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Guinness Pro12 Round Seven Preview and Predictions

  • Leinster face Scarlets after climbing into the playoffs for the first time this season
  • Rock-bottom Benetton Treviso take on second place Connacht in a must win game.
  • Edinburgh are looking to bounce back at home to Munster after two straight defeats 
BY TOM PREECE
Friday
Connacht Rugby v Benetton Treviso 19:30
Leinster Rugby v Scarlets 19:35
Saturday
Ospreys v Zebre Rugby 14:30
Cardiff Blues v Glasgow Warriors 15:00
Edinburgh Rugby v Munster Rugby 17:15
Sunday
Newport Gwent Dragons v Ulster Rugby 14:30

Marquee Game
Leinster Rugby v Scarlets

Leinster’s 27-3 win over Treviso last Sunday lifted them into the play-off zone for the first time in nine months. The Irish side, in fact, has only lost one home game in all competitions in the last year, which came against the Dragons in February where they lost 14-16.

Scarlets are unbeaten in ten matches, winning all of them; breaking a Welsh record in the process. However, they have not beaten an Irish side on their own soil since winning at Connacht in November 2013. The last four games between the two have all been won by the home side, making it two from four games to each side respectively.

RUCK Prediction: The Scarlets’ only win in Dublin came back in October 2007 and even though they are unbeaten this season, this will be a real test for the side hailing from West Wales. Leinster by 12.

Connacht Rugby v Benetton Treviso

Connacht have shocked everyone by mounting an early season title challenge and have done so by winning five games of their six games so far. They have scored a league-leading 20 tries and will hope this form continues this weekend.

Treviso are without a win and are bottom of the table. The Italian side have not beaten an Irish opponent since October 2013 and are facing Connacht at the worst possible time. It will be a physical game and the Italian side will struggle.

RUCK Prediction: Treviso are without a win so far and Connacht are on an incredible run of form. There shouldn’t be a problem for Pat Lam’s men and his side should win quite comfortably. Connacht by 20.

NG Dragons v Ulster 

The men from Gwent have won their last five home games and are on a decent run of form. Ulster’s last six home games have also been wins, so both teams will play in what will be a fascinating encounter.

Ulster’s away form has somewhat eluded them of late as they have not won an away from home since April where they beat Connacht. The most recent away win in this fixture was when Ulster beat the Dragons over three years ago in October 2012.

RUCK Prediction: The men from Gwent have had a good run of form at home and Ulster’s failure to win away edges it in favour of the Dragons. Rodney Parade is a hard place to play at and it’ll be a surprise if the Irish side comes away with a win. Dragons by 5.

Ospreys v Zebre

Ospreys have lost their last two home games and are on a bad run of form, although they have never lost three consecutive home ties.

Zebre won at home against Cardiff last week in what was an impressive 26-15 win for the home side. They will hope to continue this form this weekend, although they have only beaten the Ospreys on one occasion; a 30-27 victory back in May 2014.

RUCK Prediction: I can’t see Ospreys losing again and Zebre’s away form seems to elude them against the Welsh sides. It should be a tight game but Ospreys should come away with a victory. Ospreys by 10

Edinburgh v Munster

Edinburgh’s home form has been top notch this seasons as they have won three from three. Munster have lost only once since last season’s final loss against Glasgow; a defeat to Glasgow in round 5.

Edinburgh have beaten Munster just once in the previous seven meetings. A win in Limerick on the opening day of last season. They have not beaten the Irishmen at home since September 2011.

RUCK Prediction: Munster rarely lose against their Scottish counterparts and an away victory is the only outcome I can foresee for this fixture. Munster by 12

Cardiff v Glasgow

The Blues have won their last four home ties in the PRO12. Whilst Glasgow’s from has been turbulent this season with every game being won by the home side, winning three and losing three in the process.

The Blues have won only two out of the ten previous meetings between the sides, their last win coming during the 2013/14 European Challenge Cup pool stage.

RUCK Prediction: Cardiff have been below par this season and Glasgow have won in their last three, so it will be a tough ask for the Welsh side. Glasgow by 15