RaboDirect Pro12 Team of the Week: Semi-finals

15. Stuart Hogg (Glasgow)
The Lion played a blinder, kicking a conversion and a penalty to keep Glasgow on the tails of Leinster. Hogg however could not muster enough of his talent to drag Glasgow over the line, but it was a great performance from one of Glasgow’s big game players.

14. Tommy Bowe (Ulster)
Grabbed a try for himself while continually leading attacking skirmishes into the Scarlet half to devastating effect. Bowe was excellent throughout the contest, never letting the Scarlets rest for a moment.

13. Darren Cave (Ulster)
A human wrecking ball, bulldozing holes for his Ulster teammates to exploit. An overall great game from one of Ulster’s unsung heros.

12. Sean Lamont (Glasgow)
Another great game from the experienced destroyer. Lamont fronted up well against a hard Leinster back-line, his afternoon looked to be getting easier as O’Driscoll left the game early, but the Scottish international was unable to inflict the damage Glasgow needed to get the win.

11. George North (Scarlets)
One of the few Scarlet players who stepped-up against Ulster but couldn’t do all the work himself. North played well throughout the game but lacked the support from his team to cause Ulster any real problems. Overall a great game but was overshadowed from the impressive Ulstermen.

10. Jonathan Sexton (Leinster)
Led the line well, spraying the ball out wide at every opportunity and making Glasgow chase the ball. Sexton was impressive, slotting home four penalties to keep Leinster on top and leading them into the RaboDirect Pro12 Final.

9. Ruan Pienaar (Ulster)
One of the league’s best players again didn’t disappoint. He played another blinder, showcasing those brilliant rugby talents from start to finish. For Ulster to win the final Pienaar has to be at his best and firing on all cylinders.

1. Cian Healy (Leinster)
Played well, working hard in the scrums to keep the impressive Glasgow pack quiet throughout the match. Healy ran hard at the gaps while defending excellently to keep Leinster in the hunt for the Pro12 crown.

2. Rory Best (Ulster)
Grabbed man of the match award for his tireless work ethic. Best was everywhere over the course of the contest, running hard and tackling with power and skill. He kept the scrums in Ulster’s control along with a well disciplined line-out. Another game like that and Ulster have a good chance of being crowned Pro12 champions.

3. Tom Court (Ulster)
Bagged a try for his efforts, working deep in the rucks to keep Ulster’s hands on the ball while causing the Scarlets all sorts of problems in the scums and line-outs. An excellent game from the prop.

4. Leo Cullen (Leinster)
The big second-rower never let his work-rate drop, running hard to keep Glasgow’s constant attack pinned back while not putting a foot wrong in the scrums and line-outs. Leinster have it all to do when they face Ulster in the final but if the likes of Cullen can keep this sort of play going then they could easily take the win.

5. Johan Muller (Ulster)
A brilliant game from the dominating Lock. Helped to keep the line-outs on track while causing as many problems as he could for the Scarlet forward pack.

6. John Barclay (Glasgow)
Barclay upped his game against Leinster, covering the pitch well getting to the breakdowns first. His tireless work ethic was evident throughout the game but he lacked the support to be able to inflict the killer blows needed to stop Leinster. Overall a great performance which deserved more than the early elimination.

7. Robbie Diack (Ulster)
Yet another great performance from the impressive Diack. Ran hard, tackled with dominance and kept the Scarlets on the back foot for most of the contest.

8. Jamie Heaslip (Leinster)
Collected man of the match in the close fought battle with Glasgow in Dublin. Heaslip ran the ball well, working well with Jennings and McLaughlin to keep Glasgow silent for much of the match. The big number 8 was evidently the best on the park at the exact time his Leinster needed him to be.

By Alexander McLeman

11 thoughts on “RaboDirect Pro12 Team of the Week: Semi-finals

  1. North was anonymous for most of the Ulster v Scarlets game. One good break was his contribution to the game, not enough to warrant selection in a team of the week. Replacement scrum half Gareth Davies was their best player and lifted the tempo of their game when he came on, but I’m happy to go with your selection of Pienaar at 9.

    Barclay had a good game at 7, no idea why you’d want to pick or play him at 6.
    Grant played better than Healy and would be my No. 1. Plus Healy may well be cited for the punches he threw in a ruck (51min 57 sec). It does not matter if someone was holding onto the ball, you’re not allowed to punch (law 10.4(b).

    Cullen did put a foot wrong – in the wrong place that is. May well find himself in trouble for stamping on Lamont in the 29th min of the game. This was not merely clearing out someone laying on the wrong side of a ruck but was clearly 3 or 4 downward stamps. he also missed a few tackles – well let Matawalu wriggle out his grasp more than once. Tuohy was impressive for Ulster and Swinson for Glasgow repeatedly made the hard yards.

    Sexton sat too deep all game and struggled to get the Leinster back line going. With Pienaar in your team of the week you don’t need Sexton for his goal kicking. I’d go with Horne or Paddy Jackson at 10 if your looking to get your team of the week back line going forward.

    1. yep sexton had a poor game by his standards and missed one sitter of a penalty. hogg missed a pressure kick to level the scores near the end and north was anonymous. paddy jackson is nowhere near the standard needed for a world class 10 though. madigan is far better imo and is this years rabbo top points scorer.

      1. I thought Rob Kearney had a better game than Hogg. He made two try saving tackles and looked good going forward.

        Hogg did some flashy runs but as a FB i thought Kearney was more impressive.

  2. Bmg is not a Leinster fan!!! Sexton was far better than the invisible paddy Jackson who may as well not be on the pitch. He lies so deed he may as well be in the stands.

  3. Sexton wasn’t at his best but I wouldn’t class it as a bad game at all now. The reason being that he had to deal with slow ball. The breakdown was a mess with Glasgow players laying on the wrong side and continually utilising lazy runners. This is not a criticism of Glasgow who were excellent all game. If the ref allows you to get away with something then you do it, simple as that. Back row code of conduct really and they slowed Leinster significantly. Thus leading to ill temperament from the Leinster players (i.e. Cullen)at the breakdown. If the ref allows it to be slowed down you end up taking it into your own hands, or feet as it were. However that is not condoning the actions just stating why they took place. I didn’t think Hogg had as great a game as others. Matawalu however was a nuisance all game and a real threat. Overall Leinster were lucky but as some journalists alluded to today there was no bias towards them from the ref. I think the ref wasn’t great to either side and Leinster won a game that could have easily gone to the excellent Glasgow. I hope to see them at the business end of the European competitions in the coming years if they keep playing that offloading game.

    1. Would that be the ref with the requisite experience at this level (4 matches under his belt I’d heard) you’re talking about there? Ah, but he was ably-assisted by his assistant referees, wasn’t he…all 15,000+ of them.

      It is pretty clear that Glasgow WOULD have won that match had it been played elsewhere (but then – as Glasgow know – they really lost this game a few weeks ago against Scarlets).

      Your report of the game is as one-eyed as it gets – Leinster got away with a lot from a ref out of his depth – collapsing the scrums (Glasgow were all over the Leinster scrum like a rash) and (illegal) blocking runners – hence Heaslip’s ‘unopposed’ try. Deliberate knock-on (yellow card in the circumstances) with try on under the Leinster posts at the end of the first half – ref blows for a scrum, players start to assemble and then ref decides (or the ‘assistants’ remind him) it’s time up after all. Nearly all 50-50 calls went Leinster’s way.

      But hey, as you said ‘there was no bias towards them from the ref’.

      That was this match. And in the other semi-final involving another Irish team, another French (oh no, he’s Irish, but with a name like Alain Rolland you could be forgiven for…) referee officiating. The cup clearly has an Irish team’s name on it.

      Is it that difficult to get neutral and reasonably competent referees? For the sake of appearance if nothing else?

      1. a bit pedantic. u get the breaks when u play at home. winning cultivates more winning. glasgow throw it around nicely but then suddenly throw it out of play or knock it on. u had ur chances against a poor leinster side. u didn’t take them. hogg had his chance to level the game at the end. he didnt take it. u sound a bit bitter considering glasgow have never really done anything in any competition. its sad that they couldnt win given that leinster werent at the races and i’driscoll came off injured. rhe team looked jaded possibly from amlin games. u only get one chance at this level and no amoint of bad officiating is an excuse for not taking it. glasgow are improving though.

        scarlets blew the chances they had too. i also dont seem to recall them having pedigree in any competition either. ospreys are still better than them and would have made a better game of it against ulster. stop whining. u are lucky u even get representation in the erc given that u dont win anything with the opportunities given. theres a bit of bias for u.

      2. Watched the game again…7:19 Glasgow give away peno not rolling away, 10:34 peno advantage for glasgow not rolling away, 13:00 glasgow scrum, there hooker pops up, would never be a peno but good pressure from leinster and healy. 17:30 scrum solid from both, 19:40 scrum solid again, 20:34 leinster peno for glasgow not rolling away and pulling scrum half into breakdown. 21:51 crooked lineout from leinster glasgow scrum and put pressure on leinster for first time in that set piece peno for glasgow. Leinster bring down maul 23.40. 25:23 toner pushed at restart peno leinster. Cian healy breaks from maul same time as heaslip heaslip runs while glasgow defender tackles healy, heaslip tackled by two defenders but still scores.28:12 peno for leinster again at breakdown glasgow off their feet. 29:30 Matawalu pulls boss into breakdown when just about to pick up ball, very close to picking it up so it was let go, but seen them given, then from the proceeding breakdown glasgow player told to roll away three times before jennings uses the boot, no penalty given.30:01 matawalu lazy running and blocks Boss’ pass yellow card. 32:20 scrum glasgow put under pressure, tighthead pops up but still solid and no peno, which was right but they were under pressure from leinster not the other way around. 35:30 Leinster bring down maul peno for glasgow. 37:05 glasgow not releasing peno for Leinster.39:10 solid scrum from both teams neither budge. 40:33 Glasgow flanker blocks cullen from making tackle no penalty, 40:49 McFadden goes to tackle and knocks ball. Hardly intentional and ref immediately blows whistle. There was no deliberations about playing on at all. Blows whistle at 40:51 for knock on and blows for half time at 40:56. 40:48 (second half) No 18 Glasgow blocks jennings from making tackle right in front of ref no penalty. 42:50 scrum leinster goes down both front rows go down, second scrum penalty awarded to Leinster following big pressure put on Glasgow. 46:36 glasow win scrum peno on their own 5 meter line after two scrum collapses, looked to be right decision. 47:35 Heaslip held on to at breakdown not allowing him to get back into defensive line, no peno awarded. Would maybe have been soft but still a biased ref would have blown would he not? 49:13 scrum for Leinster should have been glasgow’s. 49:26 forward pass, scrum to Glasgow, right call. Pressure put on Glasgow, their front row pops up but ball is got out quickly so hardly a peno, play continues. 50:37 should have been a peno for glasgow at breakdown from jennings not releasing. 53:16 Leinster scrum Glasgow not rolling away and leinster go over top so breakdown was a mess don’t know what happened there to be honest, scrum awarded to Leinster. 54:00 Leinster peno from scrum as Glasgow loosehead loses bind and goes down. 57:12 Glasgow scrum put under big pressure but get the ball away. 58:48 Scrum Leinster Glasgow scrum under all types of pressure, loosehead goes down yet no peno. 59:03 Glasgow player blocks Kearney from making tackle, crowd boo, very obvious no peno.60:45 solid scrum for both packs leinster ball. Then forward pass given against Leinster.61:31 Peno for Leinster after a solid scrum (Hagen in at tighthead now) because Glasgow player clearly goes out of his way to block Boss. 63:58 peno for Leinster Glasgow player Standing offside blocking scrumhalf’s pass. 66:07 Glasgow flanker blocks Leinster 6 from tackling Matawalu no peno. 66:48 crooked line out from Glasgow not awarded to Leinster. 67:42 Leinster scrum reset however Hagen went down should be Glasgow ball.Reset and peno given to Leinster for glasgow not binding. Hard to tell but should have been glasgow ball that time anyway. 3 points to leinster from proceeding peno. 71:40 Glasgow player on ground on wrong side of breakdown and uses feet to kick ball loose, no peno for leinster. 73:05 scrum glasgow loosehead goes down but glasgow awarded peno, however i cannot see the other side so cud have been Leinster infringement there. Hard to tell. 74:36 sexton gives away peno for not rolling away. Glasgow score a try in proceeding play. 77:60 scrum to glasgow after cronin knock on in tackle. Far side goes down but reset is solid from both. 80:38 scrum goes down reset and peno given to Leinster for scrumhalf going around. Didn’t think that was the right call tbh should have been a reset. Now I implore you to watch the match again and view this. Glasgow were never at any stage over the scrum like a “rash” There was nine penalties alone against Glasgow for blocking and breakdown actions. There could have been more. The ref changing his mind at the end of the first half never happened as there was five seconds between blowing the whistle for the knock on and for half time. Agree with the try for Heaslip. Healy broke of and got tackled while Heaslip ran on to score. Never even seen it until the re-watch. That was one instance of blocking compared to the few from Glasgow. These are the things I’ve seen and the way I’ve interpreted them, If you disagree watch it again and prove I’m wrong. I’m not being petulant, genuinely would like you to point out things I’ve missed.

  4. I really hate to admit it as one of his biggest critics but boy, Healy has become a sensational prop these last two seasons. A wrecking ball in the loose and good enough to hold his own in the drum at international level for Ireland most games. If sexton and BOD weren’t so shiny and o brien such a ball carrying beast, he’d be the star of the Ireland squad IMO. Ahead of Jenkins and vunipola for the lions surely.

    1. like this comment and healy is the star of my paddy power account always scoring tries in the big games :)

      1. Massive Healy fan. He has everything a prop needs. It is interesting that most props now are either great scrummagers (ie. Jones), great in the loose (ie. Cole), or great ball carries (ie. Vunipola). Healy has just turned round and gone, well, I’m guna be good at all three!

Comments are closed.