Thursday, September 4, 2014

Energy sapping amount of rugby to watch this weekend!


Rugby season is finally here again – after months of bits and pieces, few internationals, suddenly there’s more rugby than you can shake a stick it!

The highlight for Leinster fans will their match against Glasgow on Saturday. The team hasn’t been announced yet, but we know who won’t be there – Dan Leavey,  Jordi Murphy, Dave Kearney and Richardt Strauss who will all be out for 6- 8 weeks at least. Glasgow at home are going to be tough, no doubt about it, and I’d say we’ll be lucky to get out of there with a win. You couldn’t read too much into the preseason friendlies, but we did lose to Northampton Saints away, and to Ulster at Tallaght stadium. Sky has the rights to Pro 12 this season, so it’ll be interesting to see how they do. And how much good news is the return of Jonny Sexton?

Munster have named aside with a few surprises, mainly starts for Andrew White and Shane Buckley. Let’s see what the new coaching team has in store of the season, but they should beat Edinburgh.
Ulster travel to the Scarlets, in a match that could go either way  - Ulster have had a difficult off season, a few big name departures and retirements, and some good buys, so let’s see how it shakes up.

Connacht meanwhile welcome the Dragons, who have been strengthened by a few returning Welsh internationals, while Connacht have a few good signings of their own. Think Connacht will win.

Apart from the PRO 12 – and the Aviva Premiership – and the Top 14 – the Rugby Championship also gets going. First up is Argentina taking on the All Blacks in New Zealand. They’ve played two competitive matches against the Springboks so far, and really deserved to win one at the least. I don’t think the All Blacks will as p for this match as they were against Australia, and the Pumas have nagging game plan that keep them in touch. The AB’s are carrying a few injuries, hav- ande taken no chances in selection – although if Barrettt gets injured it could get interesting should put the Pumas away efficiently, if not by a big score.

Meanwhile, things are about to get real for the Springboks in Australia. They have been stuttering along so far, winning badly but at least winning. They should definitely beat the Wallabies in the republic, but if they have ambitions to win the RC, they need this win against a steadily improving Australian side, now featuring a fit for purpose backline, with Foley at fly half. It’s all the head, I think the Springboks have better players, but will they turn up? The Wallabies, meanwhile need to get winning again after the humiliating defeat against NZ. I’m going with the Sprinboks if Morne Steyn starts at 10. Is recalling Retief Goosen a thought?

Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 5
Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso   
Munster vs Edinburgh   
Saturday , September 6
Scarlets vs Ulster    14:40
Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons    17:00
Glasgow vs Leinster    17:15
Sunday , September 7
Zebre vs Cardiff Blues    16:00
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 6
New Zealand vs Argentina   
Australia vs South Africa    11:05

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