Friday, April 15, 2016

Leinster and Connacht for the wins this weekend!

 Rob Kearney
 Rob Kearney

Things are heating up in the PRO 12 as we hit the final stages of the competition. Leinster face a relatively in form Edinburgh side, sitting in 7th, poised to swoop on Munster’s precious Champions Cup spot.  Leinster have rested quite a few of their big names – not Ben Te’O though, they are trying to get full value for money there! Rob Kearney and Luke Fitzgerald make welcome returns, van der Flier is back in and Luke Fitzgerald and Ian Madigan in the halves should make for a fast paced game. Edinburg really want this, but so do Leinster, they have Connacht and Glasgow snapping at their heels, and they want a good run in to get home advantage in the next stages.  The final is at Murrayfield, so optimally, Glasgow won’t be there, and the Scarlets can help that along this weekend. I’m expecting Leinster to win

The big match of the weekend from an Irish point of view will be Connacht v Munster, with a sell out crowd – in context, that’s a few hundred lees than went to the Saracens v Northampton Champions cup semi final. The West is booming! There shouldn’t be too many surprises in team selection for the match, although it would be abig boost for Connacht to have ~Jack Carty back. Amazingly, Connacht are favourites, a form team at home. Pat Lam has them brimming with confidence, and coaches them to play attractive rugby, good forwards, and backs always willing to run. Munster are trying to play the Munster style I guess under Anthony Foley, which is a forwards based game, with the backs taking advantage in broken field play. If the Munster forwards don’t get an upper hand, Connacht are going to win this, and I think they probably will.

 Ulster should comfortably pick up five points in Zebre

Friday, April 15   
Leinster v    Edinburgh     7:35 PM
Ospreys v    Benetton Treviso     7:35 PM
Saturday, April 16   
Scarlets v    Glasgow Warriors     3:15 PM
Zebre v    Ulster     4:00 PM
Connacht v    Munster     7:15 PM
Sunday, April 17   
Cardiff Blues v    Dragons    2:30PM

Guinness PRO12
1 Leinster    63
2 Connacht    63
3 Glasgow Warriors    61
4 Scarlets    58
5 Ulster    55
6 Munster    53
7 Edinburgh    52
8 Cardiff Blues    48
9 Ospreys    44
10 Dragons    26
11 Zebre    19
12 Benetton Treviso    16

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