Franks Rabo Round-up

07/11/2012

With 8 rounds gone in this elongated heavyweight contest over 22 rounds, we have a clear leader from Ireland as unbeaten Ulster top the table by two points with a game in hand - By Frank Quinn

Now the game in hand is against the bottom club Zebre who has lost all their matches, so without giving the house away, Ulster should win that game with maximum points. This effectively gives Ulster a healthy seven point lead.

Under Ulster – the rest fight it out except it is becoming a league of two halves, the bottom six clubs have become isolated from the main pack. Munster’s win over Cardiff in the last round was an eight pointer and sealed Cardiff to the bottom six on 15 points, seven adrift of sixth placed Leinster. Going down the table – Connacht has 14 points, Treviso 13, Edinburgh 13, Dragons 9 and the winless Zebre has one losing bonus point.

So the fight goes on with the other five to try to overhaul Ulster and get into the top four play offs. The top six is made up of three Irish, two Wales and one Scottish team
Scarlets 29, Glasgow 27, Munster 23, last year’s winners Ospreys 23 and last years finalists Leinster 22.

It looks like last years top two clubs have a bit to do to retain their status. However with only 36% of the games have been played, there is ample time to claw back the points. In boxing terms there is still time for the knock out in rounds 9-22.

Ulster are the top points scorers 218 and conceded 100, in second place Leinster scored 211 points but conceded 200! – Where was the defence?
Needless to say the bottom two clubs conceded the most points, Dragons 219 and Zebra 215.

Edinburgh has four loss bonus points in six matches, they won two games.
There have been no drawn games in the eight rounds. Ulster and Scarlets have three try bonus points each.

Round nine takes place in the November international window so this could be an upsets round. Two games stand out second placed Scarlets travel to play Munster and third placed Glasgow welcome Leinster.

Rounds 10-13 are open season before the Heineken Cup and then the RBS Six Nations scatters the international players of the four Unions back to international duty.

Rounds 14-17 are played during the six nations campaign, testing the club squad system and present a real opportunity for the fringe players to book their places permanently in the first team.

Round 22 is scheduled for the first weekend in May, last years finalists Leinster/Ospreys meet on the final day, with the playoffs the following week. The final is 25/26th May.
And just for information the British and Irish Lions Tour first game is in Hong Kong on 1st June against the Barbarians and the first game on Australian soil is on the 5th June in the Paterson’s Stadium, (The Subiaco), Perth, Western Australia against the Western Force.

 

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