The best of the RaboDirect PRO12 round 12

Guinness PRO12 Editor

31 Dec 2012

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As the year draws to a close few would have predicted it would have taken until the final fixture of 2012 for Ulster to lose their first match of the RaboDirect PRO12 season.

Their 24-10 defeat at Munster opens the door for others and Glasgow Warriors took full advantage with a 21-17 victory over rivals Edinburgh – securing the 1872 Cup in the process.

Hot on their tails for a play-off berth are Leinster who shut out Connacht 17-0, and also on the winning trail are Treviso – their 26-18 win over Zebre on Saturday makes it three successive RaboDirect PRO12 victories.

TRY OF THE WEEKEND

Despite suffering their first RaboDirect PRO12 defeat of the season, Ulster still reminded everyone of their class with a late try in their defeat to Munster.

Ali Birch was the finisher, his first senior try for the club, but it owed much to the good work of Michael Heaney and Robbie Diack who handled well close to the touchline to see the back-row cross.

BREAK OF THE WEEKEND

Glasgow’s capture of the 1872 Cup at the weekend would have pleased most of the Warriors faithful, but watching Ruaridh Jackson break from 60 metres was the icing on the cake.

Just before the half-hour mark Jackson made Edinburgh pay with some wonderfully alert play, intercepting Piers Francis' pass to burst clear and run through for Glasgow’s second try.

PLAY OF THE WEEKEND

Ulster may have been understrength, but the way Munster exploded into life before the break would have had any side on the back foot.

Ian Keatley stepped inside Luke Marshall for a great break which forced a five-metre scrum.

And at the fourth reset of the resulting scrum, a penalty try was finally awarded as the Ulster pack buckled – superb rugby all round from the Munstermen.

PLAYER OF THE WEEKEND

There’s nothing better than scoring a whitewash victory over your provincial rivals, and for that end of year treat Leinster fans had young fly-half Ian Madigan to thank.

The 23-year-old crossed in the first half when he tapped a penalty to himself and made a burst for the line, touching down through the Connacht defence and also kicked seven further points in an all-round faultless display.

LIONS WATCH

Tim Visser may be just a fledgling international wing, but his appearance on the try-scoring sheet is going to be difficult for Warren Gatland to ignore.

The Dutch-born speedster notched his 11th try in nine RaboDirect PRO12 games this season, becoming the joint-record try-scorer in the competition in the process alongside 2009 Lion Tommy Bowe.

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