The best of the RaboDirect PRO12 round eight

Guinness PRO12 Editor

5 Nov 2012


Before the break for the autumn internationals the RaboDirect PRO12 served up a treat with 23 tries in the six matches played this weekend.

Table toppers Ulster were once again the pick of the bunch, running in six tries against Edinburgh to make it seven wins from as many games in the league.

Several players stood out, with Eli Walker again hugely impressive for the Ospreys, Tito Tebaldi impressive as Zebre just missed out on their maiden victory and Nikola Matawalu the star as Glasgow Warriors recorded a record-breaking sixth straight win.

A tough call with so many to choose from but we have to give the nod to Eli Walker’s effort against European champions Leinster.
The young winger has been making a name for himself so far this season with his pace and elusive running but on this occasion it was full-back Richard Fussell who did the hard work.
The 28-year-old RaboDirect PRO12 ambassador glided through the Leinster defence selling a couple of dummies before releasing Walker to score.

Ronan O’Gara is better known for his pinpoint kicking game but showed that he can still attack the line as well with a break that set up Munster’s first try against the Blues.
The veteran fly-half made the initial break, cutting through the Blues defence before spreading the ball wide to Casey Laulala. The former Blues centre would later break Cardiff hearts with a last-minute try but on this occasion he found Ian Keatley, who in turn fed Tommy O’Donnell for the score.

With seven minutes remaining at Parc y Scarlets Simon Easterby’s men looked set to become the first victims of the Zebre this season as they trailed 13-12.
The Italians had possession of the ball and just needed to keep their hosts pinned back but the slippery conditions proved costly.
The ball was lost in midfield, and showing the pace which has seen him talked about since his time with the Wales Under-20s, Kristian Phillips snapped up the ball and streaked away for the all-important score.
Just to rub salt into the wounds Aled Thomas slotted a late penalty to deny the Italian visitors the consolation of a losing bonus point.

It’s difficult to ignore Tito Tebaldi after his performance running the show for the Zebre in West Wales but instead we have gone for another scrum-half this week.
Fijian Nikola Matawalu hasn’t had the most straight-forward start to life with Glasgow Warriors, filling in on the wing with the team decimated by injuries in their backline.
Having coped admirably out of position in European action, Matawalu showed how dangerous he can be from his role of choice, setting up a try for Tommy Seymour and helping the Warriors to their sixth consecutive RaboDirect PRO12 success and third in the table.

While Nikola Matawalu was the star of the show for Glasgow, Chris Fusaro again impressed in the back row. Not part of the Scottish squad for the autumn internationals, Fusaro will hope to force his way into Andy Robinson plans ahead of the Six Nations.
Playing in an Ulster side dominating all-comers speedster Craig Gilroy notched up his second try of the season late on to again put the pressure on Declan Kidney.
And with Dan Biggar away with Wales, Matthew Morgan was given his chance to shine with the Ospreys and he took full advantage, slotting three penalties, a drop goal and a conversion.