Thursday, October 3, 2013

Leinster, Ulster, the Springboks and the Pumas - bring it on!

 Howya, Ronan. (picture

The big match this weekend in the PRO12 is the all Irish clash between Leinster and Munster. It’s third plays fourth, and continues a long rivalry, it the one match that both sides want to win, and nearly more importantly that neither side want to lose. It was the scene in 2009 for the picture above, with Jonny Sexton politely enquiring if Ronan O’Gara is OK. Or something. It’s also the last warm up match before the HC kicks off, so time to bring out the big guns and get things settled for the week after. For Munster, that means Paulie starting and the return of Connor Murray. Meanwhile, Leinster should feature SOB and probably Lote Tuquiri pulling on the blue jersey in the pinnacle of his career.  Having watched only bits and pieces of Munster in the last couple of weeks,  they are starting to improve, but even away from home I think Leinster have a stronger team, so I’m going with Leinster.

Ulster have Andrew Trimble back to face Ospreys, and apart from Afoa and Pienaar, that looks like their strongest 15. Going to be a great match – and I’m going with Ulster.

On the other side of the world, the All Blacks will be in Johannesburg to take on the Springboks. There’s massive history from the first match, where a red card spoiled the match, and arguably gave NZ an extra bonus point they might not have got. They just need a point to retain the Rugby Championship. They showed last week against Argentina they can take some pressure, and then take the points after that. I can’t see them getting any less than 80 minutes of scary pressure from the Boks though. I think the All Blacks have a better drilled side, not better players than the Boks, and their scrum is just not as good. All in all, I’m going with a win for the Boks but no bonus point.

The last match of the Championship sees the Wallabies drag their sorry arses into Argentina. One win so far, and that was paper thin. It’s been a horrible year for them and likely to get worse, I mean, are the Argentineans going to be up for this or what? The best thing for Australia is just to take their medicine, write this year off, slink back home and come back better and stronger next year.

RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , October 4
Ospreys vs Ulster 19:05
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Zebre 19:15
Benetton Treviso vs Connacht 19:30
Saturday , October 5
Scarlets vs Glasgow 18:30
Munster vs Leinster 18:45
Sunday , October 6
Cardiff Blues vs Edinburgh 14:05
Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 5
South Africa vs New Zealand 16:00
Argentina vs Australia 23:40

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