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RaboDirect Pro12

RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011The traditional festive season local derbies are set to take centre stage as the Pro12 Round 11 provides an exciting escape from turkey and TV. The games in Scotland and Wales take place on Boxing Day, whilst Ireland foregoes St Stephens’ Day games and sticks to the traditional Friday and Saturday slots.

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WhistleWhilst South African and Southern Hemisphere referees are sitting with their feet up or bare feet in the sand at the coast this Festive Season, their Northern Hemisphere counterparts are still at work.

So where do you really want to live, in leisurely summer time in the Southern Hemisphere or in the cold gloom and doom of icy winter in the Northern Hemisphere?

Here are the referees doing duty till 29 December 2013.

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Edinburgh_Rugby_logoEdinburgh Rugby moved up to sixth position on the RaboDirect PRO12 table with their hard fought victory over Leinster (11/6) at a cold, wet and windy Murrayfield on Friday night. This after they have spent much of the PRO12 season languishing near the bottom half of the table. This win followed a good one they achieved the weekend before in their Heineken Cup pool game against Gloucester.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011Round Eight of the Pro12 kicks off on Friday night with both Scottish teams in action – early season leaders Glasgow Warriors welcoming Newport Gwent Dragons to Scotstoun, whilst Edinburgh travel to Belfast to face Ulster.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011The top-of-the-table clash at Thomond Park between Munster and Ospreys on Saturday headlines Round Seven of the Pro12.  Munster currently lead the pack thanks to winning one more game than Ospreys, but Ospreys have garnered more bonus points in the six rounds than their hosts, so the scene is set for an epic battle.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011RaboDirect PRO12 log leaders Glasgow Warriors face second-placed Munster in a tantalising top-of-the-table clash at Scotstoun on Friday.
As the competition gets back into full swing with Round Six this weekend after a successful European double header, it’s clear that the Pro12 is going from strength to strength.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011Edinburgh_Rugby_logoEdinburgh Rugby will welcome the return of captain Greig Laidlaw this Sunday as they look to repeat last season’s away success against Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park (6 October, kick-off 3.05pm South African Time).  The 27-year-old scrum-half – who kicked the winning drop-goal on that day last year – has recovered from the knee injury that has kept him side-lined since the summer to make his first competitive outing of the season.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011glasgowrugbyFly-half Duncan Weir returns to the Glasgow Warriors starting line-up for the game against Scarlets at Parc Y Scarlets tomorrow night, after almost six months out through injury.

The 22-year-old, who broke his leg against the Ospreys at Scotstoun last April, is one of ten changes to the team which beat Zebre in Parma last Friday.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011As the Pro12 enters Round Four, Glasgow Warriors – the last remaining team with a 100 percent winning record – are in action in Parma on Friday night when they face Zebre.

Having waited so long for their first win in the competition, the Italian outfit will have their work cut out to make it back-to-back victories as table-topping Warriors have already defeated champions Leinster and last season’s runners up Ulster so far this season.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011Leinster and Munster will look to solidify themselves as early pace-setters in Round Two of the Pro12 this weekend.  These two teams were the only sides who collected maximum points from their first-round Pro12 games, between them running in ten of the 22 tries that were scored last weekend.

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glasgowrugbyStuart Hogg, Ryan Grant, DTH van der Merwe and Josh Strauss all return to the Glasgow Warriors starting line-up for the game against Ulster at Ravenhill tonight, Friday 13 Septemeber, kick-off 8.05pm South African Time.

Gregor Townsend’s squad kicked off their new season with a 22-15 win over Cardiff Blues at Scotstoun Stadium last Friday and now face last season’s RaboDirect PRO12 finalists in Belfast. The Warriors were the last Scottish team to win at Ravenhill back in December 2009.

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Edinburgh_Rugby_logoWingers Tim Visser and Nikki Walker will bookend the back division when Edinburgh Rugby face Dragons at Murrayfield Stadium tonight,  Friday 13 September, kick-off 8.45pm South African Time.

The outing will double as Walker’s debut for the club since signing in the summer; with the club hoping the pair, currently second and fourth in the league’s all-time top try-scoring chart, will add firepower to the side.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011The new season of RaboDirect PRO12 rugby is nearly upon us and despite seeing several top players leave the league and opt to take up a contract in the Top 14, the 12 sides in the Celtic competition have had a busy summer as they look to bolster their resources. Several top internationals have decided to give the PRO12 a shot and we have picked out a selection of eye-catching transfers in the latest Scrum Sevens.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011PRO12 chief executive John Feehan has shrugged off the loss of title sponsor RaboDirect and insists the competition is thriving. Dutch banking group RaboDirect announced earlier this month that they would not be extending their support of the Celtic and Italian league beyond this season – their third as the main title sponsor having succeeded Magners in 2010.

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pro12We are all well aware of the host of South African rugby players who are plying their trade outside of South Africa. For this article we venture into the land of make belief and choose a squad made up entirely of players with South African connections playing in the current season’s RaboDirect Pro12 competition.  – The ‘Raboboks’

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Scotland1jonathan humprheysA man who has steered his club to the most league titles in Celtic rugby has today been appointed to the position of Scotland forwards coach.

Jonathan Humphreys, the former Welsh hooker and captain, will join the Scotland management ahead of the quadrangular tournament with Samoa, South Africa and Italy in June. He will be on a two year contract.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011It was all change yet again at the top of the Pro12 table following Round 20, with Ulster retaking the top position, whilst Glasgow Warriors slipped to third.

And with just two rounds left, and a maximum of 10 points on offer, five teams are still vying for the four play-off places.

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