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Guinness Pro12: Round Nine Preview and Predictions

Friday 4th December
Cardiff Blues v Connacht
Ulster v Edinburgh
Saturday 5th December
Benetton Treviso v Scarlets
Glasgow Warriors v Leinster
Sunday 6th December
Newport Gwent Dragons v Munster
Zebre v Ospreys


Marquee Game
Glasgow v Leinster

These two sides are looking to push on in the second half of the season a secure a playoff spot d. Glasgow comes into the game on good form, winning five of their eight games this term after seeing off Treviso at home in their last fixture 13-6.

Leinster, a place ahead of their rivals in the table in fourth, will also be hoping to carry on their winning streak after they saw off Ulster in week eight in what was a low scoring affair, winning 8-3 where a Sean Cronin try was enough for the win.

Ruck Prediction: It will be a game that will go right down to the wire, a close affair throughout, but Leinster should steal this one. They have a very talented group who can defend very well, keeping their opponents score to a minimum, which will be enough to see off the Glasgow threat. They will win by seven.


Cardiff Blues v Connacht

Cardiff Blues have a tough task ahead of them if they want to upset current leaders Connacht on home soil. The travelling side have been exceptional all season, only losing one of their eight games. Last time out another impressive performance ensured they beat Munster 12-18.

Cardiff Blues sit down in 10th place, just above the two Italian clubs and have struggled to get anything going in recent weeks, losing to Ospreys 13-6.

Ruck Prediction: The home side have struggled to impress on offence this season, something which was evident last time out when they only scored six points. Connacht will be too strong for them in every area, and should win comfortably, by ten points.


Ulster v Edinburgh

Home side Ulster will be hoping for a win in front of their own crowd to close the gap on fourth place to help secure a playoff place of their own come the end of the season. Last time out a Paddy Jackson penalty was all they could muster in an 8-3 defeat while Edinburgh ran in plenty of tries in a 32-13 win over Newport Gwent Dragons in week eight.

Ruck Prediction: Edinburgh scored the most points out of any team during week eight after playing some solid attacking rugby to see of Newport. Their expansive game should be enough this time out to defeat Ulster in a win by 10 points.


 Benetton Treviso v Scarlets

The home side are still searching for their first victory of the season when they face high flying Scarlets at Stadio Comunale di Monigo. They have lost all eight games so far this season and last time out were defeated by Glasgow Warriors 13-6.

On the other hand, Scarlets have lost just once all season and last time out saw off an improving Zebre 20-12 thanks to early tries from Hadleigh Parkes and Aled Davies.

Ruck Prediction: Scarlets should be winning this one with ease, against a team who have not won a game all season. They have been impressive as of late, playing some good attacking rugby, which should ensure they win this one by 14.


 Newport Gwent Dragons v Munster

Newport Gwent Dragons will be hoping for an improved performance when they face Munster at Rodney Parade. Last time out they struggled against Edinburgh, losing 32-13, with Nic Cudd scoring a consolation try in the last few minutes. Third-placed Muster will also be looking for a better performance after they lost to league leaders Munster 13-18 in front of their home fans.

Ruck Prediction: Despite their defeat last week, Munster should bounce straight back with a win in this one. They have only lost twice this season and should get back to their normal game against a struggling Newport side.


Zebre v Ospreys

The final game of the weekend see Italian side Zebre host Welsh club Ospreys at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi. Zebre have turned things around as of late, winning two games, but came up short against Scarlets in week eight, losing 20-12. Ospreys on the other hands beat Cardiff Blues 13-6, which moved them up to eighth in the Guinness Pro 12.

Ruck Prediction: It will be yet another tight affair in the Pro12, but an improving Zebre will take the win here in front of their own fans. They may have lost last time out but will be able to bounce back with a winning, by three points.