The best of the RaboDirect PRO12 first international weekend


The autumn internationals got into full swing this weekend and while the Southern Hemisphere again had the edge, there were several RaboDirect PRO12 stars who shone.

While several Ulster players tasted their first defeat of the season when Ireland went down narrowly to South Africa, it was one of their own in Ruan Pienaar who got the decisive try.
In defeat Tim Visser and Toby Faletau stood out for Scotland and Wales respectively while Italy battled past Tonga thanks in large part to the efforts of Treviso front row pair Lorenzo Cittadini and Leonardo Ghiraldini.
And in the LV= Cup the four Welsh regions showed their attacking abilities with nine tries in their four matches.

Nikola Matawalu has made a big impression since arriving at the Glasgow Warriors and while his Fiji side were well beaten at Twickenham, it didn’t stop him scoring the try of the weekend.
With England looking to throw the ball around a pass went astray to the Fijian scrum-half who showed a great sidestep, sprinted down the wing and dabbed through a little grubber kick before dribbling the ball over the line for the try.

RaboDirect PRO12 ambassador Ceri Sweeney showed all his class for the Cardiff Blues as his second-half introduction inspired a comeback win over Wasps.
But it was young full-back Dan Fish who had earlier produced a moment of magic when he dummied his way past Chris Bell before streaking away from Elliot Daly to go over for the first try of the game.

The Ospreys were heading towards being of the receiving end of an almighty comeback when they took on Gloucester in atrocious conditions at the Liberty Stadium on Friday.
With time running out and the Gloucester pack seemingly in the ascendancy, the Welsh side pulled a monumental forward drive out of the bag from somewhere and when the Cherry & White defensive line splintered it was Morgan Allen who emerged from the pile of bodies to claim the try.

Leonardo Ghiraldini was returning to Brescia, home of his former club Calvisano, and on what was an emotional day for the hooker, he played a blinder.
The Azzurri’s power proved too much for the Tongans in the end, with the Benetton Treviso hooker helping himself to a try, and being part of an Italian pack which also earned a penalty try.
However Connacht’s Fetu’u Vainikolo’s late try made for some anxious moments at the end for Ghiraldini and co.

Up against four of his Ulster teammates Ruan Pienaar showed his predatory instincts to score the only try in Dublin. The South African scrum-half spotted a gap through the middle of an Irish ruck and dived over his own teammates to dot down between the posts.
Opposite him Simon Zebo showed that even when switched to full-back he can be a menace for Ireland.
Edinburgh's Tim Visser’s RaboDirect PRO12 scoring rate is pretty special and he showed that he is just as capable on the international stage with two tries against the world champion All Blacks.
Wales found life tough in their Millennium Stadium clash with Argentina but Newport Gwent Dragons Toby Faletau showed his potential once more with an impressive display at the back of the Welsh scrum. Ospreys debutant Aaron Jarvis also made a good impression against a powerful Puma front row.

More from Benetton Rugby Treviso, Cardiff Blues, Connacht Rugby, Edinburgh Rugby, Features, Newport Gwent Dragons, Ospreys, Ulster Rugby


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