Round 10 – Preview

  • 1

    Glasgow Warriors simply have to START better than they have in most of their games this season so that they can get themselves into a position where victory is assured against Treviso as early as possible to give themselves time to chase the elusive bonus point try.

  • 2

    Marius Goosen has replaced Franco Smith as head coach at Treviso as Smith left the club this week. These two were former team mates at Blue Bulls and also pals, remember many years ago seeing them together at a show at the State Theatre in Pretoria. Wish Marius Goosen all the best in his new role, but just not tonight against Glasgow.

  • 3

    Marius Goosen speaking about his new appointment at Treviso : “It’s a delicate situation for the team, we need to start on a new path. For me it’s an interesting adventure but at the same time the change has come as a shock.
    “We need to go back to basics, for example on first phase attack and the players will be given greater responsibility in the decision-making.”

  • 4

    All the teams except Treviso have been added, proving a bit hard to find theirs

  • 5

    Almost kick off at Murrayfield where its pouring with rain and quite windy, going to be a tough one for Edinburgh against the mighty Leinster.

  • 6

    Zane Kirchner starting tonight for Leinster will be my first time seeing him play live since he moved over

  • 7

    Leinster on the attack still scoreless in 18th minute

  • 8

    Good defence by Edinburgh getting the scrum as Leinster maul gets nowhere

  • 9

    Glasgow v Treviso at Scotstoun in Glasgow has been postponed due to the pitch being waterlogged after heavy rain today, it was inspected and they decided it wasn’t good to play on – don’t know when it will be rescheduled for yet.

  • 10

    Edinburgh 0/3 Leinster – penalty in 22nd minute by Ian Madigan

  • 11

    Denton having all sorts of problems with the wet ball as he knocks trying to catch a high kick by Leinster, not for the first time tonight he has knocked on.

  • 12

    Great break by Laidlaw but he is eventually into the defence without backup arriving quick enough

  • 13

    TRY EDINBURGH! Right wing Dougie Fife popping up and scoring in left hand corner great pass by Tonks put him in space to run the try in

  • 14

    Edinburgh 5/3 Leinster as Laidlaw misses the conversion – 33rd minute

  • 15

    23 Sam Beard on as replacement not sure yet who for

  • 16

    Half time – Ulster 7/6 Zebre, a lot closer than expected still COME ON ZEBRE!

  • 17

    Strong driving maul Edinburgh and they are a few metres out..

  • 18

    Edinburgh get penalty as Leinster transgress to keep them from scoring a try

  • 19

    Edinburgh 8/3 Leinster as Laidlaw slots the penalty – 38th minute, the build up play deserved a 7 pointer there but 3 is better than none

  • 20

    Penalty to Edinburgh, only a few metres inside Leinster half so they go for touch and Tonks takes play to 8 metres from Leinster line with his kick

  • 21

    Half time – Edinburgh 8/3 Leinster

  • 22

    Cardiff 13/22 Ospreys around 50th minute (was 10/15 at halftime) only 1 try so far for Ospreys

  • 23

    2nd half underway atert Murrayfield as Madigan kicks off for Leins

  • 24

    Latest score Edinburgh 11/6 Leinster – 64 minutes gone

  • 25

    Full time scores – Ulster 13/6 Zebre, Cardiff Blues 19/22 Ospreys

  • 26

    Great attack by Edinburgh breaks down a few metres from the try line as Cornell du Preez is pinged for holding on and Leinster get relieving penalty that they kick straight back to Edinburgh , finally scrum to Leinster just outside their 22

  • 27

    Edinburgh giving Leinster problems in the scrums on Leinster ball, not for the first time in the match

  • 28

    Nice break by du Preez but he spoils it by throwing a fast pass at Dickenson who can’t hold on to it, almost looks like it hit his chest

  • 29

    Great drive by WP Nel, eventually Edinburgh get a penalty that Laidlaw is lining up…

  • 30

    Missed by Laidlaw so Edin 11/6 Lein 74th minute

  • 31

    Seems like ref has made a controversial call and awarded a scrum to Leinster with Edinburgh players thinking they should get it, just inside Edinburgh’s 10m line – hope this isn’t the turning point in match

  • 32

    Leinster on the attack just inside Ed’s 22

  • 33

    Penalty Leinster oh dear they get a line out about 10m out.

  • 34

    Leinster close to the line 3 minutes left

  • 35

    Tense stuff under the posts Leinster still have it a few metres out

  • 36

    Knock on Leinster and a big roar of relief from home crowd, great defensive effort by Edinburgh, WP Nel on the ground but he is up now, commentators mocking that he is just taking a typical props breather :-)

  • 37

    BIG SCRUM for Edinburgh close to their tryline

  • 38

    Scrum reset…

  • 39

    Leinster player all over Laidlaw before he had the ball and the ref lets play go on

  • 40

    Laidlaw eventually kicks it out and Edinburgh WIN!!!

  • 41

    Good bit of play in the end by Edinburgh keeping possession and running down the clock until Laidlaw was able to end it by hoofing the ball into touch.

  • 42

    Dougie Fife in tracksuit has a big bandage on his head so he must have been the man replaced in first half by Beard shortly after scoring his try.

  • 43

    Edinburgh still on the field in a circle with Alan Solomons having a chat, injured Edinburgh centre Matt Scott speaking well of Solomons

  • 44

    Cornell du Preez is man of match! Well played young man, a muddy du Preez speaking really well

  • 45

    Wow really good to see du Preez after his interview still taking the time to go interact with the home crowd smiling and posing for photos shaking hands then signing autograph for youngster and still staying around as a fan comes up to him and poses again as the fan takes a picture of them both on his mobile phone, all this with the rain still falling and du Preez probably tired after playing his heart out, no wonder some in Edinburgh circles are talking highly of him Approve

  • 46

    In all that excitement forgot to confirm the final score: Edinburgh 11/6 Leinster. Happy

  • 47

    Final PRO12 game of the weekend Munster v Scarlets kicks off in next few minutes


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