The best of the RaboDirect PRO12 round nine


The RaboDirect PRO12 came back with a bang as Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues and Edinburgh picked up welcome wins.

It was a case of déjà-vu for Ulster as they sneaked to victory away in Italy – this time edging Treviso, a week after breaking Zebre hearts.

The Scarlets picked up their first win at Musgrave Park seeing off Munster to stay second, while Leinster were one of four teams to win away as they edged an arm wrestle in the rain in Glasgow.

Among those to stand out were Josh Strauss in defeat for the Warriors, RaboDirect PRO12 top scorer Tom Prydie and young Edinburgh fly-half Gregor Hunter.

Without a win in the league since mid-September, Edinburgh needed some inspiration in their clash with the Ospreys at Murrayfield.
That came late in the first half when they showed the quick hands and slick interpassing that was their trademark last season, Hunter finding Dougie Fife, who in turn fed Richie Rees with prop WP Nel finishing off the move with glee.

Zebre picked up a losing bonus point for the second match in succession but it could have been more after Samuele Pace’s early try.
It came thanks to the pace of winger Leonardo Sarto who outstripped the Cardiff defence to be first to chase down Daniel Halangahu’s kick and then popped the ball up for Pace to stroll over the line.

When visiting a ground where you have never won, it’s fair to say your defence needs to be up to scratch.
At the end of the first half of the Scarlets’ game with Munster it was the home side who were on the attack and a try from their powerful pack appeared inevitable.
Instead the Scarlets held firm to wave after wave of attack and after CJ Stander had been held up, Simon Easterby’s side emerged unscathed.

Tom Prydie is enjoying a prolific season for the Dragons and his trusty boot was again influential in the win over Connacht.
The Welsh side hadn’t won a RaboDirect PRO12 match since the end of September but coped better with the difficult conditions.
And on a weekend where all kickers struggled, Prydie slotted nine points to see his side home.

It was quite a weekend for Ireland as they thumped Argentina 46-24 – with a number of RaboDirect PRO12 players coming to the fore.
Craig Gilroy kicked on from where he left off against Fiji a week ago with a try on his first cap, while fellow Ulster winger Tommy Bowe crossed twice. Leinster’s Jonny Sexton was just as influential with two tries of his own and a 19-point haul in total.
They were not the only Irish-based players to stand out, with Connacht’s Fetu’u Vainikolo showing a startling turn of pace to score the second try in Tonga’s surprise win away to Scotland.
Wales went down to world champions New Zealand but Scarlets centre Scott Williams capped off an impressive display from the bench with an unlikely try from a 15-man catch and drive in the second half.
And as Italy fell just short in Florence against Australia, it was Treviso’s Robert Barbieri who continued his stunning recent RaboDirect PRO12 form with a try – having scored six in his last four matches in the league.

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